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on Oct. 09, 2012 :
Fabulous, fabulous, fabulous! BR Kingsolver's second book is everything I would have hoped from reading the first book in the series, The Succubus Gift.
1. This author is no one hit wonder--this book, too, has action, suspense, and fantasy. As in sexual fantasy, urban fantasy, and "Hey, I wish I were that rich" fantasy.
Succubus Unleashed is a well thought out sequel. The plot is strong, and our favorite characters come along for the ride on a European vacation. Brenna goes to meet her extended family and spend a bit of her enormous inheritance.
It picks up shortly after Book One, continuing the conflict of the Telepathic Clans while introducing new conflicts sure to be picked up in Book Three (not yet released).
So far everything by BR Kingsolver is well-edited, nicely paced, and one of a kind.
And of course there are more hot outfits, sexy scenes, and bad-a$$ fighting.
2. The main character Brenna embraces her role as not only
a proudly sexual female leader, but also a priestess of an ancient Goddess.
Kingsolver draws from Irish mythology and history to create a mythos surrounding the Succubus. The Succubus today are descended from ancient priestesses who used sex as a way to raise energy for worship of the great creator Goddess.
This builds off of the themes of female sexuality, freedom and power begun in Book One.
There is archeological evidence to suggest that a goddess culture existed in many parts of the world before organized religion developed.
It's my personal belief that if society gave more acknowledgement to female divine power, sexual women wouldn't get all the crap that they currently do. Generally in modern America, there is a whole boatload of issues surrounding activity that is, well, pretty natural.
I think this aspect of the book is ridiculously cool-- but then I am a sex-positive, Goddess loving pagan and proud heathen. Call me unusual but this is my kind of book!
3. Travel to Ireland, and Paris
As I mentioned in my recent review of Everything to Lose---I adore books set in Europe. I mean who wouldn't want to not only be a powerful succubus heiress, but be jet-setting around the world??
Brenna also has a certain curiosity about the lives of cortesians. Now that she has embraced her sexuality, why not give getting paid a try? And why not in Europe?
This subplot of the book would probably appeal to fans of Secret Diary of a Call Girl as it is quite glamorous.
4. Brenna's family sure is complicated.
As so many new relatives are introduced, I can't say I remember everyone's name. I trust BR Kingsolver to remind me when I need to know in the next book. She did a good job of summarizing events from the previous book when needed, without going overboard.
Brenna doesn't expect this but many members of her family are ready to hand her a heavy responsibility.
Most of her Clan already sees her as a leader except there are some who won't make it easy for Brenna to take charge. These enemies make a stink in Succubus Unleashed, and will be sure to appear in the next book.
5. Crazy fighting.
This is one scene that will strike fear in the heart of any man! I'm serious.
Wow, BR's fight scenes are never boring. Brenna and her crew have take it to the next level. When a Succubus fights it is deadly, cunning and relentless.
I really wouldn't mess with these women...they have a tough bark, better take a hint and avoid the killer bite.
Please check out my other reviews if you like this one!
(reviewed long after purchase)
on Aug. 10, 2012 :
I loved the first book in the Telepathic Clans series (entitled The Succubus Gift) and I thought I'd have to wait a year or more before I'd get my hands on the second one. So imagine how ecstatic I was when I saw just a few months after I had finished the first one that the second book's release was imminent!
The first book was incredibly intricate with lots of plot points. The poignant points stuck with me, but there were some more subtle parts that I may have forgotten. But not to worry Kingsolver opens with a great refresher forward of what Brenna O'Donnell went through in The Succubus Gift with a sneak peak for what was in store for this installment.
The cover this time around is a unique blend of realism mixed with animated power swirling around. I think I might like this cover more than the first. It definitely portrays the stronger version of Brenna.
Succubus Unleashed picks up immediately where the last one left off. As a result of the events of the last book, Brenna has become far more comfortable and confident in the powers and needs of being a Succubus. Brenna's also being acclimated into her family, and introduced to her very very vast fortunes. Which she uses to take the reader on a lust worthy shopping trip.
