Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Royal Street by Suzanne Johnson

Pages - 417
Published by Headline on the 27th September.
Book kindly sent by publisher for an honest review.

A secluded Louisana bayou. A sexy pirate. Seduction and deceit. My Friday afternoon had the making of a great romantic adventure, at least in theory
In practice, angry mosquitoes were using me for target practice, humidity had ruined any prayer of a good hair day, and the pirate in question - the infamous Jean Lafitte - was two hundred years old, armed, and carrying a six-pack of Paradise condoms in assorted fruit flavours. 
Goodreads Summary

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.

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I loved everything about this book! The plot, the setting, the characters - I couldn't get enough of them and I can't wait for the next book!
I don't normally read urban fantasy but when I realised this was set in New Orleans around the time of Hurricane Katrina, I had a gut feeling this book would be for me. I always listen to my gut feelings and yet again I was right. 
Since I first heard about New Orleans when I was young, (I think it might have been while watching a James  Bond movie) I became fascinated by voodoo and its birthright in New Orleans. Characters such as Marie Leveau, Jean Laffitte and Baron Samedi had been on my radar for awhile and will always attract my attention. The fact that the author brought them back from the dead to play a part in this book, alongside Louis Armstrong, was pure genius. Out of all of them Jean Lafitte was definitely my favourite, though that might have been because I kept imagining him as Jonny Depp! Ahem! Moving on.
I loved the way the book took a real event and incorporated the story around. Not to be morbid, I am well aware how devastating Hurricane Katrina was for New Orleans, yet I find myself in need of knowing more of why it happened and what occurred after the tragic event. Perhaps this is some kind of morbid fascination or just the need for clarity, I'm not sure, but as the story is placed in the hands of a New Orleans resident who has tirelessly worked to help with the clean up of New Orleans, I couldn't resist reading and enjoying this book. 
Before each chapter begins, the author provides a snippet of information from the news , pinpointing the chronological events of Hurricane Katrina, so you get a feel of how the people changed their perspective of the devastating event; from the beginning they were quite blase about the effect it would have and were unprepared for the damage it finally created. 
Within the story there is a love triangle which I felt worked really well, although perhaps 'love triangle' isn't the best description and 'lust triangle' would be better. It is clear from very early on, that D.J. is attracted to both Alex and his cousin, Jake. In their own way, they both have feelings for her too, but see her from different view points. Alex knows so much more about D.J., things that would seem unbelievable to Jake. It is only as the story progresses, that Jake realises D.J. isn't what she seems. 
I really felt that the author captured the magical essence of New Orleans and entwined it with a thrilling well placed plot and a cast of alluring characters to create a winning combination. I am already and waiting for my next trip to New Orleans! 

2 comments:

  1. I had read that this was being billed as the new Harry Potter. Quite where they got this from I don't know. Glad you enjoyed it, thanks for the recommendation.

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    Replies
    1. Ooh no way. Far too much heat in it for Harry Potter. This is more of your urban fantasy. Definitely not for kids!

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