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3.8 out of 5 stars54
3.8 out of 5 stars
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VINE VOICEon 26 February 2013
Drusilla Jaco (DJ) is an inexperienced wizard living in New Orleans at the time of Hurricane Katrina, when her mentor goes missing. She attempts to find him with the help of the Elders (those who manage and govern magic) and their appointed `enforcer' Alex. DJ must overcome forces from `Beyond'; a drunken pirate and a master of voodoo, as well as exert her independence and ability.

There was a lot to recommend this book. It is the first in a series and if it is seen as an introduction to characters then it's a passable easy read. The description of the devastation after the hurricane was some of the best writing in the book and was written with feeling and sensitivity. Unfortunately, it took too long for the plot to get going and when it did everything that happened was largely predictable.

I would read another in this series but I can't help but feel that Janet Evanovich and other similar authors have mastered this style of writing and this felt like a pale comparison.
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VINE VOICEon 21 November 2012
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Just the sort of thing I love to read late into the night: a supernatural thriller that keeps you turning the pages.

Set against the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina, this is the story of how the walls that protect the Now from the Beyond have crumbled in the storm and the undead are coming into the city.

Drusilla Jaco has the job of protecting the city as co-sentinal so it is a good job she is a wizard. Unfortunately, she doesn't get on with the partner who has been send by the Elders to help her, Alix, but he does have a fit cousin...

A great teenagers' novel, just enough spice and violence without overstepping the mark. Some great set pieces like the ceremony with Baron Samedi in the Beyond. All the little magic touches set the atmosphere well and this would make a great TV movie.

As it is, it makes a great novel. The sequel "River Road" is also now available.
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VINE VOICEon 19 December 2012
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Maybe this writer will hit her stride in a few books, but I doubt I will be reading them. It is told in the first person, but the author only gives you snippets of information, to attempt to leave you wanting more. It is a generic set-up (frustrating council of elders, mentor who doesn't let her spread her wings, sexy-but-unsuitable potential love interest etc. etc.) and very much on the lighter end of the paranormal romance/urban fantasy scale. There is a quote on the front saying that fans of Charlaine Harris and Jim Butcher will find this a sure hit, but definitely not for this fan!! I'll admit Butcher's first few Dresden file books were quite ropey, but there was an edge there that made you think 'I'll give him another go, I think there might be something here). For me, the balance does not work. DJ, the protagonist comes across as weak. A pity, but it is always worth trying these new authors!
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 1 January 2013
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
After a slow and slightly tiresome start, this story takes off as junior wizard DJ (don't call her Drusilla) searches for her missing mentor, tackles an undead pirate and a voodoo god, oh and navigates a romantic love triangle with two rather gorgeous cousins - all set against the background of Katrina-stricken New Orleans.

This is, in lots of ways, standard urban fantasy fare: DJ is one of those smart-mouthed heroines with magical powers, family secrets, and a penchant for attractive supernatural men that we've met many times before. Because of that, the various `secrets' in the plot are pretty obvious and don't have the kind of emotional impact they are supposed to.

That said, the relationships between DJ and the well-drawn Alex and Jake give the book a buoyancy which I enjoyed. The test is whether we'd want to read a sequel - in this case I would.
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To be honest I was pretty sold on this title by the book blurb and I was lucky enough to be able to get the first three to read back to back. Add to this the fact that I’d considered using a certain pirate within as a principle player in one of my own projects and I was more than interested to see what would occur within.

What unfurls, for me is a book that sadly starts off very slow. The introduction to the characters feels not only a little forced but also awkward without it feeling like its natural progression to the story overall. And yet, as you make your way through, the authors idea’s clearly come through as the mysterious plot wends its way into the readers imagination. It is a story that takes some getting used to and I hope that after an awkward beginning that the series will go from strength to strength.
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VINE VOICEon 18 April 2015
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Drusilla Jaco - DJ to her friends - is a sassy New Orleans native with an unusual job. She's a wizard, skilled in ritual magic and tasked with protecting the city from "pretes" - preternatural beings who lurk in the "Beyond", a kind of alternative reality underlying the city. A bit like Neil Gaiman's parallel London in "Neverwhere", it's full of mythic creatures - vampires, voodoo gods, loup-garou (werewolves) and the "historical undead" - legendary figures from the city's past, kept alive by the force of people's memories. We're not talking about Tinkerbell here, though. The undead interlopers are hungry for more real life, and in the wake of Hurricane Katrina it's not just the levees that have broken. The barriers between worlds have been breached too, and an array of colourful characters from pirate Jean Lafitte to voodoo priestess Marie Laveau to legenday jazzman Louis Armstrong are loose in the city.

There's more - DJ's beloved guardian and mentor Gerald St Simon has gone missing, and Alex, the FBI enforcer who comes to her aid is a little more than he seems. There are romantic complications to unravel, too, as Lafitte, Alex and his troubled brother Jake vie for her affections. It's a fast-moving, entertaining yarn, laced with dry humour and Chandler-esque asides. The magical world it hints at is a little under-explored, its emotional range a little limited, but it looks like there's more to discover in the sequels - this is the first novel in a series called "Sentinels Of New Orleans." But "Royal Street" is a great opening act.
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VINE VOICEon 3 September 2014
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
With hurricane Katrina bearing down on the city junior wizard sentinel Drusilla Jaco is order to evacuate to her grandmothers house out of the city by her boss Sentinel of New Orleans Gerald St Simon.

But after the hurricane has hit she cannot contact him and when she is suddenly contacted by The Elders Council and ordered to return it seems Gerry is missing and the city is in trouble.

Not only has Katrina damaged the city physically but it has damaged the barrier between this world and the next and now the dead are coming to visit in greater numbers than usual.

With an enforcer assigned from the council as her new partner and a supernatural murderer on the loose Drusilla must try to save not only her boss and mentor but her city from chaos.

I am usually a sucker for anything New Orleans based as it gives me the chance to do my geeky tourist thing when I'm reading it (I've been there!, I've seen that!) but in a genre that is getting very overpopulated it needs a new hook to catch the reader these days. Vampires, Werewolves, Shape Shifters there is a lot of them out there now days and there are only so many ideas or ways of presenting them.

With Royal Street the author has made an attempt to bring a new slant to the genre I found the story a bit slow to start and maybe there were too many characters for a first book if she is intending to expand the series she could have maybe introduced them more gradually.

I can't say this has been my favourite book in this genre but I would definitely be willing to give a second book a try.
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VINE VOICEon 17 July 2014
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
A Great fun read with plenty of promise for a next adventure!.

Set in the traumatic post storm days of Hurricane Katrina's effects on New Orleans, a young witch. Drusilla Jaco, is desptached to NO to help solve the rifts appearing in the layer between this world and the supernatural. Her co-wizard and sentinal Alex is there to protect her but to fight his seemingly unwanted presence, he turns into a loving pup in order to watch over her at night.The pathway to the other side is used by non other than Jean Lafitte, the 250 year old pirate, womaniser and all round bad guy. However, he seems to find Dru (known as DJ) very attractive which turns out to have its uses, even though she banished him back through the portal for a few weeks following their first encounter (that also enouraged Alex to use his shapeshifting ability to remain by her side).

All around there are murders, strange markings left on houses where shortly after the occupant would be found dead. Dru and Alex are in hot pursuit of the mysterious culprit(s), despite the other sides' forces continually at battle to reach through to New Orleans.

This is a rip-roaring, old-fashioned, fun, quick read. Good old adventure and fantasy set in a very real disaster zone. It brings the dark days of New orleans tradgedy to life as the damage to building and property is recounted effectively while they search for Alex's predecessor, Gerald St Simeon (who also brought DJ up from the age of 5). Lots of detail, good characterisation of the "extras" and super use of real "named old residents of Old New Orleans. Highly recommmended for all who just enjoy a good light-hearted read. Looking forward to #2.
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Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Hurricane Katrina has done its worst, much of New Orleans devastated. Not only levees and homes have been destroyed but also barriers against the Undead, creatures from Beyond keen to invade and add to the havoc.

Drusilla Jaco (DJ) narrates - she feisty and savvy, a sentinal with powers. She has much to do, as her bosses The Elders strive to re-establish some semblance of normality. Tough handsome Alex has been appointed her partner, they seemingly destined forever to spar. (As though readers do not know exactly where this volatile relationship will end up!)

Actively around are devious resurrected pirates, wolves, the formidable Baron Samedi (on no account to be trusted), even Louis Armstrong. More poignant is DJ's search for her beloved mentor Gerry, she to reel from eventual revelations. Yes, as with other heroines in works of this nature, DJ will greatly suffer - both physically and emotionally.

Most fans of the genre will find much that is familiar but enjoyable nonetheless. The novel's great strength, though, is its being rooted so firmly in actual events. Suzanne Johnson knows New Orleans, has spent much of her life there, has seen at first hand the heartrending destruction, has actively helped to bring order out of chaos. Disturbingly graphic are descriptions of the loss of much that was so vibrant, many homes not swept away now full of toxic sludge, mould and memories. No matter how exciting the accounts of voodoo and whatever, these real life images will linger most of all.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICEon 13 October 2013
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This book is set in New Orleans at the time of hurricane Katrina. This setting in an actual time and place enhances the book considerably and it is obvious that the author really knows the city well and loves it. The story of witches and paranormal creatures fits in well with the chaos of the time and the history of the area.

Drusilla (DJ) is a witch who uses herbs and makes potions for her art. She acts as a deputy sentinel for the city to her mentor and adopted uncle Gerry who goes missing at the beginning of the storm. Promoted rapidly to sentinel she is paired with an enforcer whose job is also to find out what has happened to Gerry - but the magical elders think that he may be using the chaos to do something unsafe or unethical so Alex's job may be more than investigation. Meanwhile, the hurricane has caused splits in the barriers between the magical realm and the real world and ghostly entities are coming through to create problems.

This book is not original - there are echoes of many other urban fantasy novels (just a few - Galdalf the dog is similar to a character in Charlaine Harris' Sookie Stackhouse novels, Harry Dresden also answers to a Council of men in Jim Butcher's novels, Mercy Thompson has a magical staff that follows her around in Patricia Briggs' novels, and almost every female urban fantasy character has two men that she is attracted to as DJ is here with Jake and Alex). The story is well plotted though and is an enjoyable read. DJ is an attractive character who reacts well and realistically to what happens to her in this book (although her forgiveness of the pirate who wants to rape and murder her is a bit too much).

I enjoyed this novel and will be interested to see how the author develops the story.
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