Book Review: City of Eternal Night by Kristen Painter

Posted March 23, 2015 by Kathy Davie in Book Reviews / 14 Comments

Book Review: City of Eternal Night by Kristen Painter

I received this book for free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

City of Eternal Night by Kristen Painter
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Published by Orbit on December 2, 2014
Pages: 436
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley

Also by this author: House of the Rising Sun, Garden of Dreams and Desires, Book Review: Miss Frost Solves a Cold Case, All Fired Up, "Prologue to The Vampire's Mail Order Bride", The Vampire's Mail Order Bride, The Werewolf Meets His Match, The Gargoyle Gets His Girl, The Professor Woos the Witch, The Vampire's Fake Fiancée, The Shifter Romances the Writer, "The Witch's Halloween Hero", The Dragon Finds Forever, The Vampire's Accidental Wife, The Reaper Rescues the Genie, The Detective Wins The Witch, The Vampire's Priceless Treasure, The Werewolf Dates the Deputy, "When Birdie Babysat Spider", Miss Frost Ices the Imp, Miss Frost Saves the Sandman, Miss Frost Cracks a Caper, "The Werewolf's Christmas Wish", The Vampire's Cursed Kiss

Second in the Crescent City urban fantasy series set in New Orleans and revolving around Augustine and Harlow.

This ARC was provided by NetGalley and Orbit in exchange for an honest review.

My Take

It’s scary thinking of a world in which an Internet connection is a luxury. Seems there was some kind of nasty war that has now made electricity and technology very expensive.

That Loudreux is such a jerk, doing everything he can to keep Augustine out and screw him over. You will absolutely adore Augie’s comment to Loudreux AND to, ahem, assorted councilmen about proper behavior at the ball, ROFLMAO. It’s amazing how frequently Augie has to remind that jerk that he does NOT answer to the Prime. That the Guardian is independent.

Oh, yeah, things are getting interesting. For Harlow anyway. Nekai is expressing an interest in her as well, and Harlow isn’t objecting. I do object to her keeping both Augie and Nekai on a string when it comes to the ball. That’s just rude and so junior high schoolish. Even more interesting is that gown in Olivia’s closet. I want one like that, one that magically fits once that zipper is pulled up. When Painter describes the gown, oh, mama, I really do want it.

Pay attention to Cylo’s geekiness and his ethos fae abilities, both will have a bearing later. I’m also wondering about Ian’s offer to tattoo Giselle. That he could increase her power with it. And how will that tattoo benefit him? I know what he says, but I wanna know what he’s planning.

Having the mother who cared for you for so long murdered will make you focus, and Augustine is very determined as the various supernatural leaders throughout New Orleans discover. They’re learning that Augustine is quite direct.

I want Giselle taken down. She is the last person I’d want to see in charge of anything. Augustine’s little plot to trick the truth out of her doesn’t help matters anyway. I’m sure Daddy wasn’t thrilled.

Augie is so amazing! He wants to claim Harlow as his so very badly, but he also understands (and tells Harlow) that he knows he doesn’t have the right. He sure doesn’t deserve what Ava Mae intends.

Wait until you read why Branzino wants that house so badly. Oh lord. Wait until you learn who Branzino’s ally really was in New Orleans. Holy cats. I’d’a never guessed.

I’m with Harlow. Her mother should have told her about her father. It does amaze me that Harlow can be that naive about Ava Mae. With her computer hacking experience, why doesn’t she wonder about a back door when it comes to what Ava Mae does? Her paranoia alone should have caused her to question her.

The Story

The city never sleeps and nor do the bad guys. Augie must split his time between enforcing fae law and teaching Harlow self-defense, for he doesn’t trust that her father will leave her alone. He’s also wrestling with the idea of how, when, to tell Harlow the truth about her mother.

Meanwhile, Harlow needs to find work. Word of her conviction has spread and her previous clients who hired her to do penetration testing are no longer interested. She also needs to learn more about the fae world. A lack that Nekai is more than willing to fill.

Death and more will threaten our friends, especially the kidnapping that goes awry with such horrible events as they struggle to find the victim.

The Characters

Harlow Goodwin, a computer geek who has discovered that her awesome computer skills are due to an affinity for metal from her raptor side, is the daughter of movie star (and haerbinger fae) Olivia Goodwin. Harlow also has a strong — and strongly unwanted — gift of psychometry. With Olivia’s “death” in House of the Rising Sun, 1, she and Augustine are co-owners of Olivia’s mansion in New Orleans. Ava Mae is the older twin sister whom Branzino murdered. Harlow has inherited her mother’s attorney, Lionel Cuthbridge.

Eulalie “Lally” Hughes is the housekeeper and was Livie’s best friend. We also learn how very old Lally is and why Olivia didn’t leave her the house.

Augustine Robelais, a shadeux/smokesinger fae, is the city’s fae Guardian. The Thrun is a fantabulous car that comes along with the job. Blu, Loudreux’s bodyguard, and Mortalis share a father with Augustine. Amery is a cousin.

Chyrsabelle is a comarré, a special breed of human bred for her blood; she’s married to Mal, a vampire (see the House of Comarré series).

