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The City of Lost Fortunes by Bryan Camp

8/10 The story is rich with characters and has a fantasy landscape that intertwines with that of New Orleans

The City of Lost Fortunes is set in New Orleans six years after Hurricane Katrina. In New Orleans, the gods still dwell among mortals and demigods are still being created. New Orleans is a great setting for this world, as although the city is still dealing with the aftermath of Katrina, it is also a city rebuilding itself and its identity.

Jude is a demigod, he doesn’t know which god was his father and he doesn’t seem to care too much. Jude’s mother is a mortal sorceress and Jude grew up with the gift of being able to find lost things as well as an uncanny aptitude for magic. After Katrina, Jude walked away from his old life and became hermit-like as his powers grew out of control, and he was inundated with information on anything that was lost whether he was trying to focus on it or not.

After quickly being introduced to Jude and his abilities, we meet Regal, Jude’s old partner who has been tasked to find Jude and give him an invitation from Fortune, the luck god of New Orleans to meet that night. Jude and Regal’s relationship is interesting as they banter with each other, but there also seems to be a lot of hurt feelings there too. From this meeting we are thrown into a world of gods and monsters, all playing a high stakes game (of poker) all looking to change the fate of New Orleans.

When Jude enters the game, he has no concept of the rules or what he could win or lose. All Jude knows is that he is out of his depth. The City of Lost Fortunes is a quest for self-discovery, as Jude remembers who he was and who he is yet to be. I liked the character of Jude, he is described as being charming, but he is also mean and vindictive, which is everything you would expect from a demigod. It isn’t that Jude has had an easy life, it is just that he has been able to move through the difficult bits more easily than most.

Jude’s New Orleans is full of colourful characters, some of them mortal, but most of them are deities. I like the range of gods we meet from Fortune to Papa Legba, there are also other immortals in this city, such as vampires and Angels. New Orleans is a city running on many different beliefs and can be seen as a melting pot of ideas. Jude gets to learn what it means to be a god and understand the dual nature or godhood, where everyone is trying to change with the times or become static and unnecessary.

The City of Lost Fortunes is a great start to a new series with a protagonist that you feel you should be annoyed with but at the same time, you want to see where his decisions will take him next. The story is rich with characters and has a fantasy landscape that intertwines with that of New Orleans. There are moments that are nerve-wracking and you wonder how the characters are going to survive. Camp has written many twists into this book but never loses sight of the main story. I am looking forward to reading the next book in this series to see what else could happen in New Orleans.

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