Sometimes, you just want to cheer for a character who is less than angelic…a succubus seems like a fun option! We’ll cover the usual book basics first, of course.
Succubus Blues by Richelle Mead
Book 1 of 6 in the Georgina Kincaid
Published: April 29, 2010
Amazon ratings: 956 ratings; 4.4 avg
Goodreads ratings: 55,747; 3.94 avg
In this fun urban fantasy, a lovelorn succubus keeps the peace in Seattle’s demon underground when she’s not working at a local bookstore.
When it comes to jobs in hell, being a succubus seems pretty glamorous. A girl can be anything she wants, the wardrobe is killer, and mortal men will do anything just for a touch. Granted, they often pay with their souls, but why get technical?
But Seattle succubus Georgina Kincaid’s life is far less exotic. At least there’s her day job at a local bookstore—free books; all the white chocolate mochas she can drink; and easy access to bestselling, sexy writer, Seth Mortensen, aka He Whom She Would Give Anything to Touch but Can’t.
But dreaming about Seth will have to wait. Something wicked is at work in Seattle’s demon underground. And for once, all of her hot charms and drop-dead one-liners won’t help because Georgina’s about to discover there are some creatures out there that both heaven and hell want to deny…
Again, I’m a moody reader and knowing what to expect helps me get into the mood. Unfortunately, I fell behind in November and didn’t start reading until the end of the month. I was actually halfway through the book before I even checked the blurb and low reviews…that was clearly a mistake.
- No world building
- Whiny, clueless FMC (side characters aren’t much better)
“Like me, they were half-assing their infernal jobs.”
This was one of my favorite quotes and yet it also goes a long way to explain why I didn’t love this one. It also works perfectly for how I read it. While I normally skim long descriptive passages, I found myself actually skipping ahead a few pages at a time just wanting to finish it.
**Quick side note – I’m firmly in the camp of DNF’ing books we don’t enjoy. Every reader should be able to choose what to read and no reader should feel guilty about putting a book aside for a more enjoyable one. I do DNF books, but as I pick these Book Chat reads to enjoy as a reader and learn as an author, my rule is to keep going.
Now, let’s go back to the issues other readers had and I’ll share details from my experience.
No world building and whiny, clueless FMC
These go together quite well so I’m lumping them together to start. We can’t get details on the world because the main character doesn’t know them. When immortals get attacked, they start discussing whether or not mortals can hurt them and how that might work. They have no idea about their supernatural world despite living for centuries!!
You might think that would be a great time to introduce world building details as the characters learn. I thought that might be how it would go. It didn’t. The characters accepted the words of others to be careful and let it go.
Georgina did investigate some…by asking mortals questions and reading the Bible a little. That’s it.
This is book one so it could be a deliberate choice to start mysterious and build over the series. I’ve read series like that and it works for me if I’m invested in the characters. In this case, I wasn’t.
I might have been able to overlook the lack of concern about her own life if I liked Georgina in other ways. I wanted a strong, confident, morally grey (even tortured soul with a tragic past) succubus who was in charge. I expected steamy sex as she manipulated her male victims and possibly some angst at her choice.
Georgina says no repeatedly and yet the men seem to always manipulate her to a yes. And it’s not just one guy she has a soft spot for – it’s every guy. She says no then gives in. She claims to abhor being the center of attention then throws a tantrum when she isn’t. Georgina describes herself as fickle so at least she’s somewhat self-aware, but she did nothing to take charge regardless of what mood she was in. I just couldn’t get behind that and cheer for her as the MC.
For me, this one is only a 2.5/3 stars. It wasn’t poorly written, but I just didn’t connect to the world or the characters. I’m definitely in the minority though so don’t write this one off just because of me. Check it out for yourself and make your own decision. If you have read it, feel free to comment here though do remember to play nice!
You can skip to the end for the cute cat picture and links to this book and next month’s read too. If you’re a fellow writer, keep reading!
Are you half-assing it in your writer’s life?
