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Royal Street (Sentinels of New Orleans Series #1)

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

3 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

new urban fantasy with New Orleans as the backdrop

The tale takes place against the backdrop of New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina. Johnson beautifully captures New Orleans, some of its most famous citizens and creates a fresh new fantasy world. While this first novel deals a lot with establishing this new world, I fo...
The tale takes place against the backdrop of New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina. Johnson beautifully captures New Orleans, some of its most famous citizens and creates a fresh new fantasy world. While this first novel deals a lot with establishing this new world, I found the tale and the characters to be delightful. This tale contains wizards, assassins, Fae, elves, vampires, shape-shifters and more. With Kim Harrison’s series the Hollows winding down, I am excited about this new series. The protagonist is twenty-five year-old Drusilla Jane Jaco.( DJ for short.) She is a junior wizard and empathy. She is employed as the deputy sentinel in New Orleans. Gerald St. Simon has been her mentor and father-figure since the age of seven. DJ is a Green Congress wizard who specializes in rituals and spells. She is eager to learn more and take on more responsibilities. She gets her first chance when Gerald asks her to send pirate Jean Lafitte back to the other realm after he was summoned. Jean Lafitte offers DJ a deal, one she refuses. After trapping him she sends him back to the Otherworld. As he leaves he swears revenge. When warnings start coming in of a hurricane bearing down on New Orleans, Gerry orders DJ to head out of town to her grandmother’s in Alabama. Gerry stays behind to watch the borders of the Beyond. When fluctuating barometric pressure happens during a hurricane, it opens doors that keep the Pretes (supernatural beings) in their world. Left unchecked they would begin crossing over and causing problems for the humans who reside in New Orleans. Reluctantly she agrees, but when Gerald ends up missing, she is ordered back to New Orleans. DJ returns home, to find her home spared and Jean Lafitte in her home seeking revenge. Without time to invoke a spell, DJ has to use her wits to save herself, and just when it looks like she might have the upper hand, Alex an enforcer for the Elders rushes in like Rambo and shoots Lafitte, sending him back to the Otherworld. She learns she is now the Sentinel for New Orleans and the Elders have sent Alex to assist her. DJ’s main concern is finding Gerry and GI Alex is not about to stop her. The tale that unfolds is actions packed, as DJ and Alex search for Gerry and try to stop a killer using voodoo. The characters in this novel are interesting and unique. I easily connected with DJ. She is bright, feisty and determined. The thoughts that pop into her head were a riot and reminded me of a younger Charley from Darynda Jones fantastic Charley Davidson series. I cannot thank Johnson enough for creating a heroine who isn’t winey and doesn’t need a man to make it all better. DJ is not a tough in this novel. In fact she spends almost the entire novel in various shades of black and blue. Johnson hints of DJ’s untapped powers and we learn some unique things about her that have me excited to watch this young protagonist grow into a warrior. Combine that with her ability to piece things together, negotiate with those in the Otherworld and think outside the box, DJ has the potential to be one of my favorite heroines. Alex is a likeable guy and while his FBI training can make him act like a neanderthal, he respects DJ and listens to her. We learn a little about his history, but I have a feeling there is more. His buddy Jake owns a bar called Gators and is ex-military. Watching the two of them try and stake a claim on DJ was delightful. Jean Lafitte is a giant flirt and a true pirate. I

posted by kimba88 on March 11, 2012

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Most Helpful Critical Review

