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.
Paperback, 336 pages
Published April 10th 2012 by Tor Books
Four Stars: A book where paranormal collides with Hurricane Katrina.
DJ is surprised when her latest assignment, undead pirate Jean Lafitte, shows up to their meeting packing rum and condoms. Seriously, sex with an undead, legendary pirate is not the way she planned on spending her afternoon. Quickly, DJ abandons the niceties and after a struggle, she sends his butt back to the Beyond, the place where the historical dead reside. On her way home, she tunes into the news blathering on and on about a small tropical storm brewing in the Atlantic. Hurricane Katrina doesn't frighten DJ as she has weathered plenty of other hurricanes. She is irritated when her mentor and father figure, Gerry, insists she leave town just as a precaution. Days later, DJ returns to a devastated New Orleans to find Gerry missing and a catastrophic mess. The undead are slipping through the barrier and it is DJ's job to send them back and hopefully find the missing Gerry. Can DJ survive the horrific aftermath of Hurricane Katrina?
What I Liked:
- I was craving a book that would deliver something unique, and I got what I wanted with Royal Street. This is a highly entertaining read that brings you wizards, shape shifters, voodoo, undead pirates all plastered against the terrifying back drop of the real life Hurricane Katrina. If you are in the mood for something original and absorbing, grab this series!
- My favorite aspect of this book was Hurricane Katrina. It has been eight years since that mighty storm ravaged the South and it seems not so long ago. I was completely glued to my tv day in and day out as I watched the horrific events that followed the storm. I enjoyed learning more about the hurricane and the aftermath from someone who obviously had first hand experience. There was so many things presented in this book that were new to me. I have never been to the South, nor visited New Orleans, even though I have been there countless times vicariously. This book brought New Orleans to life as it died and then as it began to slowly come back to life. I absolutely loved the setting.
- Aside from New Orleans, Royal Street also presents some of the most famous citizens in undead forms. Jean Lafitte, Marie Laveau, The Baron Samedi and even Louis Armstrong make appearances. I loved that this book gives you a famous historical setting along with its most notable citizens.
- The main character DJ is also original in that she is a Green Wizard. Think someone who is proficient in witchcraft as she can brew plenty of herbal potions and throw a few spells. DJ, in the beginning, is struggling a bit with her identity and powers. As a Green Wizard, she is rather low in the hierarchy, but as the book rolls along she starts tapping into new powers and abilities and by the end she is a formidable wizard. I liked watching her grow and cannot wait to see what she does with her new found powers and elven staff next time out.
And The Not So Much:
- As much as I loved having all the famous historical undead in the picture, I never had a complete grasp on what it means to be undead. At first, I was thinking along the lines of ghosts, but it was apparent that even a normal human could see the undead. They also ate, drank and from what I gathered were even capable of sex. I just wished that there was a bit more explanation and detail on the undead. I also would liked to have seen a bit more history on Jean Lafitte. I am not familiar with this famous pirate and it would have been nice for a bit more information on this popular pirate. What was his claim to fame? When did he live and die? What were the most notable things he did during his lifetime? Why is he still remembered?
- The romance is a bit frustrating. There are two apparent suitors and DJ is obviously attracted to both. She wavers back and forth, and I was hating that it felt like this was straying into the dreaded love triangle territory. The triangle never materializes because the romance never takes off either way. There is plenty of groundwork laid for a romance, but no heat yet. If you are looking for a romance, there are only hints and sparks in this one.
- I was excited that this book features wizards, but like the undead, I felt like I was missing something. The details on the wizards are scant and I wanted to know much more about all the different types of wizards and their abilities.
- I was just a tiny bit disappointed over how everything ended. There is and isn't a happy ending. In the end, though, it felt realistic. I wanted a bit more resolution with DJ and Gerry, and to understand if he acted completely on his own accord or was he partially glamoured and seduced?
Royal Street is an exciting beginning to a great new paranormal series that has plenty of originality. I loved the New Orleans setting and liked learning more about Hurricane Katrina. The inclusion of the historical undead spiced things up as well. This is certainly a series I plan to continue as soon as possible!
"I took a deep breath. The alligators were halfway up to my ass. Might as well let 'em keep climbing."
"I hate it when life forces me to be mature."
"An iron? Was he kidding? God made knits so people didn't have to iron."
I purchased a copy of this book. All opinions are my own and I was not compensated for this review."