Succubus Blues by Richelle Mead

Grade: A

Let’s get the confession out of the way. I so did not want to read this book. In fact, I had no intention of reading it. Zilch. Nada. Nope. Wasn’t gonna do it. Richelle had asked me if I wanted an ARC and since I’ve never been able to say no to anyone, I said “sure,” and flung it on top of my mountainous TBR pile, ready to forget all about it. Why was I being so mean to this poor book I knew nothing about, you ask? I had just finished reading a succubus book and while I enjoyed it, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to read another one so soon. Besides, I was a little put off by the title. I thought it was going to be wacky and zany, something in the vein of Katie McAllister’s or Lynsay Sands’ books. And I’m not a big fan of wacky. Nor zany. I like ’em in tiny little doses. And I wasn’t exactly thrilled about reading about another demoness in-a-big-city who can’t decide if she should wear her Manolo Blahnik or her Jimmy Choos to her succubus-ing. I wasn’t thrilled with the cover chick looking like a strung-out Avril Lavigne, either (though I will confess to hearing “I’m With You” playing in my head over and over while reading this book). A paranormal chick-lit? *shudder* No. Just… no. I even kind of hoped Mead would forget she sent me this book so she wouldn’t expect a review. ‘Cause you can’t review something you didn’t read, Harriet Klausner! But then… magic happened. I was looking for something to read during my history class when I spotted this book on my TBR pile and thought, “Why the hell not. I’ll read a chapter and if it really sucks, I’ll set it on fire.” Even though I was immediately enchanted by Mead’s witty, light-hearted prose and engaging characters, I was still determined not to like this book (I didn’t want to encourage this new bandwagon, you know). And then it made me laugh out loud. My prof looked at me and said, “You find Nat Turner being executed funny?” I stammered something idiotic and prayed the ground would swallow me whole. As soon as I got home, I opened the book again. And my resolve began to weaken. I was laughing and lusting and getting mad at the appropriate spots and really, really liking the heroine, Georgie Kincaid. I totally lost the battle halfway through the book. DAMN IT.

The note that Mead had scrawled on the first page of the book says, “Bam, hope you’ll be gentle. If not, I just hope it’s a funny thrashing.” Dude, I’m always funny, even when I’m gushing praises. And I so did not want to gush praises because Mead won my February contest and now I’m reviewing her book and I so didn’t want this blog to turn into an I HEART RICHELLE MEAD blog. But it might, anyway. Damn it. So not cool. I consoled myself with the fact that I figured out who the villain was right away, so hah (just keep in mind that I’m frighteningly smart at times).

Note that I do this review with a heavy heart. Twas beauty what killed the beast and all that shit.

Georgina Georgiana Fuck it. Georgie Kincaid is a succubus in Seattle. That means she uses her demonic powers to seduce fine, upstanding men, have sex with them, suck out little bits of their soul, and thus, lead them off of the path of the righteous. Which is why she often has sex with scumbags. She answers to a demonic supervisor named Jerome, a John Cusack look-alike, who is indulgent of her, but also often annoyed by her antics and schemes. In short, she is the teacher’s pet in the guise of a troublemaker. By day, she works as an assistant manager at a popular bookstore called Emerald City. She loves her day job, loves the people, and luuuuurves books, especially ones written by an author named Seth Morgenstern. Their first encounter has Georgie babbling idiotically to him without realizing that it is him, but instead of dismissing her, he finds her refreshing and adorable (so do I). The two of them become friends even though Georgie wants to feel nothing for him because… well, she’s a succubus and they can’t exactly have a true relationship. Aside from that, Georgie has a pretty good life… until the people who piss her off begin to die one by one and Jerome and his (yummy) heterosexual eternity partner, Carter, start looking suspiciously at her. And the psycho starts leaving her love notes. But the ever intrepid Curious Georgie can’t seem to leave things just well enough alone and has to play Nancy frickin’ Drew even though she’s pissing off Jerome more and more. As if that’s not enough, everyone wants a piece of her. But that’s the life existence of a succubus for ya.

This is not a conventional romance with a standard HEA by any means. It’s a love story, all right, but one with many heroes. Fear not, romance readers. You’ll be charmed by every single one of them and will have a hard time choosing which over which, too. Me, I wanted them all. Behold, the list!

1. Seth Morgenstern – The Writer. He’s super-shy, kind of awkward, but very perceptive and sweet. Georgie doesn’t know how to feel about him at first ’cause he’s mad-introvert and a bit dismissive of her. Obviously he’s the one. DUH. I was kind of meh about him first, but near the end, he really came alive for me and convinced me he’s a strong contender for Georgie’s (and mine) affections.

2. Roman Smith – The Smoothie. This silky cat rescued Georgie from a sticky situation and is sexy enough to have our heroine constantly thinking about him (when she’s not thinking about Seth). He’s super persuasive, knows all the right things to say, has a repertoire of smooth moves, and has mad skillz when it comes to courting a woman. Mmm…

3. Carter – The Angel. No, really, he’s an angel. As in wings and the angelic countenance (though he dresses like a bum) and the flaming sword. Technically, he’s the enemy, but he’s also BFF with Jerome, Georgie’s boss. He’s always got something to say about Georgie’s clothes, love life, and everything about her, but is always very clever. I enjoyed each scene he was in, even when he was pestering our intrepid heroine, but especially when he was guarding her. He’s my favorite.

4. Jerome – The Demon Boss a.k.a The Pimp. He’s sulky, disapproving, and never seems to let up, but I’m intrigued over the Cusack thing. I love me some Cusack. I FUCKING HATE IT when authors compare their heroes to movie stars ’cause I think it’s lazy and distracting, but here it actually works. He’s got thecrets and sometimes he’s really scary, but he made me swoon in the scary scenes. I loved him with Carter. They’re like good-cop-bad-cop. But hilarious. Mmm… I want to be the piece of American cheese between those two slices of white (heh) bread.

5. Doug Sato – The Co-worker. He’s my Japanese-American brudda. Sidekick status. Too bad, so sad, homie.

6. Warren – The Sleazebag. He owns Emerald City Books, where Georgie works. He’s a smooth scumbag, but he’s still a scumbag who cheats on his wife and treats Georgie like a piece of meat. Georgie only sleeps with him because she needs someone to feed from. Still, their one sex scene together is the hotness. And dirty.

7. Erik, Peter, Cody, Hugh – The Scooby Gang and adoring fan club. You ain’t gettin’ a piece of Georgie. Sorry, gang. I did like Georgie’s sibling-like relationship with Cody, the young vampire, though. Adorable.

There is a distinct lack of females in this story. They are either a blink-and-you’ll-miss character or… you know, an evol bitch. It didn’t bother me—-hell, who wouldn’t want to star in a book of her own where all the boys chase after you and there are no other bitches to compete with for their affection—-but I did wish that Georgie had a female friend to confide in or just have a bitch-session with. It was interesting, however, that this only served to emphasize how lonely Georgie is. She has plenty of friends, but no one who truly gets gets her.

Like I’ve mentioned, Georgie is definitely the star of the show here. She’s a little neurotic, a little damaged, but is a survivor. She’s the kind of person who falls down, but gets up and keeps going no matter how much she’s hurting. She’s tough, yet vulnerable, and even though she’s a pretty formidable character on her own, I couldn’t help but feel bad for her. Because of one mistake in her past, she loses control of her life and is punished for it for all eternity. She is not necessarily happy with her existence as a soul-sucking succubus, but she doesn’t whine about it all the time, either. And if she does have a bit of a breakdown every now and then (she has a spectacular one during a nightclub scene), she deserves it because she has managed to keep it together for so long. I liked this girl and really felt for her. I appreciated that Mead doesn’t shy away from showing us the less savory aspect of Georgie’s succubus-ness. It’s not always apples-and-oranges for Georgie and she doesn’t always make the right decision. Sooooo happy she wasn’t Lil Miss Perfect.

As for the rest of the book, Mead’s prose is clean, though the numerous Georgie’s numerous flashbacks explaining why she is the way she is drove me a little nuts. They would pop right in the middle of Georgie talking to somebody and Mead sometimes struggles to pull it back to the present. It was a little confusing at times. Still, the dialogue is very snappy, the narrative voice (first person Georgie POV) is colorful and lively, and most scenes flow seamlessly into each other. The pacing is good—-Mead avoids info-dumping when she can—-and the character arcs were believable. The mythology was so-so (Lilith is the Mother of all Succubi and Georgie had a shitty life before she became a succubus, yeah-yeah-yeah) and Mead utilizes a Giles-like character to introduce the more intricate details of this world. Usually, I roll my eyes at such a tired plot device, but I did like Georgie’s relationship with the man, so I forgave it. As for the villain… I figured out its identity as soon as I came across this person—-and Mead tries to dissuade me from this notion by throwing a bunch of red herrings my way, but yo… I am straight-wily. I think I could be like… Sherlock Holmes if this writing thing doesn’t work out. She almost got me a couple of times—-kudos!—-but I remained steadfast and was rewarded for my efforts for being oh-so-right. The identity of the villain’s sidekick had me raising my eyebrow only because it was a, “oh, please” moment for me, but it didn’t detract from my enjoyment of the denouement.

In conclusion, I found myself amazed by this book of first-time author, Richelle Mead. It’s just so earnest, sincere, yet light-hearted and clever at the same time. Mead avoids the chick-lit trap by providing us with a lead female character that has layers, gumption, and substance. I also loved how gray this girl could be… by that I mean, her world isn’t strictly black-and-white or good-and-evil. She’s… conflicted, but not in a heavily boring way. I was also enamored by the characters with this book and the way they related with and spoke to each other. They’re all so likable. I want to scoop up all the men and eat them with a spoon and some chocolate syrup. Particularly Carter. God, I hope this book doesn’t turn into a Everybody Loves Georgie shag-a-thon. While I don’t mind that there are multiple potential love interests for Georgie (I changed my mind, I WANT JEROME!), I do hope these guys retain what makes them individuals and don’t merge into one creepy, Georgie-worshiping collective. I can’t even begin to tell you guys how much I enjoyed this debut from Richelle Mead and can’t wait for the next book in the series. Yo, Mead, you better send me an ARC!

If you guys are interested in this book (as well you should be), you can buy it here.

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13 thoughts on “Succubus Blues by Richelle Mead

  1. Caitlin

    Richelle is the bomb-diggity, yo. 'Succubus Blues' is great--of course I'm biased, since she lets me eat her food and watch Family Guy whenever I want, but it really IS a great read.

  2. Richelle Mead

    You had me at: Jerome and his heterosexual eternity partner, Carter. I'm SO using that in the third succubus book.

    Thanks, Bam! You can totally come eat my food and watch Family Guy too.

  3. Shiloh Walker

    I do hope these guys retain what makes them individuals and don’t merge into one creepy, Georgie-worshiping collective. oh man... lol. This one had me laughing.

    As to the book...I'm sold. I want it now.

  4. shuzluva

    It’s just so earnest, sincere, yet light-hearted and clever at the same time. Mead avoids the chick-lit trap by providing us with a lead female character that has layers, gumption, and substance.

    Now I know what you were talking about when you asked me if I'd read this book. You know I love me some strong, deep and intelligent female characters!

    I consoled myself with the fact that I figured out who the villain was right away, so hah (just keep in mind that I’m frighteningly smart at times).

    Not smart enought to realize that it's not published yet, so how could I read it??? However, I will be purchasing it on 2/27 from my local Borders!

  5. Jane

    Wow! An A. I confess to having not read this book yet either. I was going to read it next week so I could get up a timely review, but like you, I wasn't really thrilled about reading it. I think its just a matter of being paranormaled out. I spent my vacation reading 6 books, five of which were paranormals. I need to start branching out.

  6. Flo

    *twitch* damn you Bam! I already had my list of books for this month pre-ordered! NOW I have to go without my sweet sweet ramen noodles!

  7. Mrs G

    I didn't read a word of your review because I don't want to know ANYTHING about the book, even the synopsis, when I read it, so all I have to say is: You cow.

    Yeah, yeah, I'm just jealous you get to read the book. It's good, huh? My Amazon pre-order has yet to move and I'll receive the book by middle-March at the earliest. Can't wait.

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