6 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

Didn't excite me

I never fully connected with this book. It just didn't excite me. Drusilla is a Green Congress wizard living in New Orleans when Hurricane Katrina hits. She leaves the city before the hurricane hits, but her mentor Gerry sticks around. At first, the two remain in touch,...
I never fully connected with this book. It just didn't excite me. Drusilla is a Green Congress wizard living in New Orleans when Hurricane Katrina hits. She leaves the city before the hurricane hits, but her mentor Gerry sticks around. At first, the two remain in touch, and Gerry appears to be fine. But then Gerry disappears. The wizard Elders demand that Drusilla return to New Orleans, locate Gerry, and address the crack in the divide between the Beyond and the real world. To help her, they send Alex, an enforcer whom Drusilla finds to be very sexy. What I loved about the book was seeing the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina through Drusilla's eyes. It's clear to me that the author did a lot of research on this topic, and it showed. After having read this book, I actually feel a bit more educated about the hurricane. So kudos to the author for that. I also loved the idea of "historical undead." These are undead people who remain alive in the Beyond (and sometimes manage to sneak their way into the real world) because their memories are still alive in the real world. The historical undead who made appearances included the pirate Jean Lafitte, musician Louis Armstrong, and voodoo practitioner Marie Laveau. It was cool to see these people brought to life with personalities and weaved into the story. Unfortunately, there was little else that I found to be special about this book. Drusilla was your usual, feisty heroine. She didn't completely understand her powers. And although her powers were cool enough, I was annoyed that Drusilla figured them out later than I did. Actually, Drusilla figured out everything later than I did, and there were times when I wanted to shout at her through the pages of the book. I also did not like the love triangle. There was Alex, and there was his cousin Jake. Drusilla was attracted to both of them, but her feeling toward both men came across as being superficial. She was immediately attracted to both despite having any deep connection to either. In contrast, I got the impression that both men had real, growing feeling for her, and I found her attitude toward them to be fickle and selfish. I understand this is the first book in a series. While I will add the next book to my to-read list, I'm in no big hurry to read it.

posted by Brewsters_Bookshelf on April 24, 2012

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  • Posted March 11, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    new urban fantasy with New Orleans as the backdrop

    The tale takes place against the backdrop of New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina. Johnson beautifully captures New Orleans, some of its most famous citizens and creates a fresh new fantasy world. While this first novel deals a lot with establishing this new world, I found the tale and the characters to be delightful. This tale contains wizards, assassins, Fae, elves, vampires, shape-shifters and more. With Kim Harrison’s series the Hollows winding down, I am excited about this new series. The protagonist is twenty-five year-old Drusilla Jane Jaco.( DJ for short.) She is a junior wizard and empathy. She is employed as the deputy sentinel in New Orleans. Gerald St. Simon has been her mentor and father-figure since the age of seven. DJ is a Green Congress wizard who specializes in rituals and spells. She is eager to learn more and take on more responsibilities. She gets her first chance when Gerald asks her to send pirate Jean Lafitte back to the other realm after he was summoned. Jean Lafitte offers DJ a deal, one she refuses. After trapping him she sends him back to the Otherworld. As he leaves he swears revenge. When warnings start coming in of a hurricane bearing down on New Orleans, Gerry orders DJ to head out of town to her grandmother’s in Alabama. Gerry stays behind to watch the borders of the Beyond. When fluctuating barometric pressure happens during a hurricane, it opens doors that keep the Pretes (supernatural beings) in their world. Left unchecked they would begin crossing over and causing problems for the humans who reside in New Orleans. Reluctantly she agrees, but when Gerald ends up missing, she is ordered back to New Orleans. DJ returns home, to find her home spared and Jean Lafitte in her home seeking revenge. Without time to invoke a spell, DJ has to use her wits to save herself, and just when it looks like she might have the upper hand, Alex an enforcer for the Elders rushes in like Rambo and shoots Lafitte, sending him back to the Otherworld. She learns she is now the Sentinel for New Orleans and the Elders have sent Alex to assist her. DJ’s main concern is finding Gerry and GI Alex is not about to stop her. The tale that unfolds is actions packed, as DJ and Alex search for Gerry and try to stop a killer using voodoo. The characters in this novel are interesting and unique. I easily connected with DJ. She is bright, feisty and determined. The thoughts that pop into her head were a riot and reminded me of a younger Charley from Darynda Jones fantastic Charley Davidson series. I cannot thank Johnson enough for creating a heroine who isn’t winey and doesn’t need a man to make it all better. DJ is not a tough in this novel. In fact she spends almost the entire novel in various shades of black and blue. Johnson hints of DJ’s untapped powers and we learn some unique things about her that have me excited to watch this young protagonist grow into a warrior. Combine that with her ability to piece things together, negotiate with those in the Otherworld and think outside the box, DJ has the potential to be one of my favorite heroines. Alex is a likeable guy and while his FBI training can make him act like a neanderthal, he respects DJ and listens to her. We learn a little about his history, but I have a feeling there is more. His buddy Jake owns a bar called Gators and is ex-military. Watching the two of them try and stake a claim on DJ was delightful. Jean Lafitte is a giant flirt and a true pirate. I

