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

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Royal Street by Suzanne Johnson // VBC ReviewRoyal Street (Sentinels of New Orleans #1)
Suzanne Johnson
Published: April 10, 2012 (Tor Books)
Purchase: Book Depository or Amazon
Review Source: Purchased

Reviewed by: Jo

Rating (out of 5): 4 stars

Set pre- and post-Hurricane Katrina, Royal Street follows Drusilla ‘DJ’ Jaco, wizard and junior Sentinel of New Orleans. Along with her boss and mentor Gerry, it’s DJ’s job to protect the city from preternatural creatures straying from the Beyond. Frustrated with being given the easy assignments, DJ feels ready to step into the magical big leagues—that is until the hurricane hits and everything changes.

Ordered to evacuate by Gerry, DJ returns to find the city devastated, the barrier between our world and the Beyond critically weakened and Gerry missing. Though she wants her first priority to be finding her mentor, the wizard council she works for reminds her that her allegiance should be to her Sentinel duties. Namely investigating a spate of murders that suggest a voodoo element and securing Beyond breeches. Tasked with a new (infuriating) partner in the form of enforcer Alex, DJ sets out to solve the murders and uncover the truth about Gerry. As she delves deeper, she will be pitted against gods, forge unlikely allegiances and uncover information that changes everything she thought she knew.

I’m not going to lie; Royal Street has me super excited. The sheer vastness of the world building means the potential for where this series could go is huge. While the main focus in this series opener is the various factions of wizards, their separate abilities and hierarchy, there are mentions of vampires, weres, Fae and many, many more. I found the concept of the Beyond fascinating. Not only is it the realm most preternaturals inhabit, it is also where the dead roam. The more a person is remembered by the living the more power they wield in the Beyond after death. This makes for some very interesting cameos.

As a main character DJ really worked for me. I found her very relatable and liked that she wasn’t badass straight away. She’s resourceful and eager to prove herself, but the journey she goes on in Royal Street forces her to her limits, to make mistakes and learn some hard truths. Much like the world building, there is a lot of room for growth when it comes to DJ and I’m really looking forward to seeing what sort of character she becomes.

It isn’t all about the potential though, as Royal Street on its own has a fast moving plot, filled with twists and mystery. The action sequences in particular were so vividly written, I could almost see them playing out in my mind like a film. The descriptions of post Katrina New Orleans were extensive and poignant, but done in a way that it felt there was great respect for the city in the writing. There was a romantic aspect, even the possibility of a triangle, which I actually liked. There’s no insta-love, it’s attraction based and with DJ’s world changing so much, it felt plausible and real to me that she would be unsure how to feel.

Royal Street has all the promising signs of a fantastic urban fantasy series (including, but not limited to, 18th century pirates, which are always a plus in my book). I can’t wait to pick the next in the series!

Sexual content: Kissing, references to sex

9 Responses to “Review: Royal Street by Suzanne Johnson (Sentinels of New Orleans #1)”

  1. Rebe says:

    I really enjoyed Royal Street, but it was the second book in the series, River Road, that sold me on this series. I loved it! I can’t wait till the third book comes out in August.

  2. Lee says:

    I have to agree with Rebe’s comment above…Royal Street was a great read but River Road was incredible. It had a procedural feel to it, a fantastic sense of atmosphere, and DJ is just a great heroine. Hope you read the next in the series! Can’t wait to dig into book three!

  3. Roger Simmons says:

    Thanks for the review of Royal Street, the more exposure for the Sentinels series the better. I agree, River Road was even better. Sets us up for Elysian Fields to be the best in the series. We will find out soon.

  4. Amanda says:

    This is such a fun series. I thought both Royal Street and River Road were equally good, and I can’t wait for the next one!

  5. Liz S says:

    This is a great series. I enjoyed River Road even more than the first book. Eagerly awaiting Elysian Fields. Check out her Penton Vampire series and Storm Force that she writes under her Susannah Sandlin pen name. They are also great reads!

  6. Sarah L says:

    This looks fabulous, I have just downloaded the first chapter to give it a try and will then probably buy. Am always on the lookout for new and upcoming series.

  7. miki says:

    The series goes better and better with each book so don’t worry you will see Dj evolving^^ and for our dear pirate^^ you will see more of him in river road and next week , each day you will get a part of his own novella on suzanne website ( then you can buy the enovella if you want but next week it will be free)
    i can’t resist him
    i’m really happy you love this series and thank you for this wonderfully written review

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