Apr 3, 2012

Book Review: 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 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.

* * * * * 

I wonder how far back in the past a book must be set to be considered a historical.  ROYAL STREET is set during Hurricane Katrina and the aftermath, and well it feels like history.  One nice touch is the fact that each chapter starts with a snippet from various newspapers including The New York Times and The Times Picayune.  They help to bring back the horror of that time.

ROYAL STREET was an enjoyable read even though the setting was one of loss and upheaval.  In fact, Drusilla ‘DJ’ was pulled back into New Orleans because of the disappearance of her mentor Gerry.   DJ is rather interesting character.  She is a wizard of the Green Congress which deals with potions and ritual.  She is alternately unsure of herself and her powers, and then positive that her way is the only way. 

Alex is an Enforcer that has been sent to both help DJ find Gerry and to keep her alive since there are breaches happening all over New Orleans.  He is a walking wet dream however is standoffish and very much a loner.  And let’s not forget Jake, Alex’s cousin as well as dead pirates and jazz singers.  It really is the characters that really make this book. 

Ms. Johnson also does an incredible job with her descriptions.  They really caused me to pause and think about what the survivors had to deal with in the aftermath.   I could almost smell the mold, and the rotted food.  I could feel the sweat beading on my forehead. 

The only real issue I had with this book was the pacing.  There are times when it is fast and furious and then it slows down so far that the story really starts to drag.  There are parts where the descriptions bog it down.  A happy medium needs to be found.    It is because of this that I am only rating ROYAL STREET a 3.5. 

**I did receive this book from NetGallery for a limited time in exchange for the review.  No money exchanged hands and all opinions are my own.

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