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If you've read any of my previous reviews, you'll be aware that I'm rather partial to well written urban fantasy and Richelle Mead's series featuring Georgina Kincaid is currently one of my favourites. Succubus Dreams is the third book in the series. I should warn anyone who has recently embarked on this series to read this review at their own risk as there may be spoilers ahead!
For those who've never read the series, a little bit of back story. Georgina Kincaid is a succubus, living and working in Seattle. To continue her existence she has to gain energy through having sex with men, the more noble and good the man, the better the quality of energy. This leaves the donor drained of some of their life force, thus shortening their days on earth and also putting a stain on their soul. Georgina works for Jerome, an arch-demon who's in charge of Seattle's team from Hell (literally). The team consists of imps, vampires, demons and succubi plus one angel, Carter, who doesn't actually work for the team but, bizarrely is good friends with Jerome.
Georgina's boyfriend, Seth, is a crime fiction writer who, once he came to terms with the reality of Georgina being a succubi, has settled for a relationship without physical completion.
I would add that, although by her very nature Georgina is involved in a lot of sexual activity, this never comes across as gratuituous and there is nothing particularly raunchy in the books as it is mainly glossed over in very general terms.
The book is available for £4.49 new or a used copy for £1.70 plus postage.
The Seattle boundaries are being re-organised and Jerome has acquired a new succubus to join his team and Georgina is asked to train her. As if that wasn't bad enough, her boyfriend is not as happy about their current situation as she thought and to cap it all, she's been having strange dreams of a future that surely can never be, leaving her to wake with her life force drained to dangerously low levels.
There are times in this series when I find Georgina rather hard to understand. She's happily in love with Seth, her boyfriend, despite the no sex embargo, and is becoming pretty complacent about their relationship. Every time a succubus has sex with a human male, part of their life is forfeit and their soul becomes blackened and Georgina is anxious that Seth's soul remains pristine. It comes as quite a surprise to her to discover that Seth isn't quite as happy with arrangements as she is. It doesn't seem to have dawned on her that she's still getting physical satisfaction, albeit from other men, whilst poor Seth is having to satisfy himself! Considering Georgina has been 'alive' for getting on for two millennia, she seems to show a marked lack of understanding of the human male or else she's so selfish she doesn't want to understand, both of which viewpoints lower her in my estimation.
Not only is she demonstrating her selfishness and/or naïvety, she's also showing signs of jealousy. With the introduction into the team of the newly made succubus, Tawny, Georgina begins to develop some rather unpleasant characteristics. Poor Tawny hasn't a clue about anything, least of all how to dress or seduce a man. She's shape shifted herself into a somewhat Jordanesque pneumatic blonde, draped in leopard print, all of which Georgina disparages to her colleagues. Tawny certainly brings out the bitch in Georgina.
Georgina has mentioned to Jerome and her friends that something is draining her energy whilst she sleeps but they have dismissed this as nothing to worry about and it isn't until Georgina is persuaded by Carter to offer a bed to Vincent Damiani who is visiting Seattle with several angels on a secret mission that anyone begins to take her plight seriously.
In an attempt to solve her energy problems, Georgina visits Dante, a human psychic who has gained his powers through practising the black arts; a man with a dark past and a bleak future. Eventually she discovers that her energy is being taken by Nyx, a creature of darkness and chaos who has been locked away to prevent her using her destructive powers. But now Nyx has escaped and the angels, along with Vincent, are the Heavenly posse sent to recapture her.
It isn't only Georgina who seems to have become selfish though, as Seth, too, is showing another side to his character. When the muse is upon him, he can think of nothing but the book he's writing, something that Georgina seems to accept. He's also not good in social situations, is grungy and on top of that the lack of sexual fulfilment is making him waspish to say the least. Seth isn't a particularly strong male lead character at the best of times. Truth to tell, being a "good" man means he's slightly boring and it's difficult to understand why Georgina would have fallen in love with him at all. For me, the most interesting and attractive character in this series is Jerome, the arch-demon who is super cool, enigmatic and sophisticated and a bad, bad boy! I really wish that Richelle Mead would develop this character further because he has a lot of potential.
As the book progresses, I began to like Georgina again, especially when she softens her attitude towards Tawny and poor Georgina does suffer rather badly in this story. Even succubi, it seems, can have their hearts broken.
I would advise anyone thinking about reading this series to begin at the beginning. Much of the back story is told in each book but as with all series, many of the characters have developed since the first book and so much is lost if you begin to read half way through.
Frequently, with long running series, there are one or two books where the author seems to lose momentum or which don't quite hit the spot. This book definitely moves the series forward and has a solid storyline too. We are also introduced to a couple of interesting new characters destined to appear in future books so, although I can't say I enjoyed it as much as I did the previous two, it didn't put me off continuing on to the next in the series.
For me, this was a 4 star read.
There are lots of different things going on in the third installment of the Georgina Kincaid series. First of all there are the many complications that keep popping up between Seth and Georgina. It is obviously becoming harder for them to stay together as a couple, and although the no-sex rule between them is taking its toll, other more serious issues are coming to the forefront, such as the inability to communicate with or trust each other. Things become increasingly difficult for them when Seth has a near death experience and his outlook on life changes dramatically.
Also, there is a new succubus in town. Tawny is surprisingly inept at seducing men, and as her mentor it is Georgina's job to try to help her. But things are made worse for Georgina as Niphon, the imp who bought Georgina's soul, will be staying around until Tawny takes her first victim. Niphon seems to hate Georgina and he does anything he can to make her miserable.
And, last but not least, there are the dreams that she has been having every time that she gets an energy fix from a victim. Georgina experiences a very vivid dream and then wakes up the next morning to find that most of her energy has gone. With her boss, Jerome, away on business Georgina turns to her mortal friend Erik (who made an appearance in Succubus Blues) and an acquaintance of his called Dante to try to work out what is happening to her.
There is a melancholy overtone throughout Succubus Dreams that hasn't been present in the other books in this series. What with the problems between her and Seth, her memories of past hurts and her longing for a child, we see a very different side to Georgina in this book. It makes the reader really feel for Georgina, as although everybody experiences pain at some point in their lives nobody else has to live with that pain and guilt for all of eternity the way she does. But I love Georgina and I really do hope that she finds some happiness in future books.
I really enjoyed reading Succubus Dreams and Richelle Mead is fast becoming my favourite author. She has raised many issues that will stay with me, whilst managing to write a brilliant mystery that kept me enthralled in the storyline. I have only just finished this book but I am starting Succubus Heat straight away as I can't wait to find out what else is in store for Georgina.