Review: River Road by Suzanne Johnson

River Road by Suzanne JohnsonFormat read: ebook provided by the author
Formats available: ebook, paperback, hardcover
Genre: Urban fantasy
Series: Sentinels of New Orleans, #2
Length: 334 pages
Publisher: Tor Books
Date Released: November 13, 2012
Purchasing Info: Author’s Website, Publisher’s Website, Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Book Depository

Hurricane Katrina is long gone, but the preternatural storm rages on in New Orleans. New species from the Beyond moved into Louisiana after the hurricane destroyed the borders between worlds, and it falls to wizard sentinel Drusilla Jaco and her partner, Alex Warin, to keep the preternaturals peaceful and the humans unaware. But a war is brewing between two clans of Cajun merpeople in Plaquemines Parish, and down in the swamp, DJ learns, there’s more stirring than angry mermen and the threat of a were-gator.

Wizards are dying, and something—or someone—from the Beyond is poisoning the waters of the mighty Mississippi, threatening the humans who live and work along the river. DJ and Alex must figure out what unearthly source is contaminating the water and who—or what—is killing the wizards. Is it a malcontented merman, the naughty nymph, or some other critter altogether? After all, DJ’s undead suitor, the pirate Jean Lafitte, knows his way around a body or two.

It’s anything but smooth sailing on the bayou as the Sentinels of New Orleans series continues.

My Review:

Three years post-Katrina, Drusilla Jaco’s life as the Sentinel of New Orleans has just continued to get more and more complicated.

The Elder Council has finally decided to let down the borders to the Beyond, and the denizens of Old Orleans are finally free to cross into New Orleans at will. Jean Lafitte has taken up residence in the Hotel Monteleone. The modern-day Hotel Monteleone. He wants DJ to make good on the promises she unwisely made in the wake of Katrina, back when she was exceedingly desperate and Lafitte looked like her only hope.

Lafitte wants her help with some business dealings he has with some mermen out in Plaquemines Parish. And to take her out on a date. She’s not sure which prospect worries her more, having any part of Lafitte’s business, dealing with mermen, or going out on a date with the handsome but historically undead pirate.

The business turns out to be delivery of a stolen car, the date takes her to Old Orleans where a member of the Elven Conclave tries to put some major mojo on her and nearly succeeds, and the mermen, that turns out to be the most dangerous part of all.

The mermen, who hate wizards individually and as a species in general, have discovered that someone is poisoning the swamp. Rival clans of mermen think they’re trying to drive each other out of prime fishing territory. Of course nothing DJ touches could ever possibly be that simple.

Someone nefarious is trying to poison the mermen and the humans with poison from the River Styx. That’s the kind of serious magic that could kill even more people than Katrina, if DJ doesn’t find the wizardly or preternatural culprit and stop them, fast!

Escape Rating A: Now that we know a bit about how this magical New Orleans and its environs work, it’s absolutely fantastic to see where Ms. Johnson takes her world.

River Road is a mystery wrapped inside an urban fantasy. DJ, along with Alex Warin and Lafitte, start out trying to solve a murder and the mystery of who is crazy enough to poison the swamps, as well as how they’re doing it.

Then things get more complicated. DJ is trying to find ways to keep the poison from spreading, figure out what it is, and find the poisoner, all at the same time. Meanwhile, she’s juggling the rest of her life.

Alex, Jake and Jean Lafitte are all interested, and practically fighting over who gets to mark her as territory. Their posturing is funny, since they don’t get to decide. DJ may have to zap one of them.

Elysian Fields by Suzanne JohnsonSpeaking of zapping, the history of her staff is starting to be revealed, setting up elements for book three, Elysian Fields. Also, her neighbor Eugenia is dating a mystery man who clearly has more story about him, hopefully also to be revealed in book three.

The Sentinels of New Orleans is still DJ’s story. She learns and develops new talents. She grows as a character. She kicks butt. The action happens because she makes it happen, not because she waits for someone to rescue her.

And sometimes she dates “the undead Pirate of the Carribean.” You go, girl!

River Road and Royal Street Tour

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