Category Archives: urban fantasy

Review: Royal Street by Suzanne Johnson

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Tor Books; Original edition (April 10, 2012)
  • ISBN-10: 076532779
  • Source: Library
Drusilla (DJ) Jaco is the young junior wizard sentinel for New Orleans. The title sounds big, but it isn’t. Her boss and mentor,Gerald (Gerry) St. Simon, is the wizard in charge of protecting the city from anything supernatural. The city was relatively safe until Hurricane Katrina hits, not only hammering the city’s levees but also crumbling the walls between the city and the supernatural Otherworld.

DJ is forced into action when Gerry goes missing. The devastated city is now overrun with the undead now able to cross into the city freely. If matters couldn’t be any worse, a voodoo serial killer is attacking soldiers sent to the city to aid in recovery. DJ is assigned a new partner, a gun-and-grenade-toting assassin.  DJ discovers quickly that lines of loyalty are easily blurred and she must rely on the most unlikely of allies to put an end to the killings and put an end to the supernatural devastation brought on by an equally devastating hurricane.

In this new urban fantasy series, the setting of New Orleans is simply outstanding, a city with a tremendous supernatural past. The author, a once long-time resident of New Orleans, pays a wonderful homage to the city. Jonson so expertly captures the overall feeling of the city, specifically after the devastation brought on by Hurricane Katrina.

The cast of characters is impressive as well. DJ is a young, naive, impulsive wizard. She is forced to quickly get over herself and mature into a dependable young wizard. Adding the character of her new partner, Alex the enforcer, also added a bit of sexual tension to the story. An undead pirate out for revenge and Louis Armstrong, risen from the dead, round out the eclectic character roster.

As this is the first in a new series, there are some issues that need to be fleshed out but I have full confidence in this author. Royal Street is a fun and entertaining new series. I already have the second book in the series, River Road, in hand. Highly recommended.

Frightful Friday: Dead Harvest by Chris Holm

Frightful Friday is a weekly meme in which I feature a particularly scary or chilling book that I’ve read that week. Feel free to grab the button & join in!

This week’s featured book is Dead Harvest by Chris Holm:

 

  • Mass Market Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Angry Robot (February 28, 2012)
  • ISBN-10: 085766218X
  • Source: Personal copy

Sam Thorton is a Collector…of lost souls. His job requires him to collect the souls of the damned in order to ensure their delivery to the proper destination.  His most recent target is Kate, a young woman believed to have slaughtered her entire family.  For the first time, Sam believes he’s been assigned to collect on an innocent person.  His refusal to follow through with this job begins a war of biblical proportions with a host of supernatural beings, including angels and demons. Sam is not only forced to evade the grasp of the local police, who believe he’s freed a murderous psychopath, but a second Collector sent to perform the task Sam was unable to complete.

I found it nearly impossible to believe that this is Holm’s debut novel. It is a perfect marriage between urban fantasy and crime fiction.  On first glance, one would assume that this sort of combination of genres would be impossible to perform without ending up with a hot mess, a literary “whoops.” Not in this case, a true testament to Holm’s skillful writing. Not a lengthy novel in the least, but it really packs a punch. This is a book that I guarantee you will read in one sitting, you will root for Sam, hoping that he is able to save Kate’s soul.

Alongside the main storyline, the reader also is rewarded with a glimpse into Sam’s history, the actions that put in place his role as a collector. Always a man just out to do what is best, he’s punished eternally for his actions. Because of this, his outward appearance is that of a real badass, but he truly has a soft & caring heart inside. I’m thrilled that this book isn’t the last we’ll read of Sam, for Holm has created a completely engaging and addictive character. I simply cannot wait for more. Highly, Highly recommended.

Oh! I’d be remiss not to mention the awesomeness that is the cover of this book! Don’t you just love the vintage look & feel? Ok, I digress. Still…go out and buy this book. You won’t regret it.