    3 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted April 11, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Royal Street is the beginning to a new paranormal series that sh

    Royal Street is the beginning to a new paranormal series that shouldn’t be missed. It’s not heavy on the romance, which is just the way I like it. It has tension and just enough of it, but steers away from the urban fantasies that are saturated with it. Some may feel that New Orleans is the usual location for stories such as this, but it just makes sense, and it’s my hometown, so when it is done right I will never turn my nose up at it. And Royal Street did New Orleans justice. The fact that it takes place before, during, and after Katrina and uses the event as the reason for everything that’s going down is pure genius on Johnson’s part.

    I’m not sure who my favorite character is, because there are a lot of great choices. DJ is the strong female lead that you shouldn’t screw with, but you might not realize that from looking at her. She isn’t the typical lead with supernatural strength, her strength is all in her intentions. Once she has her mind set on something, she takes care of it. Her new partner and his cousin are both swoon worthy and each have their moments that had me rooting for either one of them to steal DJ’s heart. The most interesting character is definitely the pirate, Jean Lafitte, he’s undead, bad, and good(ish), all at the same time, and he is always entertaining. I can’t wait to see what happens next in the series!

    Reviewed by Jessica for Book Sake.

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 2, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    Book One of The Sentinels of New Orleans introduces us to DJ¿s w

    Book One of The Sentinels of New Orleans introduces us to DJ’s world and lays a firm foundation for future books to be built upon.

    The author’s love for New Orleans is apparent.  I think she takes an event that holds horrible memories for many people (Hurricane Katrina) and handles it with finesse and respect. She does a terrific job of blending fantasy, history, and the paranormal into a believable world of magic.

    I enjoyed the different variety of characters that we meet in book one (vampires, ghosts, fae, shifters, wizards, gods, and more). DJ is a great narrator and character. She is a tad bit on the impulsive side but I feel like she is someone that I would like in real life. She is down to earth and seems to have a good sense of right and wrong. I’m looking forward to seeing her grow as a character.

    I would say that the book moved along at a moderate pace. There is a mystery, suspense, and a light introduction to romance and the possibility of a love triangle, which I personally hope doesn’t play out.

    I enjoyed Royal Street and plan to continue reading the Sentinels of New Orleans series. I think Royal Street lays a firm foundation for future books.  The world building is well established, the struggle has been identified, love interests have sparked, and DJ’s character is obviously in for a lot of growth . I have a feeling that the books will only get better as we move forward and I’m looking forward to reading book 2, River Road, this month.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 17, 2013

    Good will keep your interest Good read.

    The story will keep you reading. Could of had more something. Just sort of left me flat on emotional level.

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  • Posted July 31, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    Royal Street is the first book in the Sentinels of New Orleans s

    Royal Street is the first book in the Sentinels of New Orleans series by Suzanne Johnson. Knowing it was the first book in the series, I went into it expecting a lot of world building and the introduction of a lot of characters. I think that Johnson did a really good job handling these two chores. There was never a time where I felt overwhelmed by too much detail, or confused by the large addition of characters. Plus, Johnson added in real life details about Hurricane Katrina (the book is set in New Orleans at the time that Katrina hit), which added to the authenticity and depth of the world she was building. I really liked that part of the book. I felt like there were probably some subtle details and descriptions that I didn't pick up on because I am not all that familiar with New Orleans, but I definitely appreciated all of the layers that were incorporated into the story.

