First and foremost, it should be said that this isn’t a work of erotica. That’s not to say that there aren’t some moments in it. There are some really well written scenes between Lily and Ceri that were exactly right in many ways…
But it’s not only that, Lily, while she is a half-succubus, is not a “sex doll” as many writers have Succubi be. That’s refreshing and, truly, a rare thing to see. What’s more fascinating is how she struggles against her nature, with and sometimes without the help of Ceri, and how her personality changes as the story progresses. It’s also interesting how Ceri’s view of her friend, and they are friends, in the story both threatens their relationship and, eventually, strengthens it. Now Lily doesn’t have horns or a tail, she is a half after all and so she looks completely human if of course being very beautiful.
As an aside, the book cover above shows Lily on the left and Ceri on the right. She knows what she is, and in knowing she also fights against her Succubus side. She’s been through hell in her past and finding Ceri, a woman that her powers don’t work on, gives her the strength to be more than what she was becoming before.
That brings us to the heroine of the story, Ceri. It’s important to me at least that characters that are the core of a story make you want to care about them. Now I cared about Lily when she first appeared and there were moments in the story were I did, actually, fear for her. Ceri on the other hand, I didn’t fear for. She is someone that seems to have their stuff together, save for some moments of indecision at the beginning of the story. As she grows in character as the story is told, she becomes not simply a “person that bad things happen to.”
That’s important because you can only threaten someone so many times before you, as a reader, expect her to get into a mess and then get herself out of it again. You don’t expect them to fail, and Ceri does fail now and again, but her friends help her to figure out her life and world and move on again in a positive direction.
I’ll get to the other characters that interested me in a moment as I want to comment on the universe in which they live. Their world, which is set in our current time frame, isn’t our world. Not by any stretch of the imagination. There was an event in the past that unleashed magic into the world and through that all sorts of mythical, supernatural and similar beings have appeared. There are Succubi of course, but also vampires, witches, zombies, and all kinds of other beings which, in this world, fit the setting really well. I found it easy to place myself into the worldview that the author has created. As I noted, it isn’t our world. There has been massive changes that have occurred there and the repercussions still vibrate to the time this story is set in,
Now, that alone is fascinating, but what is more so is that the world has a clear set of rules that all being that use magic have to abide by, and the author has laid out the system very clearly and makes it well worth understanding. I also liked that the understanding of those rules wasn’t an info dump but became a core part of the story. The point of the story, or the goal of what Ceri and Cheryl are trying to discover connects characters and events in a tight web. That web, if you pay attention and you should when reading this work, makes so much sense by the end of the story that you wonder how long the author spent thinking about the universe.
It must have been ages…
I also can see the care that has been invested in the supporting characters as well. Even the smallest appearance of one of them means something, and it’s important to pay attention to them because they do have a bearing on where the story goes and what happens to Ceri. It is fascinating to read of their past and present and watch as they are fit into the world that she lives in.
Possibly the most interesting to me are Twill, a Fairy that is almost completely a mystery. That’s a good thing as following her through the story and what she does to help, or confuse Ceri at times is amusing at times, but does make you consider what’s going on and remind you that you don’t know everything as the story moves on. Then comes Carter Fleming, a mystery is his own right, and he is one that I would love to know more about. There is something going on in his past and I’d love to know what that is. I also find the transformation of Cheryl Tennant through the story amazing in taking her from where she starts to where she ends up. Just an amazing series of characters that add so much to the story as a whole…
The author has indicated that this is the first book in a series. The next work, called Demon’s Moon will be released soon and a third book is also being fleshed out as well. I can hardly wait for the story to continue. Not just for Lily, who is just fascinating to me, but Ceri and all of the people that surround her… I am quite sure that they are all in for some… interesting times to come…
I’m giving this work five pitchforks out of five.
It’s fun, interesting, well written, has a Succubus that I want to care about in it and a heroine and world that are just so well fleshed out that I almost expect to see both Ceri and Lily walking down the street someday…
Well worth your time to read and I hope that you do! Much thanks to Niall for answering some of my questions on his site, please do visit it for lots of background on the characters and world they live in!
It’s interesting to see how other people see the concept of Succubi and Incubi. More so when they take their ideas and turn them into stories and novels. Occasionally I don’t agree with the ideas, but I do give them a chance to give me story that keeps my interest in spite of what the concepts might be.
