Book Review: Suzanne Johnson’s Belle Chasse

Posted December 6, 2016 by Kathy Davie in Book Reviews

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

Book Review: Suzanne Johnson’s Belle ChasseBelle Chasse by Suzanne Johnson
This urban fantasy is a hardcover edition was published by Tor Books on November 8, 2016 and has 336 pages.

Explore it on Goodreads or Amazon.

four-stars

Other books by this author include Pirate's Alley

Fifth in the Sentinels of New Orleans urban fantasy series and revolving around DJ Jaco, a rogue wizard.

My Take

Most of the story is DJ rabbiting around half-cocked while Eugenie and Christof are developing…a relationship. There’s plenty of low-key humor, but there is a thinness to the story as Johnson skips like a stone over the waters without creating any real depth.

My really big problem with Belle Chasse is that nothing really happens. It feels like a fill-in. Oh, DJ and Jake are still on the run from that idiot, Zrakovi. Battles are escalating. There is the usual banter back and forth with Rand and his arrogant selfish nastiness. The encounters with Zrakovi that make me want to wash my hands. With carbolic.

Those run-ins are scary when we see what a bit of power can do to a person. The lengths to which he’ll go to preserve it. Then there’s Rand. Oh, boy. He’s not as bad as Zrakovi, but he is more terrifying in his threats.

I have a hard time buying in to how awful it is for DJ and crew to be “trapped” in Old Barataria, they’re always slipping “across the border” to go shopping, etc.

What it boils down to is…I’m glad to have read it, so I know what’s going on. But it’s not a book I’d buy.

The Story

With the wizard-elven treaty on the verge of collapse, the preternatural world stands on the brink of war. 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.

The Characters

Drusilla “DJ” Jaco, called Jolie by Jean, is a Green Congress wizard, the sentinel of New Orleans, bonded to Rand, in love with Alex, and in hiding with Jean as his consort. Mahout, a.k.a., Charlie, is the fire elven stick that now belongs to DJ. Lennox St. Simon, a Red Congress wizard, is DJ’s uncle who now represents the UK and European Union on the Congress of Elders. His daughter, Audrey, is DJ’s cousin. DJ’s grandmother is still hoping DJ will see the light.

Eugenie Dupre is a full human and DJ’s best friend. Her pregnant-by-an-elf best friend who is also in hiding. Violette is Eugenie’s sister married to Matt; they have six-year-old twin daughters, Amanda and Amelie.

Rene Delachaise is a merman and one of DJ’s most trusted friends. His father, Toussaint, is the merfolk representative on the Council. Jack McGarrity is an off-duty NOPD cop.

The Beyond is…

…another plane of existence that lies alongside our own where Vampyre, Faerie, Old Barataria, Elfheim, and some lesser territories are located.

Old Barataria is…
…where Maison Rouge, Lafitte’s home, is located. Captain Jean Lafitte is an undead man, the notorious pirate who saved New Orleans in 1814. He’s also the Interspecies Council representative for the historical undead. Dominique You and Pierre Lafitte are his brothers with little love for DJ.

Jake Warin, a former Marine along with Ken, is Alex’s cousin who pledged himself to Jean. Leyla used to manage Jake’s bar, the Green Gator. Collette is also a loup-garou, and she and Jake are in beautiful love. Adrian Hoffman, a Blue Congress wizard, is now a vampire, sold out by his father. It didn’t help that Adrian had fallen in love with Terri Ford, a vampire assistant to Regent Etienne Boulard. Ken Hachette is a human NOPD detective who only recently learned about the supernaturals. He and Alex are also with the Division of Domestic Terror (DDT), a top-secret preternatural crime unit connected to the FBI.

Old Orleans is…
…where many of the historical undead live. Louis Armstrong is helping out, off camera, so to speak, usually playing at Beyond and Back.

Elfheim is…
…the home of the elves. Quince “Rand” Randolph is DJ’s bondmate, on the Council, the father of Eugenie’s baby, and the leader of the Elven Synod. Betony Stoneman, a.k.a., Fred Flintstone, is the chief of the earth clan.

The fae are…
…ruled by Queen Sabine who lives in the Royal Tower. Her heirs are her nephews, the brothers Christof and Florian. The war finds the fae divided between Christof, Prince of Winter, who wields blizzards and cold through The Arch power and is Jean’s new best friend. His brother, Florian, Prince of Summer blasts out with heat and rain and wields The Academy power. Tamara is their sister. Mick is a fae-bear who runs the Tower Tavern, a neutral zone in Faery. The combination of fae-animal, Hybrids, is a result of The Asylum magic.

Vampyre is…
…the land of the vampires currently ruled by the Vice-Regent Garrett Melnick.

The Congress of Elders…

…are the wizards who rule the supernatural community. Alex Warin, canine shapeshifter, had been their Enforcer and is now the Interspecies Council representative.

The Interspecies Council is…
…a new organization that is meant to incorporate all the supernaturals.

The North American wizards are…
…led by the deteriorating, petty First Elder Willem Zrakovi. Elder Sato is one of Zrakovi’s friends and supporters. The Red Congress wizards do physical magic — the flashy stuff. Green Congress wizards are “the geeks of the magical world”, using potions and rituals. Yellow Congress specializes in mental magic. Blue Congress is the magic of creation and re-creation. Sentinels are wizards in charge of cities or regions and keep an eye on the boundary between the Beyond and our world, the Now. Mitchell is Blue Congress. Wolfie, Dack, and Carl are loup-garou working for the wizards.

Ittoqqortoormiit is a remote wizard outpost in Greenland specifically for the incarceration of whacked-out wizards. Transports are portals to move between Now and Beyond. Hurricane Katrina opened the veil between the Beyond and Now.

The dead are piling up
Gerald St. Simon had been her father. Tish had been another friend. Robert had been Rene’s twin brother. Mace Banyan had been the head of the Elven Synod. Etienne Boulard had been Jean’s friend before he betrayed him. Geoffrey Hoffman was the First Elder. Vervain had been Rand’s mother.

The Cover and Title

The cover is a soft red violet of haze and light framed in the props from the krewe floats with a jean-and-tight-top-clad DJ at the bottom of the cover, looking up at the unexpected guards, as she races forward, her blonde hair flying, Charlie in her left hand. The title, series information, author’s name, and recommendation are in white.

The title is what everyone in the story is doing, having un Belle Chasse.

four-stars

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