The City of Lost Fortunes: a book filled with goodness but…

The City of Lost Fortunes book review

What is this about?: Jude is invited to a card to play for his life with the gods of New Orleans… and then shit gets really weird because a god is murdered, and a game is being played.

What else is this about?: Family, about Jude coming into his own and accepting his past and his future.

Blurb

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.

Stars: 3/5

The City of Lost Fortunes is a book that revolves around Jude, a young man who is a finder of lost things. He can sense where these lost, physical, things and also, the chances and opportunities people have lost. But his power is so great, it has overwhelmed him since Katrina hit New Orleans. Now, he has retreated and doesn’t want his old life, filled with magic and friends who use magic. And when the books opens, it’s one of those friends that, Regal, that invites him to a card game where he finds himself playing for his fate against a circle of gods.

The good, the bad and the longwinded

New Orleans is as much a character as anyone else in this story, and the author fills the pages with evocative writing and descriptions of the city — after Katrina. And if that wasn’t enough, the card game I mentioned the other plays are all part of New Orleans in some way, like the Luck God of New Orleans. Who is promptly murdered.

That’s what drives the story — and Jude’s unwitting conscription into finding who murdered Dodge, which eventually becomes a journey to find himself, and to find his powers again.

This book is filled with fabulous worldbuilding, and characters and spectacular attention to detail.… eventually however, I got to the point where I just wanted a resolution — I just wanted a point. It felt like the author wasn’t quite sure if there was going to be another book in the series, and jam packed this with as much as possible.

The book was a wonderful read without a doubt, but I guess in the end pacing was an issue in an entirely unexpected way and I found myself wishing for an ending, instead of another turn in the narrative.

16 Comments

  • Maybe a bit too much going on but at least you mostly enjoyed it.

  • Ethan says:

    I’m pretty intrigued by the premise of this one. The setting seems to make it even more of a must read!

    • Verushka says:

      The premise and the setting were thoroughly well-written and compelling, I thought. The novel just needed to be streamlined.

  • Jen Mullen says:

    I like the idea of a “finder of lost things.” I do realize that the desire for an ending of all the twists and turns can be a problem, though. I’ve read a couple of books that I enjoyed recently that took too many turns!

    • Verushka says:

      The magic in this story is fascinating, nad the author makes some decisions that surprised me immensely but made for a good read. But there was a point I thought worldbuilding was beginning to take way too much predence over the main plot.

  • I have this book and I love books set in New Orleans. I’m worried now though about it being slow to get to a point. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

    • Verushka says:

      The setting and the worldbuilding were totally compelling, Barb, they seriously were. I just thought there was a point that the focus on the worldbuilding and magic-building were almost more important than the plot — like the author was determined to get his ideas out into the world in this book.

  • I love a New Orleans setting and when a place becomes a character itself. There are many reasons I would like to read this one based on your impressions of it. That’s too bad it didn’t come together sooner though.

    • Verushka says:

      Some bits needed to be *so* streamlined, but there was a ton of goodness too. It just got exhausting wading through everything but reaching the resolution of the plot.

  • Hmmm. This is one I was interested in but never got to, at least not yet, though I suppose I still might. I get what you mean, that feeling of wanting a resolution. Still sounds pretty interesting aside from that though.

    • Verushka says:

      It is incredibly interesting, but there are side journeys that didn’t need to be there, and delayed the main narrative for me. That said, it’s not that those parts were badly written, but it was *so* beginning to feel like they were scenes the author wanted in the book in case he never got a chance to do so in any other books. I know I’m weird — they’re well-written scenes, but I didn’t feel like they had a purpose in the main story.

  • That’s a bummer that it started to get so long-winded. I could see myself starting to skim at that point. Otherwise it sounds pretty interesting.

    • Verushka says:

      I did kind of skim some bits, I must admit. It’s good writing, good worldbuilding, but some bits just didn’t need to be there.

  • Kelly says:

    Such a shame Verushka, the premise sounds wonderful, even wonderfully written but the pacing off and a little too long winded. I can see why authors like to divert from the main narrative to build suspense but it rarely works. It makes the writing choppy and there’s a chance that readers will lose interest. Such a shame because this is one I probably would have really enjoyed. Wonderful review regardless, really enjoyed it ♡♡♡

    • Verushka says:

      It is a wonderful premise, and generally, the writing and the worldbuilding is genuinely so good… it’s just it could have been streamlined in so many places. Normally I would have minded the extra bits here and there, but it was getting to be too much — and I was going: tell me the endinggggg!

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