by Richelle Mead
Series: Georgina Kincaid, #1
Released on: February 27th, 2007
Published by: Kensington
Rating: 2 stars
Word rating: Fun, but predictable and a bit underwhelming
Reviewed by: Ellis
Succubus (n.) An alluring, shape-shifting demon who seduces and pleasures mortal men. Pathetic (adj.) A succubus with great shoes and no social life. See: Georgina Kincaid.
When it comes to jobs in hell, being a succubus seems pretty glamorous. A girl can be anything she wants, the wardrobe is killer, and mortal men will do anything just for a touch. Granted, they often pay with their souls, but why get technical? But Seattle succubus Georgina Kincaid's life is far less exotic. Her boss is a middle-management demon with a thing for John Cusack movies. Her immortal best friends haven't stopped teasing her about the time she shape-shifted into the Demon Goddess getup complete with whip and wings. And she can't have a decent date without sucking away part of the guy's life. At least there's her day job at a local bookstore-free books; all the white chocolate mochas she can drink; and easy access to bestselling, sexy writer, Seth Mortensen, aka He Whom She Would Give Anything to Touch but Can't.
But dreaming about Seth will have to wait. Something wicked is at work in Seattle's demon underground. And for once, all of her hot charms and drop-dead one-liners won't help because Georgina's about to discover there are some creatures out there that both heaven and hell want to deny...
The more I think about Succubus Blues, the less impressed I am. The story is initially hard to get into, but it's pretty entertaining for the most part. While it's predictable and you can see the major twists from 50 chapters away, there's no denying that this is some decent UF fluff. However, the humour often fell flat for me, and I also feel like Mead introduces too many elements and then doesn't explore them enough, which makes for sloppy execution and a frustrating lack of world-building.
What disappoints me the most about this story and its resolution is that it builds on this whole "succubus who doesn't want to be a succubus" premise. I love female monsters, and I reach inappropriate levels of excitement when they actually embrace their monstrous nature. When the succubi were introduced as Daughters of Lilith, I was so ready for them to team up and take over the world. You could argue that Georgina not being satisfied with her current predicament is implied in the synopsis, but I honestly thought she would like and take advantage of her demonic attributes.
My dream of a succubus super team was also smashed relatively early on. Georgina doesn't really have any female friends, or women that she gets along with in general. I think that's a shame. I'm also not amused with the virgin-shaming going on at the beginning of the novel. Sure, being a succubus is a very sexual profession, but that doesn't give you the right to look down on other people's choices. It's like thin-shaming. Many people think it's okay because there's less of a stigma surrounding it, but you're essentially still doing the same, extremely harmful thing.
In spite of that, I did largely enjoy Georgina as a character. She's not afraid to speak her mind, and there's some interesting internal struggle going on. She has built a small life for herself in Seattle, but what I loved most of all is how much of a reader she is. She unabashedly fangirls about her favourite books and authors - sometimes to said favourite author(s) - and she'll occasionally make this little reading analogies that are just adorable. The same goes for Seth, the favourite author I just mentioned. He and Georgina start this correspondence through email, and his emails easily could be an extension of his professional work. I thought that was a nice touch to these characters.
Seth in general is super adorable, though. He's kind, a little shy, and interested in everything. He has very naïve hopes and his mythology references are delightfully dorky. I've seen some quotes from him that belong to the sequels, and let's just say that he's probably the main reason why I'm interested to continue this series. What worries me, though, is that his presence in Georgina's life is probably one of the bigger motivations of why she wants to be "redeemed" from being a succubus. And this is a personal thing, but I really, really hope he doesn't start making her his muse, because that's a trope that actually really bothers me.
Speaking of mythology, that's the other big thing that frustrated me. There are these mythological elements that hint at something that could possibly be a very intriguing spin on demons/angels lore, but sadly they never really surpass the stage of being hints. For example, Georgina eventually tells Seth about "the succubus lifestyle", but does the reader ever get a thorough look into this mythology? Nope. Her origin story is very random and often awkwardly placed in flashbacks that often cut off on major cliffhangers.
In addition, a Nephilim subplot gets introduced somewhere along the way and while Georgina is a character that has lived for centuries, she apparently knows nothing about them. This seems highly implausible to me, considering she works in a bookstore and fallen angel lore was all the rage in popular romance novels not that long ago. The entire Nephilim mystery reads very amateur, in my opinion, and while I got pretty into the story for a while there, the entire thing lost some serious steam after 60%. The language is also very "I did this. I did that. Then we did this.", which isn't my favourite way of constructing words, but that ending was so adorable that I just need to know what happens next.