Author: Kristen Painter
Series: Crescent City, #1
Published: May 13th 2014
Lenght: 403 pages
Source: Publisher for review
Buy: The Book Depository
Augustine lives the perfect life in the Haven city of New Orleans. He rarely works a real job, spends most of his nights with a different human woman, and resides in a spectacular Garden District mansion paid for by retired movie star Olivia Goodwin, who has come to think of him as an adopted son, providing him room and board and whatever else he needs.But when Augustine returns home to find Olivia's been attacked by vampires, he knows his idyllic life has comes to an end. It's time for revenge—and to take up the mantle of the city's Guardian.
Those of us who are familiar with Kristen Painter House of Comarré series knew to expect great things from her new urban fantasy adventure. However, I don’t think any of us expected this level of improvement over her previous work. As good as House of Comarre was, the Crescent City series is urban fantasy at its best, a shining star that promises to be even brighter in future installments. The two series are even vaguely linked, but rest assured, once can be fully enjoyed and understood without the other.
House of the Rising Sun is mostly told from two points of view: those of Augustine Rabelais and Harlow Goodwin. Our connection with the two protagonists, Augustine especially, is instant and very strong. The prologue reveals a single scene from Augistine’s dreadful childhood which immediately causes us to develop protective feelings toward him, feelings that only strengthen once we discover what kind of man he’s become. The amount of strength and resolve he must have needed to outgrow such horrendous circumstances and become a charming, upstanding man is admiration worthy and quite staggering.
Harlow is a bit more difficult to understand and like, at least at first. While Augustine learned kindness from those who were kind to him – namely his benefactor Olivia Goodwin – Harlow had no such opportunities. The Harlow we meet is closed and self-centered, focused on her own needs and careless of other people’s feelings. She’s a bit spoiled and so afraid of everything, and she constantly hides behind her computer screen, preferring a life online to actual human contact. But as Harlow starts caring about those around her, our own affection for her grows stronger, and by the time we finish the story, she is just as dear to us as Augustine.
Augustine and Harlow are complete opposites in everything, but their attraction is undeniable. This being a real urban fantasy novel and not a paranormal romance disguised as one, the focus is primarily on the war between the fae and vampires, a war in which our Augustine, as fae Guardian of New Orleans, has a lead position. The romance, however, is a constant subtle presence in the background, and only Harlow’s reluctance to trust keeps things from progressing too fast. As it is, the slow burn of their feelings is a true delight and we’re left with so much to look forward to in future installments.
House of the Risings Sun is without question the best new urban fantasy I’ve come across in a very long time. I cannot recommend it highly enough.
A copy of this book was kindly provided by the publisher for review purposes. No considerations, monetary or otherwise, have influenced the opinions expressed in this review.