Author: Suzanne Johnson
Series: The Sentinels of New Orleans #1
Publisher: Tor Books
Publication Date: April 10, 2012
Number of Pages: 336
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.
Royal Street by Suzanne Johnson combines so many fantastic elements to create an amazing world, and mythology of which I could not get enough. Drusilla aka DJ Jaco is a wizard who under the guide of her mentor and boss, Gerry helps keep the balance between this world and the world of the beyond. All sorts of creatures live in the beyond werewolves, pixies, vampires, and my personal favorite historical undead. Historical Undead are historical figures that survive, because of their fame. From my understanding, as long as people remember them, they have power. If people begin to forget them, they slowly fade away. In New Orleans, where Royal Street is set, that adds up to some interesting characters, and I sure there are even more to come in future installments.
Royal Street takes place right as Katrina hits New Orleans, and during the devastation DJ’s boss, Gerry, goes missing. With the damages caused to the border between here and the beyond, DJ has not choice The Elders want her back in New Orleans to keep all the creatures and undead at bay, while they try to repair the borders. All DJ wants to do is find Gerry, but with Alex Warin, her newly assigned partner, that is not going to be so easy. Nor is the fact that with the borders down, Jean Lafitte, the historical undead, is going to be coming back to settle a score. To top it off, there is a voodoo serial killer on the loose, with possible ties to the beyond.
DJ is sarcastic and funny, and she may not be a kickass Red Congress (the most powerful) wizard, but she can hold her own, most of the time. I think it is more realistic, because everyone needs a little help sometimes. Alex Warin is not so bad after you get to know him either. He kind of grows on you. My favorite besides DJ has to be Jean Lafitte. He is sexy and dangerous, but also so funny. There is just something about him, and I cannot wait for the next installment where is sounds as if he will probably make an appearance or two. I love how the mythology allows for some amazing historical characters to make an appearance. I think Royal Street is just a wonderful start to a new series, and I cannot wait to see what DJ and Alex have to tackle next.
SIDE NOTE: As someone who does not live near Louisiana and has never been to New Orleans, I cannot possibly understand how devastating Katrina was to the city, or to all the people affected by that storm and the tragedy that followed. I do remember being horrified and heartbroken watching the news reports. The author, Suzanne Johnson, who is from New Orleans manages to capture the devastation of Katrina in her story and really opened my eyes to the extreme destruction and devastation that is still being felt today.
The next installment sounds like it is going to introduce even more creatures and another mystery for DJ and Alex to solve. I really cannot wait, for River Road, which releases in November. I cannot wait to see where Suzanne Johnson is going to take this adventure next.