PJV Quickie: I have not had the chance to read Kristen Painter before HOUSE OF THE RISING SUN. I was told I must though, so I gave in (such a chore!) and was not disappointed. Painter packed a punch with her great world building and her intense plot. The world was rich, the characters were very three dimensional and she created a setting that was believable. I can’t wait to read on in the series. There were some discrepancies in plot threads and the heroine was not so likeable, but the book was a must read in my opinion. Now I have to go back and read Painter’s first series!
Review: Painter’s world in HOUSE OF THE RISING SUN is a sort of futuristic setting that has the benefit of the inclusion of paranormal creatures. Faes have been introduced to the world along with shape-shifter, vampires and witches. Within this world Haven cities have become popular, these are cities where Fae are protected by Guardians and are free to roam without danger. New Orleans is one of those cities and we become quite familiar with a few particular fae that call New Orleans home, the first being Augustine. Augustine is a mixed fae who is brow-beaten by his mother from a very early age until she finally kicks him to the streets. Luckily he is adopted by a part-Fae movie star Olivia, who saves him and makes him into the great man he is.
Harlow is the second character in the series, she is Olivia’s daughter and returns to New Orleans because she is facing criminal charges and needs money to pay for her crimes. She hasn’t spoken to her mother for a long time because her mother refuses to divulge her father’s name. When Harlow returns she is set to enjoy her last days of freedom and hopefully talk her mom into helping her out, even though she doubts she’ll get any assistance from the mother she has ignored.
During the time both Faes are in the city, vampires descend and cause chaos in the streets of New Orleans, no one knows who let them in and why they are doing this. But, their actions hit close to home for both Harlow and Augustine and their lives will never be the same.
My thoughts ranged on this book. I enjoyed the book, but I did notice some glaring plot points that didn’t add up. I also wasn’t a fan of Harlow. She was a spoiled brat and I didn’t like her reactions and thought the other characters reactions to her were forced. If anyone acted like Harlow in real life, other people’s reactions to her would be very negative – instead of them trying to help her. I’ll set the scene. Harlow returns to New Orleans and the first things she does, after basically ignoring her mother for a few years, is ask for money. When her mother does finally help her, Harlow’s first reaction is to tear everything down, take the money and run. She basically tells the people closest to her mother to go, she states that she is taking what she can and getting back to Boston. She insults the culture of New Orleans, insults her mother, insults her mother’s friends and then acts moody and stand-offish the entire time. Her character eventually does grow, once she finally is faced with her father, but to me that is a little too late and a character with such glaring personality issues couldn’t possibly have a come to Jesus moment jut from realizing her mother was right from the start. Another issue that is a little wonky – why didn’t Olivia just tell her daughter…”your father is Pure Evil!” It might have cut through a lot of drama.
Augustine on the other hand was a hero. He was perfect. Strong, capable, a little vulnerable, funny and just a great character. You could tell he was a well-established character in her other series. I just don’t’t see him falling for Harlow, which seems to be the direction of the series. Come on Augustine, you can do so much better.
The mystery behind the story was great, but Painter did leave us hanging with a lot of threads not tied up at the end. Which I wasn’t too fond of, but will accept since it will hopefully be rectified later in the series. I know one task was completed, but the main reasoning behind the vampires in the city were not and there were numerous bad guys still out there plotting – so that is a bummer. I wanted to see the loose ends tied up.
Finally, I did notice some timeline issues. Painter never spoke ages, but Augustine and Harlow I assumed were near in age – so when did Harlow leave her mom if her mom adopted Augustine at 14ish? Was Harlow an older woman? I was confused. Why didn’t Harlow really know about Augustine if he had been with Olivia so long?
That just irked me, through the whole story. The final culmination of events also took me by surprise. The characters took the time to visit lawyers, watch movies, but the finale was wrapped up very easily, with little fan-fair. Seemed rushed and I turned the final page expecting to read more…but found Acknowledgements. That is always a jolt. But, it was satisfying to some degree.
Overall though, I highly recommend this title and hope for a bit more awesome from Kristen Painter. This series should rock. Even though it was futuristic, she still captured the feel of New Orleans and you can tell she’s spent many visits here embracing our culture. Nice, Kristen, that was awesome. I wish we had Faes for real here.
Lolly. She was the best and her Mint Julips, I just want to give them a try. The scene where she fixed Harlow Mint Julips was wonderful.
Recommendations: Adult novel but nothing to watch out for, the violence is mild, language is clean and there is only talk of sexy-time and no actual nookie, this is not a romance, even though their is a hint that the series will focus on a Romance between Harlow and Augustine. Recommended for Karen Marie Moning, Sherrilyn Kenyon and Kresley Cole fans.