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A suitable successor to Sookie?
on 3 May 2013
There must be lots of readers out there wondering what they'll do when the Sookie Stackhouse series draws to a close. Where are we gonna get our Deep South spookynatural kicks from in future? Well, River Road is the second in a very promising series. It's not got the bite (sorry) of the True Blood mythology, but it's certainly heading in the right direction.
River Road is more focused than its predecessor, and wisely skips over a couple of years when trainee sentinel DJ moves from being a novice to rather more experienced Green Congress magician. The plot introduces a couple of novel paranormal species and a neat mix of myth/modern world interface. Suzanne Johnson is building a credible and comprehensive, multi-layered universe - at its heart we're following the investigation of a young female empath, but there's an awful lot of interest shuffling around the shadows.
The writing is easy going and accessible; the dialogue can be snappy and entertaining; the supporting cast make more sense this time around. DJ has stopped bickering with her partner and her immortal pirate beau - but inevitably encounters new threats. As with Ms Stackhouse, DJ kinda falls for every fella she meets and they all drool over her, so there's a definite leaning towards the romantic side of things in here. The action is also nicely flavoured with the atmosphere of New and Old Orleans and the backwaters of the Atchafalaya Basin. Jazz and beignets all round...
I would have liked to explore more about the aquatic characters and their life-styles and powers. That part felt a little thin; they were basically normal people who happen to go a bit finny. And indeed, it'd be nice if the supernatural folks in future episodes are made to feel *special*. The trouble with series like these is that after a while you tend to take loup garou and ghosts and voodoo children for granted. I hope Ms Johnson can retain a sense of awe and wonder as she builds her world and peoples it with interesting creations.
A satisfying read. You probably do need to start with the first in the series, Royal Street , to get the most from this episode.