Succubus Blues by Richelle Mead
film / tv / lists / guides / news / love / celeb / video / think pieces / staff / podcasts / web culture / politics / dc / snl / netflix / marvel / cbr

Cannonball Read V: Succubus Blues by Richelle Mead

By Robert | Book Reviews | June 12, 2013 | Comments ()


Succubus Blues by Richelle Mead is not a bad book by any stretch of the imagination. It's a well-written urban fantasy with a strong voice and interesting premise. It just has a really big flaw that seriously detracts from the enjoyment factor.

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.

This review is part of the volunteer Cannonball Read V. Read all about it, and for more of Robert's reviews, check out his blog The Sketchy Details.

(Note: Any revenue generated from purchases made through the affiliate links in this review will be donated in entirety to the American Cancer Society.)

(Header image by livingrope.)

Why I Drink, Flip to Page 74, Choose Your Own Adventure Edition | Biz Break: 5 Quick Pieces of Pop Culture Bits To Make You 'Purge'.

Comments Are Welcome, Bigots and Trolls Are Not

  • beletseri

    I read this book as part of Vag Fantasy, and I loved Georgina and the bookstore, but it just really didn't do it for me. I like Mead's Vampire Academy far more. (I need to read Gameboard of the Gods)

  • Robert

    Vaginal Fantasy Book Club is why I read it, too. Felicia Day got me to start reading romance novels. They were just so passionate about these books and this one was dirt cheap in the Nook store.

  • Az

    Um what is Vaginal Fantasy Club and how does one join? Best fantasy series ever is the first trio of Jacqueline Carey's Kushiel series, by the way.

  • mswas

    Vaginal Fantasy is a book discussion Youtube show and related group on Goodreads by Felicia Day, Veronica Belmont, Kiala Kazebee and Bonnie Burton.

    (p.s. Cannonball Read is on Goodreads too...)

  • Andrew J Moore

    Middle trio!

  • Lee

    Hmmm. This may feel the void waiting for season 4 of Lost Girl

  • TK

    I also wish the covers didn't all look like either shitty romance novels or softcore porn. Thank god for a kindle, so I don't have to be embarrassed about reading them in public.

    I mean, seriously:

  • FireLizardQueen

    I read the whole series in, like, a week and I loved it. Richelle Mead excels at writing fun consumable books. There are always problems with these types of books if you read them critically, but if you just see them as fun action movies with a bit of romance you'll thoroughly enjoy them.

  • Mrs. Julien

    I am going to borrow that description, "fun consumable books" I read a lot of those. A lot.

  • Robert

    Honestly, the only real issue I had was picking out the villain immediately. Everything else was quite fun to read. I really should get around to reading the next book or another one of Mead's series.

  • Mrs. Julien

    Is it just me or do you also strongly suspect that the author's real name is Michele Reed?

  • mswas

    Great minds think alike!

  • Mrs. Julien

    How excited are you about all the comments?

  • mswas


  • TK

    I have become EXHAUSTED by the number of urban fantasy novels featuring female protagonists torn between two men. The trope has become so, so overdone. I hate that it feels like a necessity. Just have her be independent. Why must there always be this inner conflict over which man to love?

    That said, it does sound interesting, so I'll probably just read it and grumble a lot, as is my wont.

  • competitivenonfiction

    I am so fucking sick of love triangles. That's all I have to add.

  • Robert

    Fortunately, the focus is on the succubus losing her sense of self and the supernatural killing spree more than the relationships. The relationship push the plot but they are not the real focus of the story.

  • FireLizardQueen

    The first book in this series and part of the second has her struggling with two guys, but as it progresses the love triangle BS fades away and it becomes much more enjoyable. It's terribly heartbreaking at points too.

  • DataAngel

    It's not just urban fantasy novels. It's in mystery novels, too. I think they think it keeps it "interesting" or adds something to the character or want to include elements of romance without actually falling into the romance territory. I swear there must be a rule out there that says "if you have a lead female character she MUST be torn between two men so we can be sure the reader knows that she's also feminine and pretty and desired by all as well as tough."

  • I feel exactly the same way. It's gotten so hard to find new fantasy I want to read because so much of it fits right into that formula. I'll find a new book, start to get excited about it, and then it'll hint at the love triangle (or the shadowy man who has just entered her life who many, just maybe, is her One True Love, or whatever stupid love subplot has been wedged in here) and I'm automatically completely turned off. Even when I've found books that don't start out that way, they tend to end up that way two or three or four books into the series.

    Which isn't to say new fantasy that doesn't color inside the lines is out there, just that it's harder to find.

  • Az

    This series is one of my favorites and one that I read over and over. Although I had the mystery that is played out throughout all six books figured out while reading the first one, I still enjoyed them all.

  • Yep, I was totally hooked on the series after book 2! Reading the Dark Swan series now. Not as funny or witty, but has interesting dynamic between fae and human realms.

blog comments powered by Disqus