Set in New Orleans in the days preceding Hurricane Katrina, and the tumultuous weeks after, ROYAL STREET is the story of Drusilla "DJ" Jaco. DJ, a Green Congress wizard, is charged with helping to protect modern day New Orleans from the Beyond. What lies in the Beyond? Vampires, Weres, Elves, the Historical Undead...All who are itching to cross over. When Hurricane Katrina forces a breach in the borders, and DJ's mentor, Gerry goes missing, she'll find out is she's ready to take on the preternatural bad boys, or die trying.
Oh, how I love a great Urban Fantasy. I'm always amazed when an author can create a world all his/her own. Suzanne Johnson is no exception. And though I thoroughly enjoyed many elements of ROYAL STREET, I have to give major props for the world-building. Johnson's brand of wizard was well developed, interesting and not terribly complicated. Hurricane Katrina was a horrible time for Louisiana, especially the New Orleans area. But to take such devastation and create a series around it's havoc was brilliant. New Orleans is an easy pick, with it's rich, decadent heritage. And it is hip deep in the "historical dead", my new favorite type of supernatural being.
For example, Jean Lafitte, a historically famous pirate. ROYAL STREET opens with DJ and Jean facing off in the bayou. He's a freaking riot, maybe my favorite character in the book. He's handsome, possesses a wicked charm, and is dead sexy. Even though he would probably feed DJ to the gators if it served him well, I couldn't help but smile every time that bad boy showed back up. The fact that I'm gushing over Jean instead of the main character should tell you how much I liked him.
Speaking of main characters, I really liked DJ. Her dialogue, verbal but especially internal, was funny, a tad snarky, and sincere. DJ's a tough, brave chick. She does tend to let her heart rule her head, sometimes a bit too much, but I have to admire a girl with so much loyalty and courage. There were a few times I wanted her to take a beat and thinks things through a bit more. But who wants a completely perfect, obedient heroine? Boring!
DJ has a hot, slightly brooding, more than capable partner in Alex Warin. Sa-woon. I mean, sure, Alex is a bit on the quiet side, and yeah, he's a tad secretive. But when he begins to open up...I don't know how DJ can stand staying in the "Just Partners Zone". Alex's cousin, Jake, though, offers a nice alternative. Jake is open, funny, and sexy as heck. Better yet, he's not DJ's partner. The chemistry between DJ/Alex and DJ/Jake was perfect. And even though it never turned into a true triangle, you can just see an emotional storm brewing on the horizon. Either way, DJ can't possibly make a wrong choice.
As much as I enjoyed ROYAL STREET, I did get into a bit of a lull throughout the middle portion of the story. There was lots of talking and plan making about finding Gerry and protecting the wards, but not a lot of actual action going on. It felt like a long, slow build-up to the big confrontation. But once we got there? Wow. What a great, action and emotionally-packed ending. I had no idea what would happen. Johnson ended the story with some resolution, and a super set-up for book two in the series, RIVER ROAD, due out in November. I've already added it to my to-read list.
" ' I know you think I'm hot.' Then the grin faded. 'Of course, you think Jake's hot, too, and Jean Lafitte, who's not even alive. You're really screwed up, you know that?' " (pg. 167)show more
by Andrea Thompson