The entertaining Crescent City series takes a fun turn in Kristen Painter’s second installment, City of Eternal Night. With the colorful setting of New Orleans, we dive head first into the thrilling adventures of Harlow and Augustine. Romance and action are balanced with intrigue to create a nice light read.
Mardi Gras approaches, bringing with it hordes of tourists eager to see the real-life Faery Queen holding court atop her festival float. When the Queen is kidnapped, it’s up to Augustine, the fae-blooded Guardian of the city, to rescue her before time runs out.
But Augustine’s mystifying protégée, Harlow, complicates the task by unintentionally aiding the forces of evil, drawing danger closer with each step. The Queen might not be the first to die…
I have mixed feelings over Kristen Painter’s heavy romance urban fantasies. As many of you know, I like my action to far outweigh the amount of romance in a novel and City of Eternal Night crosses my comfort level in romance. There were many time I rolled my eyes at what I consider to be over fanciful lovey dovey stuff and I question why the romance is so predictable. That being said, Painter has created such a fascinating world that I keep reading her books. I can’t stress how rare this is for me and it is a strong testament to Painter’s storytelling.
The characters of Harlow and Augustine evolve quite a bit over the course of the story. While I wish Harlow were a different kind of person- having more fun and not settling down for one, I find her entirely realistic. It’s as if my grievances are like talking to a friend who I know won’t change despite how much I wish they were more like me. As the leads evolve, so does my favorite character Lally. We get to learn much more about this mysterious elderly housekeeper and her devotion. This was a true highlight for me and one which had me at the edge of my seat.
Painter has really done wonders with her use of magic in her stories. The different factions of witches and fae each have distinct types and methods of power. This creates a layer of depth which is unexpected. Traditions are expertly handled. We see the mix of people who want to uphold them and others who want to change them all through the lens of an outsider to fae society. This couldn’t be more evident than in the mystical Fae Masquerade. Painter creates a magical scene which pulls the reader right into the action.
There is certain predictability to how the plot progresses but the execution makes the whole journey worthwhile. I won’t share any spoilers, but the cliffhanger has me anxiously waiting for the next installment. City of Eternal Night and the entire Crescent City series may just be the book to win over anti-romantics like me. For those who adore urban fantasy, this is a definite must read.