Kingsolver has an amazing talent for taking several stories that offshoot into different directions, and pulling them together into one cohesive story where they play on and enhance each other. This time around there's a lot of focus on family politics with questions of inheritance, relationship drama, mysterious kidnapping of Succubi and a huge discovery that completely changes the way that Succubus will live.
While the story still focuses on Brenna, I feel that the other characters get their share of front page time equally. Which is awesome because I pretty much love all the secondary characters just as much, if not more than Brenna. We get glimpses into their personal lives and as well as working together as an unstoppable team. They get into some pretty epic street battles (I kid you not, it's like Street Fighter, fists and balls of energy flying everywhere - it's freaking AWESOME!).
Brenna has changed in leaps and bounds this time around. I love that while she is still a strong and intelligent character, she manages to maintain a certain air of youth but in certain situations she becomes this dead serious all-business woman that isn't to be trifled with - it provided surprising moments for both me and the other characters at times.
Collin - Brenna's now boyfriend is still my absolute favorite! He's strong, supportive and all around adorable. In this part of the story, we even get a sneak peak into some of his relationships, which causes some major tension but also leads him down a new road in his life.
Rebecca - Brenna's best friend, with Brenna's discovery that Succubus gene carriers are prone to intense sexual urges, I feel that Rebecca has definitely grown up. She's taken control of her life and doesn't feel so ashamed any more. It was great to see this, I always wanted Rebecca to be okay with herself and now that she is a bit more she's become confident and this confidence ends up translating to other aspects of her life!
Succubus Unleashed takes a more intimate look at the inner workings of the clans, and especially the role of the Succubus. We're introduced to very old and familiar iconic pagan rituals that are presided over and sealed by a priestess. While Brenna is initiated into all of this, the reader is opened up to this wonderfully enlightened world where women are revered and respected for their sexuality. I loved this so much! Especially in today's world where women's rights are slowly being stripped away and where women are shamed for being confident in their sexual wants and needs - Kingsolver isn't afraid to embrace the fact that it's a part of our nature and that it's totally okay to relish in it. With this in mind, Kingsolver takes her sex scenes up a notch, which one of the lines in the book perfectly describes as "... the most civilized and discreet orgy you'll ever attend." (loc 1948).
But what really blew me away was Kingsolver's use of realistic science to explain key aspects related to the clan abilities. It's so rare for authors to actually bother to explain things like this, let alone explain it in perfect clarity and have it work so well in the story. Plus it completely spoke to my Biology Major side - I totally squealed and went "I KNOW WHAT THAT DOES!" before she even fully explained it. I love having these light bulb moments while reading.
The Telepathic Clans series has a little bit of everything for everyone. International mystery, romance, political drama, paranormal abilities, epic smack downs and to-die-for shopping trips. I don't think I'll ever be disappointed by what Kingsolver writes, and I'm already eagerly bouncing around waiting for the next in the series!
(reviewed long after purchase)
on June 30, 2012 :
This, the second part of the series is set six months in time after the events of the first book and things have changed. The most interesting of these changes is to the heroine of the series Brenna herself. She isn’t quite the same person she was in the first book really. Before sex was something she didn’t want to think about, have, or be involved in for what happened when she was with someone. Now it has become the core of her life really. She has accepted that she is a Succubus, what she can do, and what that means. But there is a little touch of superiority in her makeup now and, occasionally, that seems to be wrong for the person we met in the first book.
Brenna becomes a bit too focused on clothes and trinkets in this story at the beginning, but things do change and she returns to being more like the person she was in the first book, whom I adore… I chalk up the initial change in who she is to her discovering her inheritance and what that entails more than anything else and considering what that is, it makes some sense in the context of the story. Still, Brenna is the focus of the story, and as such her thoughts and emotions do drive everything, and everyone, around her.
The history of the clans is explored to a great extent in this story, but it isn’t given as a speech or lecture to the reader. It’s a living history through the families that Brenna meets which makes it a much better and interesting read. It is a complicated one, and that I expected, but wow… It is smarting to behold as it develops throughout the story here.