As I mentioned above, I didn’t connect with the characters who were just ‘half-assing’ it. However, I find myself doing that too when it comes to my writing life sometimes.
Have you seen the memes about writers needing to market book 1, edit book 2, write book 3, and research book 4 all while being active on social media, maintaining author newsletters, and maybe having a life, family, and even a ‘real’ job??
Writing is not for the weak! Let’s chat a bit about finding our balance, my friends.
I do think it’s important to research, ask questions, learn, be curious, and try new things. I’m in Melanie Harlow’s writing group and she’s always mentioning podcasts she’s listening to and what’s she’s learning. That’s truly impressive to me and inspires me to do the same as an author. In any writing group though, you’ll find questions about tweaking blurbs and covers, reports on the success of particular ads, advice, and requests for various types of professional assistance. The scope of work and skills required of writers goes far beyond writing and it can be intimidating and overwhelming.
Back to Succubus Blues for a moment…one of the reasons I picked this book was because of the unusual main character. We’ve talked about tropes here previously and I do feel they are so important (and fun). We’ve also discussed writing to market and even trends. However, there’s also something to be said for offering something unique. The urban fantasy/ PNR genres are crowded with vampires, witches, and werewolves, but Georgina is a succubus. Similarly, the Paranormal Women’s Fiction trend really hit the spot for many readers who were tired of teenage girls having all the fun and wanted to read about older heroines. PWF does have its own tropes and reader expectations now, of course.
Are you trying to write to market, offering something unique, or are you just writing and hoping to figure it out?
My first series was definitely me writing and hoping to figure it out. The series is over and I learned a lot so I’m doing things differently this time around. I am still looking for my personal balance though.
Knowing ourselves and our books as early as possible is a wonderful asset!
I’ve also mentioned this previously, but I think it’s an important reminder. We need to know our comps, hooks, tropes, and even anti-tropes (yes, I just made that up but I’m sticking with it). The earlier we figure these things out, the easier marketing becomes. If we wait until afterward, we might be trying to push a square peg into a round hole. I just saw a book mentioned in a readers group that is the story of the mother of the Chosen One. I haven’t checked it out but there’s definitely a great built-in marketing angle there.
Knowledge is power…however, it does take effort to learn the crafts of writing, marketing, and business. We all have limited time and money. Some writers hire a PA (personal assistant), others find they have no time to read anymore, and still others never finish their books.
We have to prioritize as part of finding our balance. There are many groups, hashtags, etc to find writing advice, inspiration, and friends. 5am sprints – NaNoWriMo – writing conferences. All of the advice in the world won’t matter if it doesn’t work for you and your life though. It’s a personal journey and only you can make it.
This means you have to make yourself a priority! Half-assing it won’t allow us to grow but burning out doesn’t help either. The holidays time always remind me to use my time well, let some things go, be grateful, and to enjoy life. Take a moment for yourself in whatever way works for you. Refocus and recharge before you continue your hectic writer’s life. As with DNF’ing books, I don’t think we should feel guilty for taking care of our health (mental, physical, and emotional) or wanting to enjoy your lives. I do have more blogs with additional tips so I’ll post those links below.
I hope you have found or do find the perfect balance of work and self-care for your writing life. If you have tips to share, please feel free to comment here. If you prefer to write a guest post, just reach out and we can talk.
Until next time, happy reading and writing to all! I hope all enjoy a magical holiday season!
Succubus Blues by Richelle Mead
Mental Self-Defense Blog Links
New Year, New Others
Tips Not to Screw Yourself Over
Pandemic Survival Tips
Living the life of a story book heroine
Worldview: What’s your Prescription
3 thoughts on “2022 Book Chat 11: Succubus Blues”
There’s a fine line between drip feeding the audience details and not giving them enough. If a reader is left feeling bereft at the end of book one they are unlikely to pick up any more in a series. I want a book to be exciting and really grab me from the get-go.
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I’ve found I need to like the characters to continue reading…exciting adventures definitely help me like them more! 🙂
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