The Guardian’s lieutenants
Cylo Greaves, an ethos fae, and Dulcinea (she’s a remnant, a mix of fae and varcolai or shifter) are two of Augustine’s lieutenants. Dreich, a wysper fae, had been Khell‘s cousin (he was the previous Guardian and also a wysper fae), one of his lieutenants, and a traitor. Beatrice, an ignus fae who is pregnant with a wysper fae and losing her voice, is the late Guardian’s widow. Augie asked her to be one of his lieutenants, and he’s let her live in the house that goes with the Guardian job with Dulcinea as a housemate to help her through her pregnancy. After all, he’s got half of Olivia’s house with Harlow to protect. Sydra is part saboteur fae.

The Elektos are…
…the governing fae body for New Orleans. Fenton Welch, a cypher fae, serves as the Elektos liaison to the Guardian. The Pelcrum, the Elektos’ headquarters, is in Lafayette Cemetery. Yanna (an ignus fae) and Salander Meer (saboteur fae) are some of the Elektos on Augie’s side.

Hugo Loudreux, a cypher fae, is the Prime, the head of the Elektos, and he hates and despises Augustine. Rue, his young daughter, is this year’s Faery Queen for the ball. The Guardian is required to be her escort for the event. Mimi Loudreux is his judgmental little wife and uses her husband’s position to get what she wants. Dr. Carlson is their doctor.

Nekai is a weaver who will ward the Goodwin house to help protect Harlow and Lally. And he’s very interested in Harlow.

Mardi Gras
The Exemplars are the oldest of the Mardi Gras krewes and they put on a fae-only ball every year to which the Guardian is supposed to get an automatic invitation. Arlis Moore is the mystery man who dances with Harlow and manipulates her into leaving the ball.

Detective Grantham has hit a dead end in investigating Khell’s and Dreich’s deaths.

Father Ogun is the leading voodoo practitioner in New Orleans. He’s very unhappy with Giselle’s carelessness.

Joseph Branzino is a raptor fae, a crime boss, and Harlow’s father, determined to pull Harlow into his influence and force her to sell him the house. He’ll go to any lengths to get what he wants.

The witches
Giselle Vincent, a witch who magnifies her power with crystals, and Zara, a green witch who uses her plants to magnify power, are the daughters of the coven leader in New Orleans. Both are descendants of Aurela La Voisin. Evander Vincent magnifies his power in antiques while their mother, Vivianna, practiced chaos magic. Cormier is her father’s butler. Aunt Geeta is the last person Giselle wants to take over as the leader of the coven.

Ian Dufrene, the owner of the House of Pain tattoo parlor, is the newest member of the council and completely in line with Giselle’s desires. Seems the pain of tattooing boosts his power.

A Life Management Device (LMD) is like an enhanced smartphone. Weaver fae are the best for setting up protective wards, but they limit themselves to very few spells. Their skin displays their spells, and once their skin is covered in these tattoo-like designs, they can no longer create new spells. An ethos fae can imitate anyone they’ve seen. Saboteur fae kill with a touch. Cyphers touch someone and see their passwords or codes. Raptors can read metal and feed on emotions; they can also send emotions back into a person. Shadeux fae can blend into the shadows. Smoke-singer fae can slip through solid objects. The Claustrum is a fae prison for the worst of the worst and is located on the fae plane.

Witches use objects to magnify their power. The Great Rite is sex magic.

The Cover and Title

The cover finds a serious-looking Harlow standing before the city skyline with a huge full moon casting its light over all. She’s dressed for the Exemplar Mardi Gras ball in her mother’s form-fitting dress of nature with leaves that cup her breasts and a full, gathered skirt of the same green with gold inset panels while Mardi Gras beads frame her.

I don’t know from whence the title comes. It could be the troubles that haunt New Orleans that make it the City of Eternal Night.

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14 responses to “Book Review: City of Eternal Night by Kristen Painter

    • I can understand why you’re waffling on this one. I love New Orleans and urban fantasy, but Harlow ticked me off. I loved Painter’s House of Comarré series and Augustine cracks me up, so I had to keep going. That intrigue about the witches…well, it pulled me in as well.

  1. I read the first book a while ago and saw potential, though I thought it was just okay. I’m glad this delivered on the potential! I’ll have to move it up my list – your review has me wondering about things that never crossed my mind before and now I’m curious!

    • Think about starting with her House of Comarré series, as it does provide some background information about Augustine that will help the first book in the Crescent City series make more sense. As I mentioned in an earlier comment, Painter’s stories are ones that stick to me. I think she’s good, and I do love the twist she puts on the supernatural!

  2. I’m really enjoying this series. I wasn’t a huge fan of book one because I didn’t like Harlow. In this book, I felt like she tried, but she does have a few stupid mistakes that she makes. Can’t wait to see how she grows in the next book.

    • I’ve enjoyed Painter’s books. Yeah, a few have been a bit, um, off. But her stories stick with me, memories of different scenes cropping up unexpectedly. That’s usually a sign for me of a good story, one that keeps coming up on my radar.

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