Belle Chasse by Suzanne Johnson

Blurb

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.

*I received a free copy of this book from a book promoter in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.*

Belle Chasse is the fifth book in the Sentinels of New Orleans series.

Published by TOR Books, released on November 8, 2016.

Number of pages: 336
Word Count: approx. 93,000

I expected Christof to start a snowstorm above Rand’s head. What I didn’t expect was for the prince to lower his head and charge Rand like a raging bull, head-butting him in the midsection. They hit the ground, and I saw my chance at the same time Eugenie spotted me.
I motioned her toward the woods where the transport lay. To hell with the Blue Congress wizards. We were going to make a run for it while Christof kept Rand too busy to notice.
She set off for the woods, and I met her halfway. “My family thinks I’m crazy!” she wailed, loud enough to draw the attention of the tall, skinny Blue Congress wizard with the rooster haircut.
“Hey, stop!”
Holy crap. I whipped out the elven staff, paused long enough to aim just to the right of the wizards. They already had their hands up and were doing some of their nifty Blue Congress magic when I released my fire and blew up the tombstone next to them, sending a rain of marble and playing cards onto their heads. Around us, evidence of their magic appeared as tombstones began moving to block our escape route.
I grabbed Eugenie’s arm and pulled her around a marble stag the size of a small SUV. It had lowered its head and pawed the ground as if to charge. Blue Congress magic was so damned cool— create and re-create.
“Stop, DJ!” Eugenie grabbed my arm as I tried to race past her. “A sinkhole!”
I looked stupidly at the ground in front of us, which had opened a gulf big enough to drive a Greyhound bus into. “Go around and run fast,” I shouted, sending another shot of the staff toward the Blue Congress wizards and blowing up a ginormous marble eagle perched atop a nearby tomb.
We didn’t stop to see if the stag was chasing us, but ran for all we were worth. Finally, at the edge of the tree line, I hazarded a look back at Christof and Rand. The faery stood watching us; the elf had crumpled on the ground. Not dead, though, because in my head, far behind my protective barriers, I heard him yelling my name.
Christof grinned and motioned for us to move along. He didn’t have to motion twice, because the wizards were chasing us, still chanting and doing their finger dance. The stag was getting way too close.
I raised the staff and blew a hole in the earth in front of the advancing stag, forcing him to change direction. Luck was on our side for a change— the stag began charging toward the wizards instead, who had to stop pursuing us in order to protect themselves from being trampled beneath marble hooves.
“Let’s run to the transport before those idiot wizards can get out from under the stag.” I grabbed Eugenie’s hand and we ran to the clearing. “Help me roll this werewolf out of the transport.”
To her credit, she didn’t ask a single question. We tipped the werewolf onto his side and rolled him outside the interlocking circle and triangle, leaving him at an awkward angle with his
feet in the air. Oh well.
I touched the staff to the edge of the transport and said, “Winter Palace, Faery” just before the Blue Congress wizards reached the edge of the clearing. I waved at them as the transport sucked the air out of my lungs. They were too late.
As soon as we materialized on the round floor of ice in the Winter Palace, Eugenie screamed. I figured she was getting her first look at the grisly remains of Faerie Princess Tamara until a blinding light knocked me off my feet and a big crack appeared in the ice between us.
“Where is my brother?”
I whirled to see Florian sitting on a block of ice behind us bundled in a heavy coat, a blanket spread beneath him, no doubt to protect his royal assets from getting cold and wet.
“He’s in Shreveport, Louisiana, at Our Lady of Perpetual Help church, having a fi stfi ght with an elf,” I said, pretty confident that of all the things he might expect me to say, that wasn’t it.

Suzanne Johnson proved to me once again why she is one of my favorite urban fantasy authors! I loved Belle Chasse.

The book continues the story of D.J., a wizard who has gotten herself into a sticky situation with both her fellow wizards and the elves. In Belle Chasse, D.J. has to figure out how to protect her pregnant friend Eugenie from those who would like to see her out of the picture once her half-elf child is born. They are so desperate to get their hands on Eugenie, they (there’s a mystery here, so I don’t want to say who “they” is) go after her family.

D.J. also has to figure out what to do about the sentence the Council has given her that has forced her into hiding. There’s a lot more to this story; I don’t want to give too much away. You’ll have to read it yourself. I strongly recommend Belle Chasse and all of the other books in the Sentinels of New Orleans series. However, they need to be read in order because Belle Chasse doesn’t work well as a standalone. The author gave enough backstory, but it doesn’t have a big climax. The reader should be prepared to read the next book in the series to see what happens with D.J. and all her friends.

I love D.J. as a heroine. She is a little insecure, but she always does what needs to be done to protect her friends and herself. I also love Jean, the historically undead pirate who helps D.J. hide at his home in the Beyond. He’s sexy, mischievous, and totally dedicated to D.J.. Her lover, Alex, doesn’t hold a candle to Jean, in my opinion. He doesn’t understand her the way Jean does. Also, Alex isn’t willing to sacrifice his job for D.J. or for what’s right. He’s too much of a stick in the mud. Alex wasn’t in this book much, and I was okay with that because I like Jean much better. Of course, that’s just my opinion.

I give Belle Chasse five stars. It’s fast-paced and has a good mixture of emotion and action. I’m looking forward to reading more books in the future by Suzanne Johnson.

Suzanne Johnson is the author of the award-winning Sentinels of New Orleans urban fantasy series but perhaps is best known for her romantic suspense and paranormal romance books written as Susannah Sandlin, including the Penton Vampire Legacy paranormal romance series, the Wilds of the Bayou suspense series, and The Collectors romantic thriller series. Her awards include two Holt Medallions in 2013 and 2015, a 2015 Booksellers Best Award in romantic suspense, and nominations in 2014 and 2015 for the RT Book Reviews Reviewers Choice Award. A displaced New Orleanian, she currently lives in Auburn, Alabama. Suzanne loves SEC football, fried gator on a stick, all things Cajun, and redneck reality TV.

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