Succubus Blues
by Richelle Mead
(Kensington, $15.00, PG) ISBN 978-0758216410
****
This book was more than a nice surprise; I'd definitely call it a pure pleasure.  Meet Georgina Kincaid, succubus, local bookstore manager, fan of mystery author Seth Mortensen, and soon-to-be amateur investigator.  Georgina hates the first, enjoys the second, will be embarrassed publicly more than once as a result of the third, and gets herself into a lot of trouble courtesy of the last.

Georgina's been a succubus for a long time.  Since ancient Greece, actually.  Benefits include shapeshifting, the ability to become invisible, some pretty nifty friends (including vampires, imps, and even her archdemon boss, Jerome), and immortality.  On the downside, every one of Georgie's ... shall we say less-than-Platonic ... relationships (even kissing!) drains her partner.  Of course, as her supervisor likes to point out, that's what she signed up for.  But Georgina likes mortals, for the most part, and is sincerely distressed by sucking the life out of those she considers "innocent" - who are, naturally, the ones from which she gets the most power.

From the beginning, you can see where this is probably going to be an issue from a romantic perspective.  Sure, you could expect a lot of sex, but no good relationship at the center.  That turns out not to be true.  For one thing, there isn't much sex, given Georgie's dislike of her succubus duties and her understandable aversion to sapping potential dates or boyfriends.  For another, right off the bat Georgina acquires two pretty intriguing potential interests (which the reader may or may not choose to believe is courtesy of her succubus powers).  One is her favorite author himself, Seth Mortensen.  Georgina mortifies herself on several occasions before realizing Seth isn't quite the social butterfly she expected from his writing ... but she likes him nonetheless.  And because she likes him, she attempts to avoid him for the reasons mentioned above.  Add to her list of people she refuses to date (but would like to) is Roman, a dark, suave, and persistent linguist who is pretty much the direct opposite of socially-inept Seth.

Although she handles people in general really well courtesy of her supernatural powers, Georgie really blunders around with the romance portion of her life, which adds not only comedy but a touch of reality, something the reader can sympathize with, which is often difficult in paranormal books.  She turns out to be a decent investigator as she is looking into the murders of several other paranormal creatures and finding out secrets about her world that individuals as low on the totem pole as she are not supposed to know.  When Georgina herself becomes a target, however, things get even more out of hand …

This book was impossible to put down.  Whether it was her mundane life or the supernatural one, Georgie’s antics and issues were fun, intriguing, and even poignant at times. The author shows a depth of character that is missing a lot of the time in a genre that has become over-populated.  I can’t wait for the next one!

--Sarrah Knight


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