Reading level: Adult
Trade paperback: 360 pages
Genre: Urban fantasy
Release date: November 13, 2012
Series: Sentinel of New Orleans #2
Source: Review copy from Bewitching Book Tours
Reviewed by: Jenn
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.
Three year have passed since the events in ROYAL STREET (which I talked about a little while ago) but some things remain the same. New Orleans hasn't fully recovered from Katrina, though things are better than they were. DJ and Alex are still co-sentinels, policing the prete (as in "preternatural") world. They've developed a good working relationship but their attraction simmers underneath it all, though they haven't acted on it *too much* because of their friendship and work relationship. Jean Lafitte, the dead pirate who likes to visit from the Beyond, is still very interested in DJ and she often finds herself drawn to him despite her better judgment. Jake, Alex's cousin who went loup garou in the last book, is also still around but he and DJ haven't seen each other since the events in ROYAL STREET.
Something that has changed: the scope of the series. Suzanne Johnson really expands DJ's world with RIVER ROAD, as we venture further afield from New Orleans and meet new species of pretes: merpeople and nymphs! It's an exciting development because we're seeing more of the physical world and because we're seeing DJ grow as a person and a sentinel. In ROYAL STREET, she had a lot to adjust to but now, in RIVER ROAD, she's a bit more confident, even when the problem goes from being just a dispute between two families of merpeople to something with a greater scope. DJ and Alex also have to solve the murder of two Green Congress wizards that are discovered early on in their work with the merpeople, so the investigative and problem-solving aspects of the book are on full display.
Of course, DJ also has to grapple with the three men in her life. Jake is no longer human so dating him comes with a new set of rules, Jean Lafitte is interested and has some redeeming qualities, to DJ's dismay, and Alex is, well, Alex. He's attractive and capable and off-limits, which makes some of his behaviour confusing. It just breaks my heart, her being desired by these three interesting characters. ;)
Also in play in RIVER ROAD is DJ's elven heritage. She learned about it in ROYAL STREET and she's still learning how to use her abilities, particularly the wooden staff she's named Charlie. There are some very interesting developments, including a character who enters later in the book that will remain nameless in this post (and of whom I am very suspicious). I hope this is something that Suzanne Johnson will explore in future books in the series because I'm very curious about elves and the Elven Synod.
RIVER ROAD is a strong sequel to ROYAL STREET sure to please existing fans and win new ones. Suzanne Johnson takes us on quite an adventure and has me eagerly anticipating ELYSIAN FIELDS, due out in August.