Book Review: Elysian Fields by Suzanne Johnson
Author: Suzanne Johnson
Series: Sentinels of New Orleans, book 3
Publisher: Tor Books
Source: From NetGalley
Buy it here: Amazon | Book Depository
For more information visit Suzanne Johnson’s website
Review by: Ronnie
Elysian Fields is the third book within Suzanne Johnson’s Sentinels of New Orleans series. This urban fantasy series has been gaining a lot of traction with the fantastic world building, fleshed out characters, and creative storylines. I’ve been looking forward to reading Elysian Fields for months since I finished River Road, however, I cannot remember the last time a book had me feeling so utterly conflicted and frustrated.
DJ is a Sentinel for New Orleans and has been tasked with tracking down an undead serial killer that is known as the Axeman of New Orleans.As the brutal attacks increase, DJ must find a way to stop him and try to avoid being one of his victims in the process. Besides having to evade the horrific killer, DJ’s best friend’s boyfriend, Quince Randolph, has started making less than subtle overtures toward DJ.
This aspect of the plot did not work for me at all. DJ already has enough men on her plate. Her surly former shapeshifting partner, Alex, his cousin, a loup-garou named Jake (though he’s not in contention, at least anymore) and the undead historical pirate, Jean Lafitte. The author did a fine job of bringing me around to accepting Alex in River Road, as I wasn’t a particular fan of his behavior in the first book. He’s pretty bossy, high-handed, and expects to get his way more often than not. They work towards some semblance of a relationship in this novel, only to have it blown to smithereens by the presence of Quince Randolph (or Rand as he keeps telling DJ). Part of Rand’s insistence on being with DJ does revolve around her elven ancestry, but I was so frustrated with her and Alex’s behavior, that the story felt like it took one step forward and two steps back. And it’s not like his involvement is portrayed as something for DJ and Alex to work past. It’s not. It’s a major plot point that had me throwing up my hands in disgust.
From the intricate and lush details of New Orleans, to the world of DJ and the Sentinels, the intriguing historical undead – the books have so much to offer. The pacing is quick, but she does a good job at leaving little details from the previous books so you’re not lost if you’re a new reader. Elysian Fields shines when it focuses on DJ hunting the Axeman and interacting with the undead pirate, Jean Lafitte.
I am of two minds on this book. When it came to how the plot focused around the Axeman and the necromancers, it was a more engaging read. When we got a glimpse of DJ’s personal life and the chaos that ensues with Alex, Rand, and Jake, I lost interest and became frustrated with addition of Rand competing for DJ. Her behavior borders on meek and vapid..and that’s just not the character that I’ve seen throughout the last two books. In this sense, it was really hard to rate. I did enjoy the book quite a bit, but some aspects just did not work for me at all.