The City of Lost Fortunes by Bryan Camp
Crescent City #1
April 17, 2018
About the Book: 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.
The City of Lost Fortunes was a very strange read. I was only about a quarter into the book and felt sure I was going to discard it and read something else, but I felt myself being drawn back into the story though I wasn’t sure I even liked it. There was something about Jude Dubuisson I couldn’t let go of. To my surprise, in the end I found I’d liked it more than I’d expected to.
This isn’t an easy review to write. How do you write a positive review for a book when you can list the things that bothered you about the story, yet you can’t put your finger on what made you end up liking it so much anyway. So, regardless of what I say next, please remember I couldn’t stop reading even when I wanted to. There was something enthralling about the story.
My main criticism was it felt too much like a Dresden Files book. It wasn’t so much the characters, or the writing style, it was the tone. In fact, when I entertained putting down The City of Lost Fortunes it was because it made me want to read the next Dresden book. If I was going to be reading something reminiscent of Harry then I’d rather be actually reading about Harry! …or so I told myself anyway, I never ended up following through. Like I said, there was something addictive about this one, so I held on.
My second complaint was the abundance of words used to convey the atmosphere. I’ve never been a fan of authors using 10 words to get out what could be said in 5. I’ve read books far wordier than Bryan Camp was in The City of Lost Fortunes but it was another reason I debated setting this book aside. In fact, I think it was the main reason it took me so long to read this one. The long wordy paragraphs of descriptions made my ADD brain’s attention wander. I’ve got one of those ‘give it to me straight’ kind of brains, so I struggled.
I will say, I think the wordier descriptions about New Orleans helped to make the city feel like one of the characters in the book. I feel like I’ve really gotten to know the magic of New Orleans through Jude, and Camp did a fantastic job of making me believe Jude’s magic, and the magic of the Gods, could be real in our New Orleans. If I ever visit, I’ll be looking hard for Barrons suit and floral scull head, because it felt so real.
I guess that’s what really sold me on this book. The magic. The magic of the city, and the magic of the Gods. The City of Lost Fortunes took a lot of imagination, and that sparked something inside me. There was something wondrous about Bryan Camp’s version of the city, and his characters, and no matter what initially bothered me I’ll definitely be waiting for whatever happens in Crescent City next. I hear, from the author himself, the next book is about a special psychopomp and I can’t wait to find out out which one it’s about!
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Great review! My book club ladies and I are going to be reading this book in June, so I was excited to read your post and see what you thought about it. 🙂
That’s awesome!! I haven’t seen anyone talking about it, but as soon as I read that it was Urban Fantasy post Katrina I had to have it.
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I know the feeling, of having a list of reasons why you disliked a book but still you liked it anyway, even though you aren’t sure why. But I’m glad to hear you did enjoy this one! All the reviews I’ve read so far have talked about the great portrayal of New Orleans, and the magic sounds great!
The authors vision of New Orleans was amazing. I’ve never been there, but it’s so obvious how much he loves the city. He created an entire character out of New Orleans, and she’s a Goddess.