Dec 24 2009
FTC disclaimer: I won this ARC in the competition to write a review of Jane’s nonexistent weregerbil novel.
Review disclaimer: I don’t read a lot of paranormals, so take my judgments of the worldbuilding, mythology, etc. with a grain of salt.
Husband’s comment on the ARC cover: “‘Maybe bad girls do have more fun’? So, the guy on the cover is actually a bad girl??”
General summary for those who want to avoid spoilers: Jackie Brighton was living a perfectly normal life until the day she woke up in an alley and learned that, due to a series of bizarre events, she’d become a succubus. Now she’s adjusting to her new body and its needs, learning about an entire world of supernatural beings, and being pulled into intrigues that she really doesn’t understand.
This is definitely the first book of a duology if not series; don’t expect all the threads to be wrapped up at the end, and don’t expect a definitive HEA at this time. I enjoyed Jackie’s voice, found the worldbuilding interesting, and generally liked the writing. However, one of the male leads didn’t work well for me.
Possible spoilers below.
The worldbuilding generally works well for me, as far as the paranormal entities go. As I said above, I’m not a big paranormal reader, so I don’t know whether Myles’s mythology is fresh or derivative, but I found it interesting. The method of creating succubi — a combination of being drained by a vampire and sleeping with a fallen angel — was interesting (and explained why they weren’t all over the place). The side effect of being controllable by the angel and the vampire who create the succubus also added interest and tension.
Plot — the early part of the book is mostly Jackie learning about succubosity and meeting people. I put down the book about a third of the way through and forgot about it for a month and a half. But once I picked it back up and got a little further, the plot became more active and sucked (heh) me along. The Vampire Queen is definitely a scary adversary, as is Uriel. Jackie’s career turns out to be relevant to the plot, giving her some insights into the Vampire Queen and what’s going on. (I’d have been more satisfied at the end, though, if the climactic scene had been resolved by a definite action on Jackie’s part rather than an accident, and if there hadn’t been that blatant problem-for-next-book of Remy getting possessed.)
As for characters: Jackie reacts to being turned into a succubus in ways that I find eminently logical — initial disbelief, and various mistakes as she figures out how to use her new abilities. I like her general attitude; she doesn’t spend a lot of time moping or wondering “why me?” She tries things; she learns from her mistakes (and doesn’t excessively blame others for them, though I think she’s entitled to a few rounds of “Look, did you give me a copy of The Complete Guide to Succubus Life? No? Then stop being so shocked when I screw something up!”).
What especially strikes me about Jackie is how alone she is. Sure, there’s Remy, a fellow succubus, but learning succubushood from Remy is like learning algebra from a math professor who doesn’t realize that you’re deficient in basic arithmetic. (Speaking of Remy, I was very thrown on her introduction; I’ve only seen it as a male name in real life. Myles does give an explanation for the name later, but until then I was thinking she’d made a research gaffe.) Noah and Zane both have agendas of their own; other characters even more so. There’s no one who I really felt was firmly on Jackie’s side, looking out for her interests rather than primarily their own.
That’s especially true of Zane. Maybe I’m just not feeling the bad boy appeal, but Zane, while witty, didn’t charm me at all, and I didn’t buy Jackie’s decision to trust him. Noah may be less flashy, but I’m willing to believe that he won’t actively harm Jackie, even though he has the ability to do so; I’m unconvinced about Zane yet. (This might also be why the sex scenes, though hot, didn’t grab my emotions).
Still, Jackie’s short-term solution to Noah vs. Zane made absolute sense, and in this universe is especially workable. I’m curious to know whether Jackie will keep that up in the long run or whether she’ll end up relatively monogamous with one or the other. I’m also curious as to what Jackie’s going to do now that she’s been fired from the museum. I can’t yet see her following in Remy’s career footsteps (a very sensible career choice for a succubus, to be sure, but not one I see Jackie being comfortable with any time soon).
Overall, C+. It’s not quite my cuppa, but the writing style is enjoyable, and I like Jackie enough that I’ll check out the sequel if my library gets it.
Editorial note: I consider Jill Myles a good friend and thus I won’t be reviewing the book here on Dear Author. I am thankful that Castiron agreed to let me post this.
This book can be purchased at Amazon or in ebook format from Sony or other etailers.