Thursday, August 23, 2012

Book Review: Royal Street by Suzanne Johnson

Royal Street
Author: Suzanne Johnson
Publication: Tor Books; Original edition (April 10, 2012)

Description: As the junior wizard sentinel for New Orleans, Drusilla Jaco’s job involves a lot more potion-mixing and pixie-retrieval than sniffing out supernatural bad guys like rogue vampires and lethal were-creatures. DJ's boss and mentor, Gerald St. Simon, is the wizard tasked with protecting the city from anyone or anything that might slip over from the preternatural beyond.

Then Hurricane Katrina hammers New Orleans’ fragile levees, unleashing more than just dangerous flood waters.

While winds howled and Lake Pontchartrain surged, the borders between the modern city and the Otherworld crumbled. Now, the undead and the restless are roaming the Big Easy, and a serial killer with ties to voodoo is murdering the soldiers sent to help the city recover.

To make it worse, Gerry has gone missing, the wizards’ Elders have assigned a grenade-toting assassin as DJ’s new partner, and undead pirate Jean Lafitte wants to make her walk his plank. The search for Gerry and for the serial killer turns personal when DJ learns the hard way that loyalty requires sacrifice, allies come from the unlikeliest places, and duty mixed with love creates one bitter gumbo.

My Thoughts: I enjoyed this new urban fantasy set in post-Katrina New Orleans. DJ Jaco has been the junior Sentinel in New Orleans working for her mentor and foster-father Gerry St. Simon. They are both wizards but are from two different schools of wizardry. Gerry has physical magic; DJ has to use potions and spells for her magic. Her kind of magic is seen as less useful for a Sentinel. Their task has been to keep magical creatures in the Beyond or send them back there if they have come to our New Orleans. Nlow Hurricane Katrina destroyed the barriers that keep the paranormal out of New Orleans.

Gerry had sent DJ back to her grandmother's house to wait out the storm. But the Elders, the council that controls the wizards, have called and sent her back to New Orleans because Gerry is missing. They also send along an enforcer to help DJ. Alex Warin in his name. DJ thought on first seeing him was that "he looked like the poster child for an upscale GQ mercenary." She can't deny that she is hot but he more than makes up for it by being irritating. The two have a very contentious relationship.

I liked the world that Johnson created. Her paranormal creatures include werewolves, vampires, the Fae, and a new one for me - the historical undead. Among them are Jean Lafitte, Marie Leveau, Louis Armstrong and other historical figures. She has a special relationship with Jean Lafitte in that she has sent him back to the beyond a number of times and he is determined to get revenge on her.

DJ is a great urban fantasy heroine. She is smart, loyal, and determined. What she is not is some sort of well-armed ninja. She doesn't want to learn to use a gun. She prefers to rely on her spells and potions to save the day. She is also the sort of smart-mouthed heroine with a sarcastic sense of humor that I enjoy reading about. This story sets up a moral dilemma for her that forces her two choose between two equally dreaded outcomes. 

Watching she and Alex try to track down Gerry, find out who or what is killing National Guardsmen in voodoo rituals, and trying to keep the human and paranormal worlds from going to war while developing a friendship that could blossom into a romance was very entertaining. Add in Alex's human cousin Jake for another side of the romantic triangle and you have me reading as fast as I can to find out what happens next. 

I recommend this one to urban fantasy lovers. 

Favorite Quote:
First, I got rid of Alex, telling him I had cramps and wanted to rest. Mention cramps and guys get a panicked, deer-in-the-headlights look and develop a sudden urge to go hunting or drink beer. Like hormones might be contagious. Too bad they're not. The world would be a more equitable place. Or more violent. It could go either way.
I bought this one because I heard good things about it. You can buy your copy here.

1 comment:

  1. I enjoyed this one when I read it as well. It had a bit of a slow start for me but midway through the book I was hooked. I'm really looking forward to reading the 2nd book whenever it comes out. Great review!


I love getting comments. Let me know what you think.

This blog is now officially declared an Award Free zone! I do appreciate your kindness in thinking of me and I am humbled by your generosity.

Your comments are award enough for me. Comment away!