In Johnson’s Belle Chasse The Good Times are Not So Roullez-ing


belle-chasse-coverSentinels of New Orleans #5
By Suzanne Johnson
Hardcover: 336 pages
E-reader: Print Length: 334 pages
Publisher: Tor Books (November 8, 2016)


I voluntarily reviewed an advance readers copy of this book. No remuneration was exchanged and all opinions presented herein are my own except as noted.




Suzanne Johnson’s “strong and intriguing” (Publishers Weekly) urban fantasy series continues with Belle Chasse. The Sentinels of New Orleans series has earned starred reviews from Library Journal (“a resourceful heroine who relies on her magical ingenuity”) and PW (“vivid…a lively tale jam-packed with action, magic, and intriguing plot twists”).
With the wizard-elven treaty on the verge of collapse, the preternatural world stands on the brink of war. Unless former wizard sentinel DJ Jaco manages to keep the elven leader, Quince Randolph, focused on peace and not personal matters.
With no one on the throne, Faerie is in chaos, with rival princes battling for power. The still-undead pirate, Jean Lafitte, is building his own army of misfits, and DJ―stripped of her job and hiding in the Beyond to avoid the death sentence handed down by the wizard Council of Elders―can’t get anywhere near her beloved New Orleans or her significant something-or-other, Alex.
It’s time to choose sides. Friends will become enemies, enemies will become allies, and not everyone will survive. DJ and her friends will learn a hard lesson: sometimes, even the ultimate sacrifice isn’t enough.


My Take Oblong Shaped

It’s rare that I can sit down and get absorbed reading a book on vacation, but this one pulled me right in through a plane ride, Miami, and on a cruise.

This is a great story but not a good place to begin the series.  There’s a lot of backstory, taxonomy and assorted supernatural creatures you need to know for the experience to be really good.

As an experienced writer and editor, Suzanne writes very well and her word choices and command of the language are outstanding.  Language skills may not be “in fashion” these days but when you see something written by someone who knows what they’re doing it it great.  I would say the grammar and such stand out, but that would be the opposite of what I intend; it’s poor grammar and wording that stand out.

Other areas where Suzanne excels are plotting and continuity. I can rarely find anything off in her work. This is something else that only stands out when it is wrong.

In this story, DJ is being pursued, attacked and persecuted on all sides.  The first is in the magical battle and political power struggle going on in her world. The struggle also affects her on a personal level as her romantic and non-romantic relationships have become confusing. Yup, if you throw mind-melding and magical bonding into a relationship it can really screw it up.
Then she is being romantically pursued by at least two others: her former co-worker, now boyfriend Alex, and the undead pirate Jean Lafitte. This is a bit like the Stephanie/Ranger/Morelli love triangle in the Stephanie Plum series by Janet Evanovich.  There’s much less funny about it though. 

Poor DJ needs a break – as does New Orleans!

Tragedy is also here in spades. You need hankies for this one. That’s why the good times are not rolling too much.  There is a lot of action: fights, politics, war, mayhem and unseasonal weather.

In any event, this feels like a bridge to the next book.  Many story lines have been tied up, and only a couple created.   I enjoyed this aspect of the series, but it feels like Suzanne is getting it together to finish up the series.

If you are a series fan then it’s a must. The series itself is great, and seems to reflect strongly the love Suzanne has for New Orleans and her sadness in what happened because of Hurrican Karina.  So if you haven’t started it put it on your TBR!

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