Sweep of the Blade by Ilona Andrews
After her husband betrayed his clan, landed her and her daughter on a murderous desert planet and got himself kill through sheer stupidity, Maud had decided she was done with vampires once and for all. Until Arland, the handsome Marshall of House Krahr, strode into her life, and her heart. She turned down his marriage invitation, but accepted the offer to go to his home—knowing the dangers and pitfalls that lay ahead. Can she survive? And what is a human doing among vampires??
I wanted to like this a lot more than I did. It was good, but I felt that Maud’s voice felt a lot like a mixture of Hugh and Kate Daniels, and the writing style felt more choppy (more like Hugh’s book) than what I enjoy reading.
Also, it had a lot of exposition through dialogue, which was annoying, as all of the characters just stated their thoughts and feelings with little to no artifice while Maud kept going “Uh I gotta be sneaky because these vamps are so subtle with much nuance!” I was like, “Do you? Do you really, Maud? Because Vampress A just told her intentions pretty blandly.”
Finally, the romance aspect felt super bland. The groundwork was already laid, Maud and Arland already loved each other, they just had to get Maud over hurdles to actually get together with him. Hurdles that were pretty significant at the beginning of the book (trauma and PTSD associated with previous vampiric experiences) that just were kinda…swept aside for the HEA?
While I appreciated seeing more of the life outside the innkeepers and the inn, and a fascinating glimpse into vampire society, it felt altogether too similar to the Kate Daniels series, as the vampires kinda felt like carbon copy cutouts of the shapeshifters, and Arland felt like a poor man’s Curran (big, powerful, devoted, really big, strong, I guess he’s smart?).
And I liked Helen, who was adorable and also incredibly damaged, but I wanted Maud to get her child into some therapy instead of just going “Oh, my child is Karhari and Karhari is her, she’s so dangerous.” Seriously. Get that kid into therapy. Because between being half-vampire and half-human in a world of xeno-phobic and racist vampires and all the Karhari shit, she was going to need a lot of help.
Another disappointment was that it was super obsessed with a het cis gendered binary.
Altogether it was entertaining, but felt more like an early, rougher Ilona Andrews book than one of their later novels. Although I feel a lot of it has to do with uneven editing to smooth things over and adjust the plot holes.
Despite these flaws, it was entertaining, and I will continue on with the series because <i>that cliffhanger</i>. Although I hope that the narrative goes back to Dina because I like her better.