And this time, this is one of those ideas that is tempting, interesting, but just falls short of give me enough of the world that I want to see…
The story begins with Trent on his way home seeing a woman in trouble and rescuing her. It turns out that the woman, Anastasia, isn’t what she appears to be. She is a Succubus, and over the course of the story uses her powers to take control of Trent, his wife Nancy and their son Rick.
Her control is over the men and through them Nancy who does her best to try and find a way to overcome the control that Anastasia has over her family. But the cost of that might be more than she realizes it will be.
I won’t spoil the end of the story, nor anything else about the work, but suffice it to say that there is a battle between Anastasia and Nancy and what happens to her family changes their lives forever.
I have to say that the story didn’t quite work for me as well as I had hoped it would. There were a lot of sex scenes in the work, but the connections between them were not enough to hold my interest as I had hoped.
It strikes me that a story is not sex alone when it comes to Succubi and Incubi. There must be more than that for a work to take hold of me and make it worth my time to read.
This author came close to making this work here, but the sex seemed to be more important than the world that the Succubi and Incubi exist in and we get but a small taste of it which was truly disappointing to me.
I should note that there are moments of incest in the story, it’s not the focus of the work by far, but readers should be aware of it…
I’m giving this work 3 pitchforks out of five.
Too short, the universe of the Succubi and Incubi needed more exploration. I understand that it is the first book in a series, but really there should have been so much more background shared by far.
Time to share a book I found with an Incubus within its pages… Now they are but one part of the overall story that the author has written, but they are… interesting…
A quick, hot read, but it did leave me wanting more than we see in the work…
The work is a series of short flashes that tell the story of the du Tout brothers and the women that come into their lives. In the story about Beau, a pair of half succubi appear as minor characters in the story for a sex scene. The connection between the succubi is an interesting one and does make the scene a lot hotter than I expected it to be when it began.
The other story that interested me, about Rien, the incubus of the family, had him being asked by Lilith to go to her Daughter, Samanya, and make her half millennium birthday one she would never forget. The story was full of teasing and anticipation that cumulated in a deliciously naughty scene between Rien and Samanya.
What I found interesting was that there was some tension between Lilith and Rien that wasn’t really explained and I would have loved to know more about that.
The works did connect together by the end of the story, which was nice to see as some anthologies like this never connect the dots together which is unsatisfying. So overall it was a good read, but the incubus and succubi are the focus for me of course…
And so I am giving this story three pitchforks out of five.
The succubi are not quite “real” enough for me, Rien made up for that, but there could have been so much more about him we could have learned really I think…
As always, the individual stories were too short for my liking and I would have loved to know more about the characters and their world…
Perhaps next time I will…
I would best describe this work as a romantic supernatural crime drama, and an excellent introduction to the characters and worlds within this story.
If you purchase this work, you should be aware that it is the first in a series of stores that this author is planned to release, the next book in the series being called Demon Among Wolves, the release date, as yet, is unknown.
The story revolves around a Succubus named Azra who has a rather large problem. She is told by her kind that she cannot find love as it is not for beings like them, but she continues to try and find that love regardless of the pain and suffering she inflicts upon herself.
Azra makes her home on the mortal world in Atlanta Georgia, and spends as much time as she can there. However, her search for love has meant that she has left a trail of bodies in the city behind her. As a result she is made to face judgement in front of a tribunal of demons that sentence her to remain there, her needs slowly breaking down her will. At the same time, a detective named Raif Lungren is investigating the deaths.
Azra makes some errors in judgement that bring her and Raif face to face. They are attracted to each other and through that attraction, Azra learns Raif’s secret, and that secret comes to threaten both of their lives.
That’s all I am going to reveal about the story in this review, I think that the above summarizes the main character’s situation well.
I found the writing quite good, the drama wasn’t over the top, and the plot followed along well from place to place. I like the use of Atlanta in the story, the descriptions of places were well done and I felt like the author knew the places well.
Arza is an interesting example of a Succubus, she has a demonic form that isn’t all human, but has a human side that fits well for her as a mortal. I found the use of her Succubus powers when she was with Raif quite original. I didn’t expect the changes when they came and the confusion on both sides, Arza and Raif, was an interesting layer placed on them both.
There is a “baddy” in the work named Tarmin, who is very evil as you would expect any demon to be. But I was less impressed with him than I was with Tatianna, a lesser being in the demon planes that I think is just fascinating. Not just in what she did in this work, but what she could become in the future stories to come.
