REVIEW: Wicked Hot by Charlene Teglia
Dear Ms. Teglia:
Okay, some background about this review. I had hoped that you would send Wicked Hot as you had all of your other books but I swore I hadn’t received it and when you sent me your contribution for the DA iPhone bookshelf, I tried to hint around that I would love to read the book. Instead of offering, you replied something to the effect of can’t wait for you to see it on the shelves.
So I mentioned that I was excited about reading your book to a friend of mine and she reminded me that not only had I read it a long time ago but that I had recommended it to her. Sadly, my mind being the sieve that it is and I couldn’t find my notes on the book and had to re-read it for the review. In any event, I enjoyed it as much the second time around.
Edna is a succubus. She seduces. Steals souls. Damns people to hell. It’s her job. She got stuck with the position as a punishment for killing someone when she was alive (she died in 1066). So for a thousand years or so, Edna has been feeding off the sexual energy of others. It’s not a terribly difficult job and it does have its perks such as the perfect body and the incredible sexual magnetism, but she’s never satiated and she pretty much is at the whim of her "boss" Nick.
Nick orders her to go forth and seduce Eli, a nephilium. A nephilium is the unholy result of a union between an angel and a human. Supposedly they had all been eliminated, but apparently they have re-emerged to restore the balance.
Edna goes forth, knowing that this is probably a losing battle and that Eli Moss will bind and banish her in an instant. She employs the time honored trick of standing with high heels and a short skirt while peering into her car to engage Eli’s interest. Unfortunately, as Edna suspects, Eli recognizes instantly she is a succubus and binds her and takes her back to his lair which is a cabin where he and his brother live. Their father mated with a human woman and had a set: The Warrior and the Teacher. Eli is the warrior.
Eli and Dal’s mission is reduce the number of demons overrunning the earth. When Eli is given Edna, he sees an opportunity which is not revealed early on so I won’t ruin it. Edna’s tasked with a particularly difficult challenge. When Eli binds her, she must do what he says, from refraining from eating to refraining from seducing. His brother Dal seems to be immune to her wicked wiles anyway. Worse, Eli tempts her with the most dangerous thing of all: the idea that she could be with someone without them losing their soul.
The book includes the fun, ribald reparte:
"She’s the tenth one this month," Dal said to Eli. "I’d say they’re escalating, except sending us a stacked blonde in a miniskirt seems more like laying down on the job."
"I like laying down on the job," I said, winking at Dal. "But sitting, standing, and kneeling all work for me, too."
"She’s a succubus," Eli reminded Dal. "She’s more dangerous than she looks. They’re not laying down on the job, they’re switching tactics."
I could quote funny parts from the book all day long. Also I thought the story included a certain humanity or depth that I felt was missing from the last collection of Teglia stories I had read and maybe that is due to the length of this allowing for greater character development. I felt that there was a good balance between Edna’s outwardly fatalistic attitude and her secretly romantic notion of shedding the curse of the succubus and having some mortal fall in love with and willingly give up his soul for her freedom.
Much of the story rests upon the sexual nature of the characters and explores the worldbuilding from that standpoint, which is another way of saying that world building is not the focus here. However, it provides a nice backdrop and some added tension to the conflict. Other complaints include that I thought Eli is an ass some of the time. Okay, a lot of the time. He irked me with his constant menial commands. I mean, he had her bound, did he have to treat her so poorly at times? It annoying. Further, I wasn’t sure I really believed in the resolution. Was it a cheat? Did it really fit? I couldn’t decide. Having said that, the book is smoking hot, funny, and I enjoyed my time spent with it, both times. B