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Succubus, Schmuckubus

May 14, 2009, 12:00 am
By Elizabeth


Richelle Mead's Succubus Dreams is a lot like a mouthful of cotton candy: enjoyable enough while it's around, but forgotten almost as soon as it dissolves.

Dreams is the third in a series following the adventures of modern-day succubus Georgina Kincaid. Seattle-based Kincaid struggles with the problems of any 21st century woman (work, incompetent coworkers, and a sexually frustrating love life) while dealing with the headache of hell's middle management team, and a coterie of supernatural beings who are (variously) her friends, enemies, or somewhere in between.



I haven't read the first two books in the series, but Dreams works well enough as a standalone. Enough information is provided so that newbies don't feel lost, but the book doesn't get bogged down in the back story. In Dreams, Georgina has two main things on her to-do list: 1.) figure out who (or what) is causing her bizarre new dreams and draining her of her supernatural energy, and 2.) train the new, inept succubus on the block. Unfortunately, Georgina's sarcastic, anti-authoritarian attitude and real world commitments keep hindering her ability to complete get both tasks done.

As a working succubus, Kincaid's job is to sleep with as many men as possible. She feeds on her partner's life force, sucking years off their lifespan with every sexual encounter. This creates problems with her real boyfriend, a writer named Seth, with whom she has an emotionally close (but determinedly chaste) relationship. The tension between them is high and throughout the book Georgina has to struggle to keep their bizarre relationship afloat.

The characters in Succubus Dreams are entertaining and like-able (even those working for hell's side). In this cross-section of the supernatural, Georgina is somewhat of a neutral character. Georgina gets along equally well with both heaven and hell. She's equally at home playing cards with a snarky group of angels and going on a series of pseudo dates with tormented psychic Dante, whose soul is planted firmly in Lucifer's terrifying grip. Unfortunately, good characters are only one part of a successful story and Dreams fails in the plot department. Nearly all the plot points and character arcs are frustratingly predictable. Conclusions come too quickly and the main mysteries of the story are wrapped up without any of the characters having to sweat much.

To top it all off, the book doesn't end so much as simply stop, when Mead apparently ran out of ideas or the desire to keep going.

Succubus Dreams is still a tasty bit of sugary-sweet fluff. Just don't expect the sensation to stick around long after finishing its 305 pages.

 

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