📚 Clean Sweep by Ilona Andrews

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Innkeeper Chronicles #1

Description⎮Reviewed Feb. 2016

Narrator: Renée Raudman
Length: 7h 55m
Publisher: Ilona Andrews, Inc.⎮2014

3.5 ★ Audiobook⎮ This is going to be an extremely subjective review and my intention is not to deter anyone from giving this audiobook a chance. I do feel that it is a quality piece of work with some wonderful attributes. If intense paranormal fiction with all the trimmings is your kind of thing, then Clean Sweep will be perfect for you! It’s got witches, werewolves, vampires, and lots of alien critters. It’s basically the literary version of the television show Supernatural. If I had known that going in, odds are that I never would have started this. I have tried (and failed) to get into Supernatural on numerous occasions, but it’s just not for me.

I think I must prefer my paranormal fiction to stick to two (or less) types of supernatural species instead of throwing in the whole lot of the paranormal universe in a package deal. If Clean Sweep had stuck with just specializing in witches (like I was expecting it to), I’m sure I would have enjoyed it much more. But no, Andrews had to throw in werewolves, and then vampires, and then a whole host of obscure alien creatures (which is where I lost interest). I’m not ready to rule out alien fiction altogether, but I haven’t had much luck with it so far. I will say that I preferred this story so much more than other comparable paranormal fiction. Namely, the Lux series by Jennifer L. Armentrout. Unlike Obsidian, I was actually able to finish this audiobook. Clean Sweep was a much less juvenile story and this one installment far surpassed anything I have ever experienced from Armentrout. If you are a fan of hers, I seriously encourage you to give this series a shot. The writing is so much better, the protagonist is very likable, and the plot isn’t centered around a romance. And this story never gave me the impression that it was written for someone younger than me.

Aside from the basic plot premise not being “my cup of tea”, I was a bit disturbed by a couple of points. Firstly, Clean Sweep opens with the protagonist investigating a string of gruesome dog murders in her neighborhood. For some people, that may not bother them at all. However, animal abuse is extremely difficult for me to tolerate in literature (and life). My motto is “kill the character, save the dog”. No apologies. So obviously, this bit of the story struck me the wrong way. The second thing was that I found the writing in some scenes to be a little graphic in contrast to the overall feel of the story. The writing was very descriptive, which was generally a positive thing, but it sometimes came off a teensy bit scifi horror-ish. Maybe I’ve gone soft from reading so much YA, but I wasn’t prepared for that type of gore in this particular story. Coincidentally, that is also one of the primary problems I had when watching Supernatural. But it’s not anything that would deter me from continuing on with the series.

However, my general lack of interest in the story is. Unless one day I suddenly become majorly interested in all things alien/paranormal, I don’t think I would particularly gain anything from listening to the rest of the series. I don’t feel bad about having listened to this installment, especially because it was only 7 hours long, but I don’t exactly feel like it was time well spent for me either. But I must emphasize that I do think a great number of you would feel very differently, especially if you already know you are attracted to this type of genre. I would recommend this to someone in a heartbeat if I felt that it was their “thing” because it is extremely well-written, witty, the characters are refreshing, and it has a great plot. I’m just not into aliens. It’s that simple.

Narration review: If I didn’t know better, I would swear this audiobook was narrated by Dolly Parton herself. Raudman’s voice has a warm, velvety tone that I absolutely loved. Her “Texan” accent definitely added to the story’s atmosphere, but did sound a little overdone. However, it didn’t bother me as much as I initially thought it would and I actually came to enjoy it as the story went on. I have listened to a sample of another narration she did without the accent and preferred it much more. Her voice really is pleasing to the ear. It’s a shame that her considerable repertoire doesn’t include more titles that immediately appeal to me, because I would definitely love to hear more of her. ♣︎

$ Available at The Book Depository and Audible

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