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.
Alright, there’s no way to sugar coat this… Royal Street has some serious faults. For example, some of the characters, items, and plot points feel like actual carbon copies of other characters, items and plots. Like an actual copy and paste type deal. I mean to the point where I actually had to e-mail Dolly to get the complaint off my chest.
But here’s the thing… unlike the last time I read a book that employed cookie cutters, this time I found myself going “ok, so you were clearly…err… influenced… now whatcha gonna do with it?” Instead of starting out original and ending contrived, it started contrived and ended… well ok, not originally per say, but unique enough that I enjoyed myself. I actually think getting those complaints out in the open helped me move past them and enjoy the story.
What? Why are you looking at me like that? It’s a plausible reason…
Ok, so it was probably the setting. See, the book is set in New Orleans, which I have a mild obsession with. There’s a pirate, which I have a mild obsession with. There’s voodoo, which scares the crap out of me to the point that I have a mild obsession with it. Oh, and the two main characters are a spunky female wizard who struggles with an inferiority complex and an armed to the teeth thug who’s more than meets the eye. Which I’m not obsessed with, but I really really like.
So basically the narrative could’ve said “and then we took a secret train to a magical school for wizards where I met and befriended two other young wizards and a half giant named Gahrid” and I still would’ve given it the benefit of the doubt.
It’s a 3 star read, not original, not ground breaking, but entertaining none the less. There were twists and turns that I did not expect, even though it does seem to follow the same general flow of urban paranomal mysteries. I had a hard time putting it down, and I’m looking forward to the sequel.
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