Saturday, April 07, 2012

Early Review: Royal Street by Suzanne Johnson

Title: Royal Street
Author: Suzanne Johnson
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Series: Sentinels of New Orleans #1

Paperback, 336 pages
Publication: April 10th 2012 

Book can be bought on Amazon or Book Depository

Where Did I get this book?: Book provided by publisher for review. 

Summary (via Goodreads):
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.

Review: Drusilla Jaco a.k.a. DJ is a 25 year-old Green congress wizard and junior sentinel of New Orleans. Hurricane Katrina is heading straight towards New Orleans, and with orders to evacuate from Gerald (Gerry) St. Simon, DJ’s mentor and father figure since the age of 7; DJ heads to take shelter at her Grandmother’s house. With the hurricane ravaging New Orleans, the barriers between our world and the beyond begins to slip making it easier for spirits/preternatural creatures to cross over. Just when things couldn’t get worst, Gerry goes missing, and the Elders of the Congress Wizards orders DJ home immediately to take over Gerry’s place and deal with all the supernatural hot spots that are opening into our world from the beyond.  It is up to DJ and her new partner, Alex (an enforcer, preternatural terminator) to find Gerry, stop a serial killer that sacrificing the soldiers, and fix the barriers before all hell break loose. 

I’ve been excited for this book ever since I first heard about it; I haven’t read many or any books that take a national disaster and use it as a back drop for their story. I also never read a book that had a wizard as a main character (for those wondering, no I have not read the HP series …I know!!) so this book was pretty much new territory for me.  DJ isn’t like the typical urban fantasy heroines…she’s not really consider a kick-butt heroine but she definitely isn’t some sissy. She’s smart, independent, and super stubborn! There are scenes where she fights back, knows how to use her brain, but if she was in a situation that she knew she couldn’t beat…She’d run. I remember one of the phrases she said was that she may seem like a coward for running from a fight, but at least she’d be an ALIVE coward. LOL.  Alex, Dj’s partner is everything that readers look for in the main character’s love interest. Alex is tall, dark and dangerous but underneath that hard exterior there’s a soft side. This book also had a love triangle involved. I’m usually not a big fan of love triangles, but both guys vying for DJ’s attention are both likable…I wouldn’t know who to pick either! 

Overall this was a great start to an interesting series. Mrs. Johnson did an amazing job incorporating Hurricane Katrina, a real life event as part of an urban fantasy novel. The world building isn’t as strong as I like, but it’s understandable as it being the first book in a new series. This book will keep you entertained from start to finish. Luckily readers will only have to wait a couple months till River Road, the second book in the series which releases November 2012! If you’re looking for a fun-new book to read, definitely pick up Royal Street when it hits stores everywhere Tuesday, April 10th. This book has everything; action, suspense, romance, famous ghostlies,  Voodoo God, a hot shifter…and everything in between from werewolves, vampires, to faeries and elves. 

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