First, an apology (especially to Gretchen):
In my last post, I promised that my first debut paranormal book analysis was going to have zombies in it. Didn’t happen. I got half-way through the book before I realized that the author was not a first time author at all. It was in fact the debut book of Colleen Gleason’s new alter ego, Joss Ware. (As Gleason she writes The Gardella Vampire Chronicles). Too bad. BEYOND THE NIGHT was a pretty darn good book. I highly recommend it. So, now on to the first book in my debut author analysis series. Drum roll please . . .
GENTLEMEN PREFER SUCCUBI
By Jill Myles
Pocket, Dec. 2009
I’m going to try to not give any important details and/or twists away, but be forewarned I might have to do so in the interest of analyzing the ‘IT Factor’ of the story. Read on at your own risk.
What happens when a nerdy museum guide hooks up with a vampire and a fallen angel on the same night? She turns into a succubus, of course. In one drunken evening, Jackie Brighton goes from a frumpy plain Jane no one seems to notice to every living (and some not-so-living) male’s walking sex fantasy. She doesn’t quite know how to handle her new immortal sex-pot self and that makes for hilarious scenes with every hormonal teen/love-starved man/Viagra-popping grandfather she meets talking to her DD boobs and wanting to drag her to bed. Problem is, she’s not the kind of succubus to sleep around--unlike her new BFF, a 400-year-old succubus porn star named Remy who’s trying (and failing) to teach Jackie the ropes. But when the “Itch” flares up, Jackie has to have sex or she’ll die. So what’s a baby succubus to do? Turn to the guys who made her and the only two men who regard her as more than just a sex toy: Noah, a Serim (a fallen angel cursed to crave desire) and Zane, a vampire (a fallen angel who went over to the dark side and is now cursed to crave blood – which I think is a fresh twist on the vampire genre). Throw in a vampire demon queen and a quest for a powerful halo, and there’s non-stop action and hilarity.
The Hot Stuff:
Well, when you have a heroine who’s a succubus, you can pretty much guarantee there’s going to be sex and a lot of it. But to be honest, there weren’t as many sex scenes as there potentially could have been. Which is a good thing IMO. Oh, there’s oodles of sexual tension from beginning to end and quite a few almost sex-scenes throughout, but only about 3 full blown love scenes (which were hot!) in the whole book if I counted right (next time I’ll take better notes). But reader beware: if you prefer your heroine to sleep with just one man, this may not be the book for you. Jackie is torn between the two men in her life and sometimes her Itch has to be scratched by whichever one is available. This could have easily gone into kinky Anita Blake sex-fest territory and thank heavens it didn’t. The author handled Jackie’s dilemma of her very human morals battling a sex drive on steroids brilliantly.
Eye Rolling Moment:
Stiletos in the desert. This was about the only silly bit of humor that had me shaking my head. Jackie can buy a burka in the gift shop to hide her va-voom curves but can’t find a pair of flip flops or sandals to wear? Plus, wasn’t she wearing tennis shoes when she got on the plane to go to Egypt, so she’d still have those with her, right? Seems like it was just an excuse to have her tottering around in the Egyptian ruins in stiletos.
The ‘IT’ Factor:
So what sold this book? I believe it was the humor. What could have been a dark, erotic novel like a hundred others on the shelves right now was light and fun (with some dark mixed in). The balance was spot-on. The humorous situations were never forced or slapstick (well, except for the stiletos in the desert). Jill Myles’ comedic timing and snappy dialogue were flawless. After reading some on-line reviews of the book, I noted that some readers thought Jackie verged into TSTL territory at times. I didn’t think so. Jackie’s character has a wonderful sarcastic wit she uses like a whip. Watching her struggle with the nerd she still is on the inside against the walking Fredericks of Hollywood she is on the outside had me in stitches. Then to see her battle an attraction to two otherworldly men and having to choose between them (or not) was handled perfectly. The problem here is that humor is subjective. I should know, I write it too. And judging by some on-line interviews with the author, it wasn’t an quick sale for her. SUCCUBI was the 5th novel Myles wrote. She finished it in 2005, landed an agent for it in 2006, sold it in 2007 and it didn't hit the shelves until Dec. 2009.
Will I read more from this author? You betcha. I loved, loved, loved this author’s voice and her way with humor. Plus, tall, dark and sexy Zane has secrets to tell and I can’t wait to find out what they are in Myles’ second book, SUCCUBI LIKE IT HOT.
I’ll be analyzing the first of two paranormal books that made the 2010 RITA finals for best first book, THE BETTER PART OF DARKNESS by Kelly Gay.