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.
Review: When I finished Royal Street, book one in the Sentinels of New Orleans series, I had to move right on to River Road. I was excited to see what was going to happen in this world that Ms Johnson created… and I wasn’t disappointed.
In Ms Johnson’s New Orleans, Hurricane Katrina lowered the barrier between our world and the Beyond, which is a supernatural dimension. Our heroine, DJ, is a wizard and her job as a sentinel is to watch the border and keeping the peace between the various paranormal species. In this tale, we’re introduce to mermen and nymphs when the waters around New Orleans starts making folks ill and DJ is called in to investigate.
River Road was a wild ride. Much time is spent in the swamps of Plaquermines Parish. Ms Johnson’s descriptions made me feel like I was right alongside DJ as she meets the mermen for the first time, stomps around the swamp, and finally solves the mystery. DJ pulls some interesting tricks out of her magic bag to help her along the way. I have to say, as a “green congress wizard”, she has to be pretty ingenious since she doesn’t have physical magic (ie shooting fire from her fingers). She came up with an odd assortment of potions and rituals that just let me wondering what was going to come next.
Add in the supporting cast… Alex, Jake and Jean are all back and vying for DJ’s affections. It kept DJ on her toes and had me laughing out loud at their antics. Throw in DJ’s human neighbor, Eugenie, a couple mermen (Rene and Robert) and Libby the nymph to complete the cast. With such a diverse group of people, I was ready for just about anything to happen… and it did.
In the end, I really enjoyed this book. It kept my interest and had me turning the pages. I loved DJ’s growth. In book one, she wasn’t ready for the job and sort of bungled her way through. But since this book takes place a couple years later, she’s learned and grown a little and it shows. She’s still not an expert at the job, and part of that has to do with her magical limitation, but she’s doing better. I am also excited to see where the whole Elven half of her heritage is going to go as that was explored briefly in this installment.
All in all, I do recommend this series to urban fantasy fans. And I can’t wait to see what comes next.