What I felt was the most fascinating moment in this story was Brenna’s learning about the past role of Succubi. The images of that moment, of that past, of what Succubi were in that time and what they are within the world Brenna now lives in really has stuck with me. I would love, if possible, to learn more about that past time and what the Succubi of that time were capable of… and the Goddess that they represent and that Goddess’ beliefs and religion that she bestowed upon her kin.
One question that started in the first book was why exactly Succubi were being targeted by others. We got a partial answer in the first book and the other shoe drops in this book. The resolution of this story was satisfying really, but there are still questions unanswered which need to be answered. It was good to see Brenna and her Succubi friends working together and coming together against this threat to Succubi and Brenna’s family. But, to me, if felt like the final resolution of this threat in the series hasn’t happened. There is something missing in the telling and that I think is very telling.
Speaking of Succubi, I was so very pleased to see more of them appear in this story. The different views they have, but the connections between them are wonderfully done and added much to my enjoyment of this story. It’s important to me that Succubi have families, loves, real ones, and a future. In this story that is very apparent.
What’s more interesting is that the role of the Succubi, how others see them, is a core part of this work as well. It’s a given that some would see them to be sex and nothing more, which is, honestly, a shame in the context these people appear. But the revelation of what their role is within the mythos, tradition, and celebrations of the clans… that was something wonderfully revealed.
Christmas looks like fun and any party with five Succubi in it is… interesting to put it mildly… And while it is fun, and sexy of course, it does reveal where Brenna’s family is, at least mentally, with respect to the world they live in.
This point brings about the core plot of the story and that’s Brenna’s place in her world. It’s not an easy thing for her to deal with, the demands that are being piled upon her, but it is telling that while some of her family is uncouth, ill advised, and just a little jealous in a lot of ways, there are personalities behind them and they aren’t simply cardboard cutouts used to push the story along.
Then you contrast that with those that know her, what she does for them, and she does quite a lot when she realizes a few facts about herself and who she is in this world. The story is one about relationships, but if someone hasn’t one with Brenna, then things are… difficult.
Getting to the relationships, I liked how Brenna and Rebecca continue to grow in their relationship. The secrets revealed about Rebecca, but also one major one about Succubi that changes all of their lives was magnificently done and it made me cry each time another Succubus was taught the gift.
Love is, after all, something that all beings should have. And it’s good to see that gift being given freely. I will admit though that the method of passing it on made me laugh when it first happened and just giggling each time it happened again.
I think that this gift changes a lot of things in this series for a lot, and I mean a lot of characters, Succubi or not. But then there is the question of those that are called Halfs in this world. As much as the gift for the Succubi is wonderful, the need for them remains and it does cause some strife between characters that, honestly, should know better about themselves and the ones they care about.
Brenna’s life with her love Collin… I would call him Brenna’s Eternal really, and for those that know the mythos that I am referred to… He is most definitely one. I found that his relationship with Brenna, and how they match was just beautiful and it brings so much hope to them and the series as a whole.
I do feel that, however, Brenna has changed, and I’m not quite sure I like how she’s changed. Let me be clear that I love her, a bunch, but there are moments when she does something and I have to stop reading and think to myself, no, I don’t quite see why she would say something like that, or do something like that. What possible point is there to her mentioning a topic that has nothing to do with what’s going on right that minute? But then you have to remember that she is, to a point, able to see into the future and then the questions really start coming… Or what she does leads to a point in the story that you didn’t expect and it makes a bit more sense then.
Overall, it is a story that is well told and well written, a nice companion piece to the first book in this series and I expect that many of the questions that are bugging me at the end of this story will be addressed in the next part of the series when it appears…
Another five out of five pitchforks but with one wish for the next book when it appears. Mebby a little less family politics please, and a lot more about the Goddess that all Succubi serve?
Wonderful story, lovely characters, and the Succubi are what I think of as the best kind of Succubi. They bring love, joy and passions to those that believe.
The next book in the series, Trust In Succubus will be released later in 2012 and I, and my page turning tail await that day anxiously…
(reviewed within a week of purchase)