Succubus Dreams is the third book in Richelle Mead’s Georgina Kincaid series. Georgina Kincaid is an immortal succubus who chooses to live a rather mundane life as the manager of a bookstore in Seattle. She’s dating her favorite modern author but cannot even dream of taking their relationship to a more intimate level. Even a kiss that lingers too long can take years off of Seth’s life. Out of nowhere, the energy stash Georgina gets from her conquests is disappearing by morning, leaving an impossible dream of a daughter and a loving husband in its wake.
Richelle Mead’s strength is believable characters. Georgina Kincaid, for her centuries of life on Earth and countless relationships, feels like an honest character. She’s flawed, a human trapped in eternal servitude to hell. Her obsessions and fears are as normal as you can imagine from a reluctant immortal.
The returning supporting cast continues to evolve in really interesting way and the new characters are wonderful. The standouts are Maddie and Dante. Maddie is the new assistant manager at the bookstore. She’s a feminist scholar with a shy streak, only able to open up to Georgina and Seth. That creates some unexpected tension in their already strained relationship.
Dante is a mortal conman who can detect supernatural beings. Georgina is forced to rely on him as a dream expert when her energy begins to disappear. Best of all, Richelle Mead embraces the creation of a truly bad character (not poorly written, just a not good person) in this universe. Nothing Dante does is altruistic and even his minimal support is a risk to everyone around him.
Succubus Dreams is a bit more unpredictable than the previous two entries in the series. I was able to predict the exact twist in the first two books long before the ending, but failed to do it for the third. That isn’t to say the first two books were bad. Mead’s prose is a whole lot of fun and even a predictable story can be told in an entertaining way. This ending is so much more rewarding for not being so clearly telegraphed. You’ll pick up on elements that justify this particular conclusion, but not the exact combination the unlocks the whole story.
This particular entry is much more somber than the rest of the series so far. Georgina is wrestling with big questions about her relationships, her contractual obligations, and the return of the nymph who transformed her into a succubus. The humor and great spin on mythology/folklore is still present, but it gets lost in a lot of quiet contemplation. It’s a more mature story that loses a little of that Georgina edge that made the first two books so engaging. Georgina is being set up at a fork in her life and spends the entire novel staring (but never entering) either path.
Succubus Dreams is a fine urban fantasy story. It’s a quick and easy read. The story is not as dynamic or inventive as the previous entries in the series, but it succeeds in focusing on the inner turmoil of the narrator. This entry definitely seems to be setting up the long game for the rest of Georgina Kincaid’s story.
Robert doesn’t always write about urban fantasy books, but when he does, he probably tweets about them. You should follow him on Twitter.