A Green Congress wizard, a missing mentor, a decimated city, and one sexy pirate whose existence is made possible by the magic of memories. These are just some aspects of Johnson's Sentinels of New Orleans debut that made this novel an engaging and entertaining read.
I was originally drawn to Royal Street by its eye-catching cover. When reading the synopsis, I was intrigued by the idea of a world filled with magic, coupled with the difficulty of overcoming an event as devastating as Hurricane Katrina. The setting was a bold choice, in my opinion, and Johnson handles it very well.
The story follows Drusilla, sometimes referred to as DJ, as she searches for her lost mentor, reluctantly takes on a stubborn (but sexy) partner, makes some new friends and forms an uneasy alliance. She spends a lot of time bending the rules, but Drusilla's sole purpose is finding the man who has taken care of her and she'll use any resource available to get the job done.
The author does an excellent job of introducing us to Drusilla's life as a wizard, the political structure of the Congress of Elders, and brief descriptions of preternatural creatures residing in the Beyond. I'm very much looking forward to learning more about them in the series' sequel.
We are also introduced to various secondary characters along the way and there are two in particular that I'm hoping we explore more in depth later on. Alexander Warin, an enforcer for the Elders, and Captain Jean Lafitte, the ancient, legendary pirate that Drusilla can't seem to rid herself of. They both added their own elements of intrigue and excitement to the story and I'm anxious to see their growth and continued development in future installments.
Overall, I thought this was a solid debut from an author that I'm glad to have taken a chance on. If you enjoy urban fantasy with strong magical elements, then you'll want to read Suzanne Johnson's Royal Street.
(Sentinels of New Orleans, Book 2 | November 2012)
Keep reading for an excerpt from Royal Street!
I forced myself to take a step back and put a few inches of distance between us. He was at least six-two and I had to crane my neck to make eye contact. Plus, distance was good. “Shouldn’t we discuss business first, Captain Lafitte?”
He took another sip of rum. “Very well. Business then, Jolie. After all, you are the first sentinel to realize how beneficial a relationship with me could be.”
“You’ve tried doing business with my boss?” That conversation should have been entertaining. Gerry had probably zapped him back to the Beyond faster than he could say walk the plank.
“Gerald St. Simon is an arrogant man who exaggerates his own importance,” Lafitte said, and if that wasn’t a case of a pot and a black kettle I’d never heard one. Although it did make me wonder how often he’d met Gerry.
“Present-day businessmen such as your antique merchants would profit greatly by selling goods from the Beyond,” he continued. “And an experienced trader like myself could procure valuable items from the past. As my business partner, you would of course receive a generous percentage without having to involve your Elders.”
I swallowed hard as he shortened the gap between us again. “And you and I could forge a most enjoyable personal partnership as well.”
He regarded me with a slow smile, and I found myself smiling back, heart pounding. My damned eyes were probably twinkling as my gaze lingered first on his mouth and then the fine line of his jaw. I wondered if the scar would feel rough under my fingertips . . .
I’ve spent most of my twenty-five years learning to manage my empathic abilities, to guard against emotions I don’t want and channel the rest into my magic. I hadn’t performed my grounding ritual today because, really, who’d expect to absorb emotions from a dead guy? Yet Lafitte’s lust and anticipation shimmered across my skin. Touching ramped the empathy to warp speed.
He stepped close enough for me to feel the heat from his body and answer that age-old question: No, the historical undead, powered by the magic of memory, did not have cold skin like vampires.
Setting his glass on the table with one hand, he used the other to lift a stray curl from my cheek and tuck it behind my ear. His breath heated my neck as he leaned over and swept a soft kiss just below my jaw, and another across my lips.
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