The story did leave many questions unresolved, as I would expect the first story in a series to do, but that didn’t bother my enjoyment of the story as a whole. I thought the work was well polished, that the world was well constructed, and that I found that I cared about the characters.
I’m going to give this work 4 pitchforks out of five.
I would have liked a bit more about characters such as Tatianna to round out the story, as there were many questions about her and the other members of the Demon Council that were unanswered in this story. But there will be another chapter in the story to be told and I await that with a swisch in my tail…
Natalie is the Succubus of the story, and she is not quite what you would call a typical traditional Succubus. She isn’t from hell, although her mother was a nymphomaniac and her father was an Incubus. She has pointed ears which she is forever trying to hide in her hair, the colour of which we never learn in the story. She is green eyed of course, likes red, in just about everything including clothing and her car, but she has no horns or tail in the story nor wings of any kind. In the story as well, she is more of a fighter, using knives and swords and defending herself in hand to hand combat, which for a Succubus is something different than what is usual.
She is however on a mission that will decide whether she will stay on the Earth or be pulled into Hell. Someone stole a Hell key and has hid it away and she has been sent to find it. Arriving at an odd place called the Golden Anchor Inn, she settles in to touch every single item in the place. I mean by that that she has to touch everything in the Inn save for a few specific items to find what that key has been hidden in.
She comes face to face with Peter, a Nephilim that is described as looking sort of like James Bond in a way in his looks. They come to an agreement about the key and they go off in their own directions to find it…
But time is running out and there will be surprises for them both.
Natalie, I have to say, wasn’t exactly what I was expecting so far as a Succubus goes in the story. There was a bit more violence around her than I would have expected, we didn’t actually see her using her Succubus powers much, if at all, and that was for me a little disappointing.
Peter was as well somewhat jarring in his sort of condescending attitude at times, but as an opponent to Natalie he was well suited to counter her moves with ones of his own.
I won’t spill who wins the contest in the end, but I will say that for me this story could have been a lot longer than it was. I realize that the author did this as a writing exercise, but they note that they became “hooked” on Natalie as a character and would like to revisit her and I agree with that absolutely. They have really only scratched the surface of this world and with all of the background they have in it, it wouldn’t be that hard to get into another story about her.
But if they do, I would appreciate it if she was less introspective and more action or at least a bit more active with her Succubus abilities than the teasing little glimpses that we see in this story.
The author’s writing style is very good and I was taken out of the tale only at one point where the word “dinner” was spelt as “diner.” That’s a small editing miss, and I can ignore it, but where it happens in the story it was a shame as it was moving quickly towards the climax.
I can recommend this work as an good example of a head-strong, almost human Succubus that is fighting to survive in a world that isn’t doing her a lot of favours.
I’m going to give it four pitchforks out of five.
Longer would have been nice, a little more of the Succubus that Natalie is and it would have been a good cup of coffee length book and would have gotten a five. I hope that the author returns back to this universe soon…
There are two things that I like… One is curling up with a good book… The other is looking up from finishing it and realizing that I spent seven hours reading and didn’t stop once. This work gets both of those check-marked off… Another engrossing story from the Ceri universe that is lovely in every way.
The story itself builds in an interesting way in that we get hints about what might be happening through most of the story, but the actual revelation of what the threat is, how that threat is coming to pass, and what can be done about it, are kept away until the right moment to reveal them. I thought that seeing the way this universe works, especially in its government and how it guards its secrets, was fascinating.
The characters grow, the world is more and more detailed, and most of all, the underlying plot, which I will not spoil, made a lot of sense. I didn’t see the resolution of the plot at all, I had an idea, but it didn’t turn out the way I expected. But the climax was everything I could have asked for. You created a world within a world for the weres and what they have as their own society which was well explained and brought a lot of questions from the pervious story to their logical ends… bravo!
The book itself mostly focuses on werewolves in this universe and the author has constructed a society and structure for it that serves well for the characters to live in but also doesn’t feel like something that was added as an afterthought to the story. It has a core relevance to the book, it’s important, and you need to pay attention to it. I thought it was interesting that even within a society were, generally, all of the characters are weres of some kind, the social structure broke into small groups with their own opinions of other groups they were attached to, by biology at least if little else sometimes.
