Bryan Camp comes to the blog today with a unique twist on the post-Katrina New Orleans, combining myth, fantasy, reality and plenty of ‘what if’ , narrated by Korey Jackson, please read on for my review of
The City of Lost Fortunes
A post-Katrina speculative story that takes the story of Jude -born and raised in the city and a street magician, and his stepping into the ‘breach’ when the local magical authority needs his help after the devastation from Katrina. The story starts each chapter with a creation story or mythology that draws parallels from the present-day events to those myths: scenes and connections resonate through the chapters, adding a new perspective to view the old and the new. Writing is descriptive, perhaps too much description that, for me, felt far too much like a screenplay -where every moment and eye-line is directed and guided to evoke a specific image, leaving readers passive and not allowing a full engagement. While Camp’s writing is lovely, the overuse of words that, dare I say, feel purposeful only in directing the listener and reader to stay on a path that the author has set forward, not allowing the personal involvement in the story to bloom. There’s a fine line for me, between giving me description of place and time that allows my own experience to fill in the visual, and then going over the top and presenting a movie – and Camp danced over that line far too often, to the detriment of actually developing Jude’s character beyond his own rather “I was this, now I’m that” characterization that never actually felt different.
Narration for this story is provided by Korey Jackson who gave the words, moments and emotions their due, clearly presenting the story and characters in ways that made them easy to recognize and remember. A lovely tone presented the descriptions and gave a sense of moments of tension, introspection and action with equal skill, keeping the clarity and auditory interest in a plot that often was bogged down in set-up of space, place or history.
In short, Camp’s writing is intriguing and no one can actually say he can’t use words to their full effect, but there was a lack of focus on developing a character that ‘felt’ as if he was growing – his self-described growth was al tell and no show, in direct and glaring contrast to all of the descriptions that were used to set scenes and place. An editor who can curb Camp’s tendencies to ‘over-describe’ and ‘over-direct’ impressions of the story or place for readers should be the first concern – because the idea here was unique, and the parallels that brought myth and creation stories into the struggles in the present day New Orleans were lovely and often the best part of the story. The editor let him down in not pushing for more character development, a lighter hand with description and balancing the story arc to build to a climax and resolve in ways that felt more natural.
Stars: Overall: 3 Narration 4 Story 3
Title: The City of Lost Fortunes
Author: Bryan Camp
Series: Crescent City #1
Genre: Contemporary Fantasy, Fantasy / Magical Realism, Refugee Stories, Setting: American, Southern
Narrator: Korey Jackson
Published by: Houghton Miffllin/Harcourt, Recorded Books
Published on: 17 April, 2018
Source: Recorded Books
Audio Length: 14 Hours: 3 minutes
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The fate of New Orleans rests in the hands of a wayward grifter in this novel of gods, games, and monsters.
The post–Katrina New Orleans of The City of Lost Fortunes is a place haunted by its history and by the hurricane’s destruction, a place that is hoping to survive the rebuilding of its present long enough to ensure that it has a future. Street magician Jude Dubuisson is likewise burdened by his past and by the consequences of the storm, because he has a secret: the magical ability to find lost things, a gift passed down to him by the father he has never known—a father who just happens to be more than human.
Jude has been lying low since the storm, which caused so many things to be lost that it played havoc with his magic, and he is hiding from his own power, his divine former employer, and a debt owed to the Fortune god of New Orleans. But his six-year retirement ends abruptly when the Fortune god is murdered and Jude is drawn back into the world he tried so desperately to leave behind. A world full of magic, monsters, and miracles. A world where he must find out who is responsible for the Fortune god’s death, uncover the plot that threatens the city’s soul, and discover what his talent for lost things has always been trying to show him: what it means to be his father’s son.
A copy of this title was provided via Recorded Books for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.
Reading this book contributed to these challenges: