Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Review ~ ROYAL STREET (Sentinels of New Orleans, #1) by Suzanne Johnson

Royal Street
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 soldiers sent to help the city recover.

To make it worse, Gerald St. Simon 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 the 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.                    ~From GoodReads

Set in New Orleans in the days preceding Hurricane Katrina, and the tumultuous weeks after, ROYAL STREET is the story of  Drusilla "DJ" Jaco. DJ, a Green Congress wizard, is charged with helping to protect modern day New Orleans from the Beyond. What lies in the Beyond? Vampires, Weres, Elves, the Historical Undead...All who are itching to cross over. When Hurricane Katrina forces a breach in the borders, and DJ's mentor, Gerry goes missing, she'll find out is she's ready to take on the preternatural bad boys, or die trying.

Oh, how I love a great Urban Fantasy. I'm always amazed when an author can create a world all his/her own. Suzanne Johnson is no exception. And though I thoroughly enjoyed many elements of ROYAL STREET, I have to give major props for the world-building. Johnson's brand of wizard was well developed, interesting and not terribly complicated. Hurricane Katrina was a horrible time for Louisiana, especially the New Orleans area. But to take such devastation and create a series around it's havoc was brilliant. New Orleans is an easy pick, with it's rich, decadent heritage. And it is hip deep in the "historical dead", my new favorite type of supernatural being.

For example, Jean Lafitte, a historically famous pirate. ROYAL STREET opens with DJ and Jean facing off in the bayou. He's a freaking riot, maybe my favorite character in the book. He's handsome, possesses a wicked charm, and is dead sexy. Even though he would probably feed DJ to the gators if it served him well, I couldn't help but smile every time that bad boy showed back up. The fact that I'm gushing over Jean instead of the main character should tell you how much I liked him.

Speaking of main characters, I really liked DJ. Her dialogue, verbal but especially internal, was funny, a tad snarky, and sincere. DJ's a tough, brave chick. She does tend to let her heart rule her head, sometimes a bit too much, but I have to admire a girl with so much loyalty and courage. There were a few times I wanted her to take a beat and thinks things through a bit more. But who wants a completely perfect, obedient heroine? Boring!

DJ has a hot, slightly brooding, more than capable partner in Alex Warin. Sa-woon. I mean, sure, Alex is a bit on the quiet side, and yeah, he's a tad secretive. But when he begins to open up...I don't know how DJ can stand staying in the "Just Partners Zone". Alex's cousin, Jake, though, offers a nice alternative. Jake is open, funny, and sexy as heck. Better yet, he's not DJ's partner. The chemistry between DJ/Alex and DJ/Jake was perfect. And even though it never turned into a true triangle, you can just see an emotional storm brewing on the horizon. Either way, DJ can't possibly make a wrong choice.

As much as I enjoyed ROYAL STREET, I did get into a bit of a lull throughout the middle portion of the story. There was lots of talking and plan making about finding Gerry and protecting the wards, but not a lot of actual action going on. It felt like a long, slow build-up to the big confrontation. But once we got there? Wow. What a great, action and emotionally-packed ending. I had no idea what would happen. Johnson ended the story with some resolution, and a super set-up for book two in the series, RIVER ROAD, due out in November.  I've already added it to my to-read list.

Favorite Quote:

" ' I know you think I'm hot.' Then the grin faded. 'Of course, you think Jake's hot, too, and Jean Lafitte, who's not even alive. You're really screwed up, you know that?' " (pg. 167)

Paperback, 336 pages
Published April 10th 2012 by Tom Doherty Associates

You can purchase ROYAL STREET at:
Barnes & Noble  |  Book Depository  |  Amazon

Source: Received from publisher for review.


  1. This sounds so awesome! I've been wanting to read it for a while, now, but I wasn't sure if I would like it. It sounds like it will! Thanks for the great review!

  2. Great review!! this book sound good considering that it is the first book in a new series :)

  3. AWESOME review. I had seen the book around but I had thought it was an adult series because of the cover but now that I know it's YA & with a story as good as this...a MUST read! Thanks 4 sharing.


  4. AWESOME Sauce review! I've been wanting to read this book for a long time. I finally broke down and ordered it the other day from Amazon. Now I have to wait until the other book I ordered is released to read it (yeah for me being "smart" and choosing the "send in fewer packages" option!)

  5. Great review! I saw someone mention were-gators in reference to the second book in a WoW post yesterday, and I have to admit, my curiosity was piqued! :) Sounds like some awesome UF right there. :P

  6. Awesome! I'd seen this but never added it to my list. It sounds really interesting though! Thanks for the recommendation!

  7. I think you've swayed me. I wasn't initially interested in this one because it didn't sound like my cup of tea, but your review makes it sound way more awesome than the blurb did. I am fascinated by New Orleans and all things Katrina and I'm a total sucker for dropping real-life historical characters into works of fiction.

  8. This is the first I have heard of this book. It sounds really good! Super awesome review chick!!

  9. Great review Andrea :) ! I absolutely love that quote, it makes me even more curious about Royal Street. Can't wait to read this book !!

  10. I've heard a lot of good things about this book. I'm a little more paranormal romance than urban fantasy usually but I like the sound of this one. D.J. sounds cool and I like the idea of her partner Alex and his cousin Jake. Jean Lafitte sounds like a really fun character too.

  11. I've been watching Suzanne Johnson for a while now, and this book is on my TBR. Thanks for the review. I'm definitely going to pick it up!

  12. Wow, this book sounds great! I love good urban fantasy. I love the idea of historical characters making a debut. Thanks for posting the review! I love reading your blog to find new books.

  13. Sounds interesting. Will have to check it out. :)

  14. I've been wondering about this one and now I'm convinced it's great! Thanks for reviewing it and giving such detail about it without spoilers. I might like this UF. I have such a hard time finding a lot of good UF, so I'm always sticking with a very few tried and trues. But, I'd like to find more, if possible.

  15. Great review! This book is definitely on my TBR! I follow Suzanne's blog and I love it! I will be getting this book very soon :-)

  16. LOL at the quote. I'll have to add this to my list for that alone.

    I like this cover. her hair is all wild and she's holding a big long stick. I bet she could conjure up an earthquake with the crazy stick of hers.


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