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Review: House of the Rising Sun by Kristen Painter

Monday, December 15, 2014

House of the Rising Sun
Kristen Painter

Series: Crescent City #1
Genre: Urban Fantasy, Crime
Paperback: 403 Pages
Publication: May 13, 2014
by Orbit Books

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 has a compelling plotline. Those of you who have followed this blog regularly know that I've been getting into urban fantasy this year, and I was prepared to be taken for a thrilling ride with this one. While the novel wasn't quite the thrill I hoped it would be, the story definitely had me hooked with the intrigue surrounding the sudden population of vampires, not to mention the different subplots relating to different characters.

I especially like how the story is focused on Augustine, a male character. It's different from most UF books I read, and I liked him pretty well despite the awkward start. (Meeting him in a hotel the morning after... not a great start for me.) As I got to know him, I really grew to sympathize with Augustine. He's a kind boy who had to grow up too fast because of his differences. His abilities are pretty neat as well, and I enjoyed seeing how he makes use of them on the battlefield. The addition of Harlow's narrative was a surprise. I hadn't expected her presence as the synopsis only mentions Augustine. Honestly, I really didn't like her for much of the novel and still don't particularly like her. Family is really important to me, and the way she treats her mother (the sweet Olivia) made me so mad. To give her credit thought, she grows somewhat over the course of the novel.

I found the world very compelling and wish there was more world building. For the most part, I felt like I was reading for the plot when so much could have been done to really bring the world to life. I would have also loved to see more character development. So many of the characters are going through trying times with all the deaths and ruckus going on. I would have loved to see more of the characters' growth over the story.

Overall, House of the Rising Sun is a solid novel. While there is definitely room for the story to grow over the course of the series, it has a unique plot and characters with compelling backstories. If you're looking for a good, but not fantastic UF crime novel, I would recommend picking this one up for a different kind of UF read.

** I'm writing this review a several months after I read the book, so my memory isn't the best **

An ARC was provided by Orbit Books for review

Rating: 2.5 stars

  1. House of the Rising Sun
  2. City of Eternal Night

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6 comments on "Review: House of the Rising Sun by Kristen Painter"
  1. This book was my first experience with Painter's writing, and I did enjoy it, but the story had a few major issues that left me on the fence about continuing this series, namely Harlow. She was super bratty! I recently reviewed book 2, and her character grew quite a bit which was great to see, however she made a couple of really dumb decisions that left me questioning her intelligence. I'm still torn.

    Carmel @ Rabid Reads

    1. Ahhh!!! It's great that Harlow's character grows in book two, but it doesn't sound like I'm going to like her much better afterwards. I don't think I'll be picking it up anytime soon :(


  2. Hmm, sometimes first books can be rough case in point the Kate Daniels story, so I tend to be more lenient and will hold off to see if book two delivers, since we have all seen the opposite where it all falls apart further. Great review, I am intrigued but not read to step into the world yet.

    1. I agree. I'll be waiting to see how future installments deliver before deciding whether to continue this series.

  3. Glad to hear that there were things to enjoy even if some of the things weren't up to expectations


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