The City of Lost Fortunes by Bryan Camp
Crescent City #1
April 17, 2018
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!