I can’t honestly call any of the characters in the work minor ones really… That is to say, there is no point at which you can look at one and think that having them there was a bad idea. What’s more interesting is that minor characters from the first book grow into major ones in this book and vice versa to an extent. In doing so the mythos of this universe is enriched and it makes reading the work, and the series, more gripping as you care about the individual characters more throughout the book.
Lily, my favourite half-Succubus was central in the story again, which I enjoyed… I loved the way that Lily grew in this story and how her relationship with Ceri is progressing. I think that I like this smarter and more… passionate Lily as she comes to realize, and I hope, to help Ceri realize what she can do. I also liked that we learned some of the fears that Lily has through the story, and also how much she loved Ceri and would, really I think, if it came down to it, die for her, which I hope never happens in the series.
Ceri, the heroine of the series, I also think grew up a lot in the course of the story, though there were two moments where I was a little squeamish at what happened to her. But she didn’t break and I think that in the end, you have to place your characters into jeopardy… and Ceri seems to be into a lot of that doesn’t she? Ceri is hurt, there is no doubt of it, but she pushes through that hurt in order to battle the evil that wants to turn the werewolves to its goals. That shows a great deal of character in herself, but, I think that it also shows that Ceri is vulnerable in other ways which I expect the author to explore in the future.
Solidly written overall, it kept my attention throughout, and I eagerly turned the pages wanting to see what would happen next. There are some sexual scenes in the book, but like the first book they aren’t the point of the work, but endeavour to solidify the relationships between various characters.
Lily showed some of her Succubus powers in the work, but she didn’t go so far over the top that I didn’t like it when she did so. What was interesting, and happens somewhat in each book so far, is that Lily treats her powers and her relationships with others in the book as just being the way things are. However, and this is the part that I like, you can sense how proud Lily is with Ceri after a battle with what she did… mind you it makes Lily just ever so slightly horny when Ceri displays her power. Then again our Lily is connected to someone that is very special in this universe and that is becoming more clear as each book comes to its end.
Lots of questions left at the end, but that’s just fine as, of course, book three has appeared with its own trials and tribulations for our heroines and friends… I saw a lot of foreshadowing of what the next book will be about, and if I am right, then Lily and Ceri are going to be in a lot more trouble personally next time… and honestly, if that trouble reveals more about Lily, then I’ll be okay with that…
I’m giving this work, like the first book, five pitchforks out of five.
The work expands on the first book well, the characters develop in ways that are a joy to see, and most of all, the story is a gripping one. I also liked that there are some openings in the plot for the story to continue smoothly into the next book, which will have Lily facing her own demons in a lot of ways…
All are the marks of an excellent story teller and I look forward to reading the next book in the series…
It’s very hard not to spoil much of this book, so you’ll have to forgive the vagueness of some of my thoughts about it.
One of the things that I have liked about Niall’s writing is that he’s not afraid to build suspense in his stories, but not in telling you something that is important, but showing you something that is important with some other, not so much so, things. A little misdirection in a murder-mystery, which really is the core of this book, is not a bad thing at all.
I was taken by the lengths to which Ceri would go to protect Lily. Not just in the sense of comforting her when that was needed, but also to take risks that might, possibly in the future, come to haunt them both. I did have moments in the story, especially in the first moments of it, when I wondered about Ceri’s mental state at times. It was explained well when it needed to be, but even with that, I felt like something else was going on between Ceri and Lily, and it has throughout all of the stories so far. The thing of it is, to puts a lot of tension between the two, builds on that a lot in this story, but when they have to come to a resolution on their relationship, out of need more than anything else, Ceri didn’t do the easy thing and that made me respect her as a character more.
I also found Ceri’s past coming back to haunt her in this story was well done and actually more than I expected. I felt that how Ceri dealt with the horrors inflicted on her in the second book seemed too pat. That is to say, that there didn’t seem to be any long lasting effects on her from her experience. That came to an abrupt change in this work. She suffers, and I can see the how and why of it, but when it comes, it’s not something that is brushed aside by her. It’s effects are real in that there is emotional and mental harm that Ceri suffered and she starts to be effected by that.
Lily’s past comes back to haunt her in this story, and it breaks her at one point. That was, honestly, the saddest thing to see happen. I understand why it had to, I know that in the end it serves to get Lily to a point she needs to be at, but, it wasn’t the easiest thing to read when it happened.