    The two main characters of Drusilla (DJ) and Alex were pretty solid. DJ is a junior sentinel wizard that helps her mentor Gerry police the New Orleans district when there is a breach between the Beyond and this world. Basically, when preternatural species find a way to cross the barrier from their world to the human world, DJ and Gerry go out and send them back to where they came from. When Katrina hits, the barrier is weakened exponentially and all kinds of fun characters make an appearance. DJ has fled the city to wait out the hurricane while Gerry stayed behind to keep an eye on things. However, Gerry goes missing, and weird voodoo graffiti tags start popping up around New Orleans along with several dead bodies that are killed in the manner of a voodoo sacrifice. Now that Gerry is MIA, DJ has to step up and take the place as Sentinel of New Orleans, and find out what is going on. The Congress of Elders send her an enforcer named Alex to be her partner and help her find out what happened to Gerry, and to help her reinforce breaches in the barrier. However, things get serious real quick when DJ discovers that Gerry is alive in the Beyond and is somehow involved with the voodoo god Baron Samedi in his plot to breach the barrier once and for all so that all preternaturals can cross back and forth into the human world at their own free will. (view spoiler) The question is, was Gerry forced to help Samedi, or is he up to his ears in the evil plan of his own volition? Along the way there are other twists and turns that are revealed that keep the plot line going in several different directions.

    I really enjoyed this story and all of the different layers of scheming and mayhem that were going on. I also liked the idea of the Historical Undead - historical figures that don't really die until everyone in the human world forgets about them. For instance, the pirate Jean Lafitte, who has a big "following" in the New Orleans area is able to cross the boundary between the Beyond and walk in the human world at will (as long as there is a weak spot to cross). Louis Armstrong and Marie Laveau also make appearances in the story. And you also have the usual assortments of wizards, vampires, werewolves and shapeshifters that are hanging around.

    DJ was a strong female character. Strong in that she was very headstrong and stubborn, and pretty much did whatever she wanted to, whenever she wanted to. I wish that she had a little bit more magic to back up her attitude. She is a Green Congress wizard that draws most of her power from potions and herbs instead of from purely physical magic like Red Congress wizards. In short, she is pretty much the weenie of the wizard world. More of a defensive player instead of an offensive player. However, I really hope that the discover of the Elven staff and bloodline will lead to more developments in this area in future books.

    Overall, my only complaint about the book was that I wanted more of a romance to develop between Alex and DJ. The quasi love triangle that was set up between Alex and Jake and DJ didn't really work for me, because there wasn't enough development between anybody to warrant jealousy or real emotions. I think towards the end of this book some progress was made in the romantic department, and I really hope that continues in book two. What can I say, I'm a sucker for a romance story (and a hot shapeshifter!)

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 26, 2013

    Good story teller

    This is not really a traditioal romance. The lovers don't buy a house and have 2.5 kids at the end. Don't expect that. It is very similar in romance style to Kenyon's Fever series and Douglas's Midnight Louie series. Lots of relationship conflict very little resolution. It is more about the plot and "Mars vs Venus". The creativity and development of plot is excellent. The author uses flashes of humor and witty dialoge berween the genders to lighten the conflicts the characters experience which are quite well done; from a female stand point. They keep the plot from becoming to depressing to be put on a reread list. She is a good story teller. This could become a really great series as long as the good guys get to be happy with the win at the end every once in a while. Life is depressing enough. I don't buy a fantasy novel for a rerun of the 5 o'clock news. I buy it for a better ending to the 5 o'clock news. Otherwise I would just watch the news and save on my book budget. The ending is the reason for only 4 stars. While the parnormal is really fresh and the book is well written the conflicts just felt like circles. I found it frustrating. Not the way I like to end my downtime reading. With that one cavot I do recomend this book. It is good for a new series with lots of potential for later books. This author has depth to her writing. Its a great read for book buddy discussions if you like that sort of thing.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 16, 2012

    Suzanne Johnson is one author I'm putting on my "Keeper&qu


    Suzanne Johnson is one author I'm putting on my "Keeper" list.


