Author: Suzanne Johnson
Plot Type: UF
Ratings: V4; S2; H2
Publisher and Titles: Tor
Royal Street (4/2012)
"Christmas in Dogtown" (e-novella, 10/2012)
River Road (11/2012)
"Christmas in Dogtown" (e-novella, 10/2012)
Elysian Fields (8/2013)
BOOK 2: River Road
Things recently changed in a big way for the supernatural world when the Congress of Elders reached an agreement with the major preternatural groups and have opened the borders between the mortal world and the Beyond, allowing unrestricted movement between two realms for the first time ever. Now there are many more pretes mingling with the humans, and their motives are not always honest or peaceful.
The primary plot in this book focuses on a water pollution problem that was discovered by a merman colony in the bayous outside of New Orleans. Two merman clans accuse each other of the poisoning of the Mississippi that has brought illness to clan members. As part of their jobs as Sentinels of New Orleans, DJ and Alex meet with the clan leaders, who take them to the location of the bad water. Before they get there, however, they discover the badly mutilated body of a wizard on the bank of the Mississippi, and this becomes their priority case. The rest of the story follows DJ, Alex, and Jake (who has accepted a job as an Enforcer) as they follow the clues and solve both mysteries, with lots of physical and magical action and some incredible heartache along the way.
DJ's romantic situation is even more complicated than it was in book 1. She is lustfully attracted to three men: Alex, her shape-shifting macho partner; Jake, the newbie loup-garou who is having control problems; and—believe it or not—Jean Lafitte, the long-dead, lecherous pirate who is now living in New Orleans and is determined to seduce DJ. As DJ sums it up: "Life had been much simpler when I had no social life, plus my dates weren't exactly dinner-and-a-movie guys. One had serious control issues, one seemed to be changing the rules of our relationship and was almost scaring the crap out of me more than her werewolf cousin, and the third wasn't even alive in any normal sense of the word." (p. 235)
In book 1, DJ discovered that she has elven DNA in her family tree, and she found and began to use an elven staff that enhances her wizardly magic. In this book, she discovers that every time she uses the staff the Elven Synod (which is the elven equivalent of the Congress of Elders) is aware of it, and they are not happy that a wizard is using elven power. A mysterious new character (Quinn Randall) shows up in DJ's neighborhood about half-way through the book, and I'm betting that he has elven connections. We'll surely see this situation play out in the next book.
This is a solid series with likable, quirky characters who exist in an inventive mythos. The plot of this book has a few bumps and some illogical moments, but it also has great suspense and well-developed characters—both primary and secondary. Click HERE to read chapter 1.
As soon as Resa arrives home, she learns that her childhood friend, Chandler (Chan) Caillou, is back in town. Their families have been trying to get them together for years, but the two have not seen each other since high school and have never been a couple. Resa's mother tells her that Chandler has come back to take over as the "gator man" for the parish after his Cousin Mike died. Resa asks how Mike died, and her mother says, "Think he drowned. Did Mike Caillou drown?" she asks the room full of relatives. As one of the few inhabitants of this tiny village, how in the world could Mrs. Madere not know the cause of Mike's death? Just one more improbability! Needless to say, romantic feelings flare up between Resa and Chan, with the romance moving from "Hello" to HEA in just a day or two.
I won't go into the supernatural aspect of the novella, except to say that the mythology is extremely murky and there seems to be absolutely no purpose for the existence of the supernatural creature in question—it's just there. When she learns about "it," Resa says that she's always known about "it" in her heart, BUT... the story is told from her point of view, and she has never indicated by any thought, word, or action that she believes that Dogtown's legends are true. Although the story is set in the same New Orleans world as SENTINELS OF NEW ORLEANS, no characters from the series appear. Perhaps the author plans to use the characters from this novella somewhere in future SENTINELS books, but at this point, you're safe in saving your money.
In this world, most pretes live in the Beyond, a realm separate from mortal earth, where each group lives together in its own area—kind of like little supernatural villages. In New Orleans, some of the pretes live in Old Orleans, a realm between the mortal world and the Beyond. In order for a preternatural from the Beyond to enter the mortal world, he or she must be summoned by a wizard or cross through a transport (i.e., a portal). Some pretes are allowed to live in the mortal world, mostly werewolves and shape shifters (which are two very different creatures in this series). The series has one group of undead that is new and inventive—the historical dead. These are famous people who, although dead, are still hanging around hoping to get back to earth for one reason or another—people like Jean Lafitte and Marie Laveau, who want money and power, and Louis Armstrong, who just wants to keep making music in his favorite city. Also living in the Beyond are the gods of various cultures. The strength of their undead existence depends on how many people still remember and believe in them.