Title: Royal Street
Author: Suzanne Johnson
Series: Sentinels of New Orleans, book 1
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Publisher: Tor Books
Source: Review copy from publisher
“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 floodwaters.
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.”
Royal Street is the first book in the Sentinels of New Orleans series by Suzanne Johnson.
The blurb of this book gives us a good summary of the story, adding more to it will be telling everything and not leaving anything for you to discover.
After hearing so many great things about this book and seeing its beautiful cover I knew I have to read it. But something happened when I started to read it. I read page after page, I was enjoying the story but I couldn’t feel any connection with it or the characters. It was a good book, nice characters, great setting and all that, but even though I was trying I couldn’t get into the story. I was feeling bad because everybody loved the book and I wanted to love it too, the more I tried it the harder it was to like it. I was also not feeling well that day so on page 100 or so I decided to take a break from reading it.
Two days later I was feeling better and I resumed my reading, that day I got lost in Royal Street; since the moment I picked it up I couldn’t put it down until I reached its last word. After that, I got to the conclusion that the day I couldn’t read it I was the problem not the book.
I have read many books set in New Orleans but the New Orleans Mrs. Johnson gives us in this book is new and refreshing. The events occur during the days before and after Katrina. The descriptions of the places and situations are vivid and realistic; seeing the devastation of the city from a native’s point of view is heart wrenching. I loved how Mrs. Johnson incorporated the paranormal elements into the reality of the city life; I also loved how she created a parallel world (Beyond) in which these beings reside, with boundaries that sometimes they can breach to enter to our world.
The organization of wizards with its different designations and rankings in charge of protecting the humans against these supernatural beings is a new and refreshing take in this genre.
Drusilla Jaco also known a DJ is not your typical heroine, she is not only an empath but a green wizard, that means her magic is based in potions and spells and not in pure power, or at least that’s what we believed. DJ is a strong, loyal and caring heroine. She is also smart and funny. As with many Urban Fantasy heroines she puts herself at risk for the ones she loves and cares without thinking about consequences. DJ’s past is full of secrets, secrets she doesn’t even know; next to her we will learn about some of them, others secrets we will have to wait to discover in future books, I’m sure there is more about DJ than meets the eye.
DJ’s new partner Alex Warin is a dreamy hero with a protective streak. He is strong and gentle when needed; he also has a great sense of humor. There were some sparkles with DJ but even though there was an attraction their relationship didn’t change status.
Alex’s cousin Jake also plays an important part, he is also attracted to DJ and he brings the normalcy to the story. I’m sure he will play a bigger role in books to come.
One of the characters I loved the most was the undead pirate Jean Lafitte, his actions were more than surprising and his participation in the story was refreshing to say the least, I really hope to see and learn more about him in future books.
Despite my slow start I can honestly say I really liked and enjoyed Royal Street.
Royal Street is a great debut novel and one I recommend you to read if you like strong heroines, vivid settings and dreamy heroes. I’m looking forward to read next book of this series River Road.
My Verdict: 4 Paws
Other books in the series
Royal Street (Apr-10-2012)
River Road (Nov-13-2012)
Other reviews Goodreads