    Disclaimer: I have the pleasure of knowing Suzanne Johnson, but she did not ask me review or read this book. I did so on my own. Drusilla Jaco (D.J.) is a wizard, her job is to help protect her beloved New Orleans from supernatural critters that sneak in from beyond. But hurricane Katrina hits, changing everything she knows. Now she's in search of her mentor and boss Gerald (Gerry) St. Simon, who's dissapeared, trying to pick up the pieces after the storm.
    To complicate matters, D.J. has to deal with a vengeful but sexy supernatural--Jean Lafitte, an unwanted overbearing enforcer sent to assist her--Alex, and his charming cousin Jake. To top it off she's learning that there is more to her magic than even she thought.
    As she tries to figure out who are friends and enemies she finds herself in the middle of one big mess and not enough junk food to get her through.
    I loved the world Suzanne created, she's got varying groups of wizards (Red Congress - physical magic, Green Congress--Ritual and spell work etc). Then there are those in the beyond--fae, elves, vampires, and all sorts of things-- Which totally has me enthralled!
    Best of all are her characters--I like D.J., she's smart, and human. The whole situation scares and threatens to overwhelm her. She's got a lot to learn and is forced to make some terrible decisions. Not to mention she's attracted to--three guys.
    Now the men in her life--vary. Alex is an enforcer sent the Congress of Elders to help her after Katrina, now that Gerry her mentor is missing. His motto: more fire power (I like this guy). He's tough and he's determined (and makes me laugh)
    Jake is Alex's cousin, he's one tough guy. A former marine, he's seen his share of woe. He owns a bar that comes in handy. He's got great dimples and is impossible to hide anything from, but in pinch he's a good one on your side.
    Jean Lafitte---an undead pirate from beyond. All he wants is to come back, start living again, (even if its outside the law) and he'll do just about anything to do this. He's also damn sexy and has a thing for D.J.
    The best part is the author weaves the dynamic of the three men into the story seamlessly, without overwhelming the plot and the overall purpose of the story. It adds interest and complication. By the time I was done, I wasn't sure if I was in Alex's camp, Jake's, or Jean Lafitte's. All of them had qualities I loved---although I was leaning toward Jake if you must know (the dimples), seconded by Jean Lafitte. Nothing against Alex, he's over the top, but I'm with D.J. the man tried to get her to eat soy bacon--ug. (Ok pathetic of me to even use that as a strike! LOL)
    Negatives--initially, I felt D.J. wandered a bit, but it had to be this way--we had to feel her sense of helplessness, confusion, and what the heck was she going to do next. I'm looking forward to her learning more about her abilities! (So I'm contradictory about my negative, I realize this.)
    Still, this is a fun read and I'm going to move on to the next in the series, because now I have to see what happens....

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 25, 2012

    Could be a great series

    I loved almost everything about this book and I felt like I was actually seeing and smelling NOLA in the horrible aftermath of Katrina. I loved the story and the supernatural/urban fantasy characters and happenings in the story. My only complaint--is it too much to ask for a heroine who doesn't stumble around and make stupid decisions? I love strong and savvy heroines. I was so frustrated at times by the stupid actions of DJ that I felt jolted out of the storyline. I would have to stop, get calmed down and then start reading again. As a woman it is offensive to me to see other women in stories make choices or decisions that I nor any one of my female peers would never make. Even the way DJ handles her relationships with Alex and Jake is irritating. It takes away from an otherwise great urban fantasy. I really want to love this series so I hope that by the next book DJ has had the stupid slapped off so she can be worthy of being treated like a mature wizard as she so longs to be. That would be awesome and be worth a 5+ star review! It is worth the time and money to read if you can get past that.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 19, 2012

    Set in New Orleans in the days preceding Hurricane Katrina, and

    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 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, 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 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, & 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,& 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, & sexy as heck. Better yet, he's not DJ's partner. The chemistry between DJ/Alex & DJ/Jake was perfect. 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 & 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 & 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.


    Favorite Quote:

    " ' 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)

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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