Succubus On Top
Published 2008 304 pages
Note: This book is published under the title of
Succubus Nights in the UK.
Summary (from the book jacket)
Georgina Kincaid’s job sucks. Literally.
Love hurts, and no one knows it better than Georgina Kincaid. If she so much as kisses her new boyfriend, she’ll drain his life force. Georgina is a succubus—a demon who draws her power from other men’s pleasure. Admittedly, the shapeshifting and immortality perks are terrific, and yes, Georgina did choose to join the ranks of hell centuries ago. But it seems completely unfair that a she-demon whose purpose is seduction can’t get hot and heavy with the one mortal who knows and accepts her for who she is.
It’s not just her personal life that’s in chaos. Doug, Georgina’s co-worker at a local bookstore, has been exhibiting bizarre behaviour, and Georgina suspects that something far more demonic than double espressos is at work. She could use help finding out, but Bastien, an irresistibly charming incubus and her best immortal friend, is preoccupied in the suburbs with corrupting an ultra-conservative talk radio star—and giving Georgina some highly distracting come-hither vibes. Georgina is going to have to work solo on this one—and fast because soon, Doug’s life won’t be the only one on the line…
Succubus On Top (or Succubus Nights for UK readers) is the second book in Richelle Mead’s Georgina Kincaid urban fantasy series. Events in Succubus On Top continue on pretty much from where Succubus Blues, the first novel in this series, left off and I would recommend reading Succubus Blues first rather than jumping straight into the story here. The main reason for this advice is that the author herself seems to have assumed that you will have read Succubus Blues first and as a result doesn’t waste much time playing catch up or explaining who characters are at the start of this book.
The end of Succubus Blues saw Georgina agree to be a better, more professional succubus for her demon boss in return for him not wiping her from the memory of her mortal boyfriend Seth. Since then she has been working hard at corrupting male souls, not just stealing their life force during sex to feed but putting once good men on the path to damnation and hell. This is something that she had previously avoided by only feeding on men who were already corrupted.
She has been so good at her job that the opening pages of Succubus On Top see Georgina being awarded with a certificate and some out of date coupons (demons are cheap) by her bosses in recognition of her good work. It is clear though, even from the start of this story, that Georgina and Seth’s relationship is strained by his knowledge of her succubus nature (or job) and the fact that the only person Georgina can’t have sex with is Seth (she’d shorten his life or even kill him) but he is the only person that she loves. This romantic tension between Seth and Georgina runs through out the whole story and while Succubus On Top is definitely not a romance novel readers can’t help but want the pair to be able to work these issues out.
In addition to the obvious romantic tension between Georgina and Seth, there is also a mystery element to the story which involves the increasingly strange behaviour of her friend and co-worker Doug. When Georgina senses an immortal presence hanging around Doug she realises that she may be the only person capable of helping him.
All of this is pretty much what you would expect from an urban fantasy novel – supernatural beings, sex, danger, romance and a mystery to solve. Although the actual vampire content of this story is tiny and it would have been nice to have had more content featuring Georgina’s fellow supernatural friends. However I am really torn over my opinions of this book. On the one hand I would give it 5 stars (out of 5) for sheer readability. The story is exciting and well paced with just the right amounts of action, sex and mystery to make it a joy to read. On the other hand I would give it 2 stars for the appalling politics and suspect moral justifications by Georgina for her actions. This is hard to explain without spoiling the story for people who haven’t read it yet so be warned there are mild spoilers ahead…
Personally I found the whole story line where Georgina is helping her incubus friend Bastien distasteful. They are determined to corrupt a Christian talk show host (Dana) who preaches intolerance towards homosexuals and all the other members of society who don’t meet with her high minded expectations. Okay, that’s not nice but neither is the behaviour of Bastien and Georgina. I actually felt sorry for Dana and couldn’t take any enjoyment in the public humiliation dished out to her by Georgina. The author did briefly attempt to give Georgina’s actions a benefit for the greater good but this seemed forced and didn’t work for me.
The problem is that Georgina justifies herself by disliking hypocrites (what she perceives Dana to be) but her own behaviour is hypocritical when it suits her. (Examples: disapproving of a colleague’s use of drugs when she herself was so high on pot the night before she couldn’t make her own way home, she runs a drug dealer out of town but is then happy to give a dose of his drugs to her friend – and use them herself.) She’s in no position to sling mud.
On balance I think that most urban fantasy readers will enjoy Succubus On Top - it is a highly readable book after all and has just about everything a fantasy fan could ask for. I do think that some readers are (like me) going to have a problem with the politics of this book but I think they will be in the minority. As a result I’m averaging the ratings - 5 for readability + 2 for the politics makes an average rating of 3.5 out of 5.
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