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Royal Street by Suzanne Johnson EARLY REVIEW

Royal Street by Suzanne Johnson (Sentinels of New Orleans #1)

Egalley thanks to Tor Books

Synopsis from Goodreads
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.

Release date: US 10th April 2012/UK 1st May 2012

 Amazon  US/UK | Amazon kindle US |  The Book Depository US/UK

* * *
I actually really liked this book. It's refreshing, easy and just a little bit different to be memorable among the sea of other urban fantasies.

Dru is certainly not a kick-ass heroine. Physically she is an average human apart from being able to work with magic. She gets beaten and hurt easily, and you have to respect her determination to continue in the circumstances when a normal human being retreats. She's got a lovely sense of humour, it's a pleasure to read her banter with Alex, her unwilling partner, or her snarky observations.

What really makes this book unique is its rich, authentic atmosphere of New Orleans - it's smoky, sassy and spicy, heavy with accents, full of different backgrounds and beliefs. New Orleans just after Katrina is hard to read about, but it's a setting that I haven't encountered before in UF, and Suzanne Johnson really brings it to life.

I also loved the idea of all the supernaturals living in the Otherworld and slipping sometimes through the cracks and portals to our world. That's what the sentinels are here for - to send them back to the beyond. 

Jean Lafitte, a famous pirate from the past is one of these supernatural beings featured in Royal Street, and I have to say he was a riot. Really great secondary character, playing an important role in the plot, he turns from a villain to an unexpected ally, and I'm very much looking forward to seeing more of him in the books to come.

There are some drawbacks of course. DJ's partner, Alex, didn't do much for me, even his brother was nicer and had more character. Gerry with all his experience also was a little bit disappointing, because he couldn't see what was right in front of his eyes.

Otherwise I recommend Royal Street to all the fans of Hoodoo series by Adrian Phoenix and The Edge series by Ilona Andrews.

* * *
Очень хорошо написанное городское фэнтэзи в уникальной атмосфере Нового Орлеана сразу после Катрины.

Друзилла - один из магов Нового Орлеана, следящая за миром паранормального (Другим Миром), из которого время от времени сбегают в наш мир различные сверхъестественные существа. Её задача как сентинеля Нового Орлеана - отправлять их обратно.

Когда во время Катрины исчезает ментор Дрю, Джерри, Совет Магов отсылает Алекса - своего рода силовика Совета в партнёры к Дрю и для того, чтобы расследовать исчезновение Джерри, которого подозревают в сотрудничестве и симпатии к Другому Миру.

В хаосе после урагана, которым подпитываются паранормальные существа, проникающие в наш мир, Алекс и Дрю расследуют ритуальные убийства вуду по всему Новому Орлеану, пикируются с духом знаменитого пирата Жана Лафитта, нанимают на работу в баре духа Луи Армстронга и противостоят Барону Самеди - грозному лоа вуду...

Друзилла - очаровательная героиня, человечная, слабая, но решительная. Кроме магии, у неё нет каких либо сверхъестественных способностей. И всё же после стычек, где её ранят и избивают, она не отступает, а полагается на свой ум и смекалку, чтобы спасти свой город и своего учителя. У неё также прекрасное чувство юмора, что видно по её подколам Алекса и саркастичным размышлениям.

В целом, очень добротный дебют. Советую поклонникам Адриан Феникс и Илоны Эндрюс.

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