Cannonball Read V: Succubus Blues by Richelle Mead
Georgina Kincaid is a succubus living in Seattle. She works at a bookstore for fun and tries to get out of performing her life-sucking duties as much as possible. After being mocked for doing an embarrassing favor for an imp, any immortal who crosses her is found dead. Georgina has also met two interesting mortal men who are vying for her attention. One is Roman, a handsome man she pulled into her life to get out of a sticky situation at the bookstore. The other is Seth, her favorite living fiction author who is relocating to Seattle. Georgina tries to keep them away while investigating the crimes against other immortals.
Richelle Mead's Georgina is an excellent narrator. Every single time she's on the verge of going full-blown Mary Sue, Mead pulls her back in a very believable way. She's beautiful but damaged, intelligent but not demeaning, biting but not cruel, and flawed in very fundamental ways that explain why she's crafted such a near-perfect persona. I would have read an entire book just exploring the how and why of Georgina's thousands of years on Earth.
The trouble with the novel is the immortal murder storyline. The twist of who did it is broadcast with very heavy foreshadowing in the first 30 pages. That suspicion is confirmed when the killer and the clear suspect to everyone but the narrator do the exact same things again and again. The why is handled very well and goes into some interesting biblical territory. The who could only have been clearer if Mead wrote "[That character] is the murderer" after the first death.
The blunt and clumsy foreshadowing is a huge blemish on an otherwise very well-constructed novel. All the twists and turns in the investigation and Georgina's love life play out in unexpected ways. A close reader will just know what the ending is long before there is even an attempt at misdirection.
The world of Succubus Blues is an interesting one and the exposition is handled well. The characters are strong when not forced to be so out of character they might mistake their reflection in a puddle for another person. It's just very frustrating to read a novel where you keep hoping the author will just tell you what you already figured out hundreds of pages before and move on.
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(Header image by livingrope.)