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Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Review: Royal Street by Suzanne Johnson

Title: Royal Street
Author: Suzanne Johnson
Series: Sentinels of New Orleans #1
Publisher: Tor
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Release Date: 04/10/12
Reviewed by: Sara
But the Book:
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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.

Plot: 3 Stars
I really enjoyed the idea of Old Orleans and the historical dead. They were definitely interesting ideas that were unique to the city. The wizards and their different sets of powers were also interesting, but I wished their powers could've been explained a little more. DJ's powers were explained throught the novel as she needed to use her powers, but we didn't learn nearly as much about the other Congresses. I enjoyed how the plot of the novel was woven into the events of Hurricane Katrina, although there were a couple parts in which the historical details overshadowed the fantasy.

Pace: 2 Stars
The first half of this novel dragged. While I enjoyed the information about Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath, it sometimes overshadowed the plot. Some of the details involving the storm, the aftermath, and the clean-up could've been worked into scenes a little more seemlessly. Plus, I felt DJ went a little too long in her search without getting a break. Don't get me wrong, I definitely wouldn't want the answers to all of her problems handed to her with no work, but I also don't want her to flounder with no new information for so long that I want to put the book down. Once DJ started getting a couple leads in her search for Gerry, the pace of the novel picked up and kept me hooked until the end.

Characters: 3 Stars
DJ is a likeable heroine still trying to figure things out. She's young, still training, and hasn't been given missions of merit. After Gerry disappears during the hurricane, she was a bit out of her element without his guidance. Some of her decisions were a bit hasty, but she does start to get the hang out being on her own. I wish I could've learned more about Gerry because the picture DJ painted intrigued me. Alex, the enforcer sent in by the Elders, was definitely rough around the edges socially. He rubbed me (and DJ) the wrong way when he showed up. They worked together, even if their goals aren't exactly the same, and got along better as the story progressed. My favorite characters were definitely the historical dead, and I wished their parts could've been a bit bigger.

Cover: 3.5 Stars
There are many elements about this cover that I enjoy. I think the choice of cover model was a great match for DJ, and I really enjoy the way her hair is blowing about. The staff and the glowing details are a great touch, especially since I enjoyed how the staff followed DJ around throughout the book. The orange hues of the cover somehow convey the effect of magic very well. Although the streetlight and building in the background are a nice touch, they are a bit generic. Considering this novel doesn't just take place in New Orleans, but New Orleans during and after Hurricane Katrina, I kinda wish a little bit of the hurricane's distruction could've been captured.

Overall: 3 Stars

Disclosure: I received a copy of this novel for review from the publisher.

1 comment:

Thanks for stopping by Sara's Urban Fantasy Blog! I'd love to here what's on your mind. :)