Willow’s Review of Royal Street by Suzanne Johnson
Date Published: April 10, 2012
Series: Sentinels of New Orleans
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.
This is a fascinating series. I enjoyed the blending of paranormal/fantasy with modern-day 2005 New Orleans. As the first book of a new series, I feel that Johnson has a hit on her hands. =^.^=
I first want to say that I love New Orleans and hope to some day actually see it for myself. Where else in this US can you find such a rich mix of old and new along with the strange and fantastical? The atmosphere just lends itself perfectly for books such as this, and Johnson’s skill of blending the fantastical with the modern-day was well done. Her world-building was wonderful and many a time I found myself wishing that the world she created was real. This was the true strength of the novel. And to have it take place post Hurricane Katrina, adds a whole new depth to the story. Yes, this book had me sold on location alone. I also loved the fact that Johnson included some well-known New Orleans historical people too: Louis Armstrong, Jean Lafitte, and Marie Laveau. The later two are a few of my all time favorites.
As for the main characters, I really liked DJ, but I had mixed feelings towards Alex most of the novel. DJ is smart, sassy, extremely feisty, and determined to prove herself. I instantly connected with her and enjoyed many of her humors quips. And I also liked the fact that she wasn’t your typical run of the mill kick-butt heroine. In fact, there are a number of scenes where she ends up on the losing side of the battle. Still, DJ’s the type of character who never gives up, no matter how tough the odds against her. Alex on the other hand, well, let’s just say that he initially left a bad taste in my mouth. When he’s first introduced he comes off as a bit of a “I know what’s best for you” jerk. Like DJ I found myself wanting to claw him across the face just to wipe the smirk off it. However, as the story progressed, my feelings towards him began to change and by the end of the book, I actually found myself liking him. And his
brother cousin, Jake, made me smile on more than one occasion. I enjoyed the scenes where the two of them tried to one-up the other in the hopes of winning DJ’s affection.
Overall, I found this to be a fun read and am greatly looking forward to reading the next book in the series, River Road. I have to give this book 4 paws and a tail wave of serious approval! If you love urban fantasy, I highly suggest you give this series a try!