Review: House of The Rising Sun by Kristen Painter

Title: House of The Rising Sun (Crescent City #1)
Publication: May 13, 2014 by Orbit
Reviewed by: Isalys
Rating:  4 Stars
Reason for Reviewing:  ARC provided in exchange for an honest review.
Augustine lives the perfect life in the Haven city of New Orleans. He rarely works a real job, spends most of his nights with a different human woman, and resides in a spectacular Garden District mansion paid for by retired movie star Olivia Goodwin, who has come to think of him as an adopted son, providing him room and board and whatever else he needs.

But when Augustine returns home to find Olivia's been attacked by vampires, he knows his idyllic life has comes to an end. It's time for revenge—and to take up the mantle of the city's Guardian.

House of The Rising Sun is a spin-off off Kristen Painter's exciting Urban Fantasy series, House of Comarré.  In this series, we get to know previously introduced characters better as we follow their adventures in 'Nawlins'.

If you're familiar with House of Comarré then you already know that Augustine is Mortalis' half-brother, which also makes him part-shadeux and part-smokesinger fae.  He's returned home to New Orleans after having fled for helping Chrysabelle (our heroine in House of Comarré) enter Claustrum (a fae realm that non-fae are not allowed to visit).  He's just getting settled when he learns that a vampire infestation has taken over the city and killed someone he deeply cared about.  This turn of events forces him to become the new Guardian, a job he really did not want.  As Guardian, he's now responsible for the welfare of all New Orleans' citizens, human and supernaturals alike.

Meanwhile, our current heroine Harlow Goodwin is in deep herself.  She faces some pretty hefty charges for cyber crimes that she thinks she was set up for.  She has no choice but to return to New Orleans to face her estranged mother in the hopes that maybe she can help her get out of this jam.

Harlow's relationship with her mother, Olivia Goodwin is complicated at best.  Harlow never knew her father and she can't understand why her mother refuses to share anything about him with her.  What she really doesn't know is that Olivia kept those secrets for very good reason.

Harlow and Augustine's paths cross when they learn that Olivia was a sort-of adopted mother to Augustine.  This in turn raises some even more complicated feelings [toward Augustine], in addition to the attraction that she's hellbent on fighting.

As a fan of House of Comarré, I was really excited about diving back into the world that Kristen Painter created.  My thoughts and feelings about this book varied quite a bit though.  There were some details that I had issue with, starting with the cover.  Artistically, it's beautiful.  Actually, all of Painter's covers are breathtaking.  However, in this book, I really felt that Augustine's voice was the strongest.  It's his path that affects the plot and storyline most so I think he should have been featured on the cover instead, or at least as well.

One of Kristen Painter's trademark writing techniques is the inclusion of many points of view.  I was very pleased that in this title, we really just focused on Augustine & Harlow.  Speaking of...  Augustine is a delight.  A quintessential hero.  He is so incredibly well-rounded.  He's kind and charming, strong and capable, brave and a little reckless, but smart and just a touch vulnerable.  On the other hand, Harlow has a lot of growing up to do.  I wanted to like her and in some ways I did, but she was bratty and petulant at times.  I would get frustrated at her and her mother's lack of communication.  They could have saved themselves a world of drama if they were just honest with each other.  The good news that as secrets are revealed and villains are brought to light, she begins to understand that it's there's more at stake than her own hurt feelings.  By the end of the story, I could already see an improvement in her and I look forward to seeing her develop even more :)

While we're being honest, I was confused about the timeline.  Augustine and Harlow are relatively close in age, if Augie has been with Olivia since he was 14 (because, if I can be perfectly frank, his mother was a bitch) then why is Harlow just now discovering that her own mother had been raising him all this time?  Has she been on her own since she was a kid?

On a positive note, the mystery behind the plot was very well done and will keep you on the hook.  Kristen Painter has a knack for creating interesting plots that are not boring or easy to figure out, yet not convoluted either.  There were still a few loose ends but that's okay because we have book 2, City of Eternal Night to look forward to.

I also really loved the setting.  I've never been to New Orleans, something I must rectify pronto, but I can clearly see it through Painter's eyes.  {Painter painted a a helluva picture! HA}  Seriously though, I love the passion with which she so obviously writes.  The juxtaposition of NOLA's old world charm with the youthful, party vibe lends it a charm that is hard to resist.

Overall, I remain a true blue fan of Kristen Painter's work and recommend this to any fans of good Urban Fantasy.  Although, if I may, I suggest starting with her House of Comarré series since it really lays the groundwork for her awesome world-building.



  1. Great review, a great book to read too.

  2. Thanks for hosting :) It looks great!!! V""V

  3. Great review, very informative! I might like this book, I've liked other books by the same author.


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