REVIEW by @UrbanFantasyRev: Royal Street by Suzanne Johnson – Release Date 4/10/12 (@Suzanne_Johnson)
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.
I got a copy of Royal Street from the Netgalley e-ARC program and I couldn’t have picked a better book. I would have read this book based on the cast of characters alone Jean Lafitte, Louis Armstrong, Marie Laveau and any other historical figure from New Orleans you can think of. The book takes place during and shortly after Katrina hit New Orleans, prior to the storm Drusilla was a junior wizard until her mentor disappears during the storm making her a very inexperienced Sentinel. Katrina also made breaches in the walls between the Beyond and the normal world. The council of elders send her a partner to help her that she is not to enamored with…think a mercedes driving Rambo. While searching dealing with the preternatural creatures take advantage of the breaches and Drusilla must send them back she must also search for her mentor. Along the way her relationship with Gerald and her family comes into question and secrets are revealed.
There were parts of this book that had me laughing out loud and left me with a case of the hots for the pirate Jean Lafitte. While there was a lot of humour in the book, at the same time Ms Johnson does a brilliant job of illustrating the devastation and horror the Katrina left behind. The world building with the supernatural creatures was also great, like I said it left me with a huge crush on Jean Lafitte. She also made it easy to understand the different types of wizards and preternatural creatures DJ has to deal with. The plot moved along at a good pace keeping me so engaged I couldn’t put it down. I don’t do spoilers so I can’t say much more other than the story has everything.
Drusilla was definitely an engaging character who is in way over her head most of the time and knows it. She gets partnered with an Enforcer named Alex and they have a fairly intense relationship that is sometimes adversarial and sometimes not so much. Alex and DJ get help from Alex’s cousin Jake and some good tension happens between the three of them. The minor characters like Louis Armstrong help make this book so funny and at times so sad especially after they see their beloved New Orleans after Katrina. I rate this book a clear 5/5 and it’s one of the best UF books I have read so far this year. I can’t wait to continue with this series.
5 stars! Loved It!!!
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