Lily’s father appears in this story, and I won’t say much about him save that I would have liked to know more about him, and Lily’s mom for that matter, than we do. Yes there are moments where Lily’s past through her parents is shown, but it’s fleeting and I had the oddest feeling that a lot was left out to be revealed in the next story. Lily’s father was, mostly, what I expected him to be. The story itself, and Lily herself, make him out to be quite the evil being… I expect to see him again… soon.
The threat that Ceri and Lily face is well wrapped in darkness and you don’t get a good sense of how bad it is, and who is involved until Carter, one of the main characters in all of Niall’s stories and an important person to Ceri and Lily, opens a door to them, and to the reader, on a part of the world that has been hinted at before, but never really revealed. That places another problem into Ceri’s universe she had to deal with, and considering that they threaten someone she loves, namely Lily, I was surprised at her response to them. I don’t think I would have been quite so… nice with them.
It’s good to see many of the characters in the previous stories appear again in this one. More so that their appearance means something to the story and it isn’t just a name-dropping exercise. One thing that I have learned about this series is that you should pay attention to all of the characters in it, no matter how small their roles. They will appear when you least expect them to and then their reason for being in the series makes you stop and wonder why you didn’t see that when they first appeared.
As in all of his previous works, the writing is solid, the characters are well rounded, and the plots within the work are well thought out. The science of the magic in this world remains solidly grounded in rules as well, which adds to the overall plot. There isn’t any point where a solution is offered or a threat appears, where it makes no sense with the rest of the universe that has been created before. The past is remembered by the characters and that I think is wonderful to see. It makes the story, and the series, more like “reality” and, of course, reality is what you make of it isn’t it?
At the end of the work, I was quite satisfied with the resolution of the plot, at least the main one, which resolved several ongoing themes in the series. I could see a few dangling plot lines that will lead, I am sure, into the next book in the series, which I am fine with as well. I still have a lot of questions about Succubi in general in this world, but then there are other beings, like Twill, the fairy of the series, which we know little about. But then a good series shouldn’t give you everything you want in one moment, but sprinkle knowledge and understanding throughout.
And this series certainly does that…
The second story in the book, Black Moonlight, actually had a moment in it that brought me to tears which I think is a good indication of how much I have become invested in the characters in the series. Set during the events of this book, it gives us a look into part of the werewolf Michael’s life, as fleeting as it is. That’s not a bad thing as what we do see answers a lot of questions about this character and, at least for me, makes me wonder about his and Ceri’s ongoing relationship in the third book.
Niall has written some other short stories set in this universe that he has published elsewhere in the web. I can’t quite decide which of these I like the best, but I hope that, eventually, they appear as their own book because they add a lot to the entire series and I think that they haven’t been seen by a lot of his readers…
I’m giving this work, like the first two in the series, five pitchforks out of five.
Some answers given, some hints of what is to come appear. All wrapped in excellent writing, characters and stories that are the mark of a talented author that cares about their works…
And I have no doubt that the next book in the series, Dragon’s Blood will add so much more to this universe. I can’t wait to see what happens next…
I was quite happy to see that one of my favorite authors released a small collection of short stories from the series he has been writing. I have wanted to see these stories in their own collection for some time now, I have to admit that I have a small connection to it as well in that I sort of gave Niall the idea for the cover, so you can blame me for that if you'd like.
I also want to make it very clear that I have purchased every book that Niall has released as some might wonder if my views are a bit colored on the series. Mind you, a series with a smart Succubus in it will always get my attention, but one with the world, characters and writing to match? That's just icing on the cake...
If you haven't read the series so far, this work is a good taste of some of the characters in the series, but also Niall's talents in telling a story which personally I enjoy very much. I'm going to touch on each of the tales here a little bit and try not to spoil it too much...
Bedtime Story: One of the characters in the series that we actually know very little about is Lily's father. He appears in the third book of the series, but we know get to know much about him and, honestly, if you read the book you would have a poor opinion of him. This story however, I have to say was loving, beautiful and gave us a peek at him being a father. He loves Lily, cares about her, and wants to see her grow up. Lily is only a child in this story and she is being read a bedtime story, but the cuteness of little Lily is so very much reflected in the Lily that I have come to love and for that I am grateful to have the chance to see her like this.
Birthdays: This was, for me at least, the saddest story in the collection. It tells of Ceri's birthdays at several points in time. Two of them are happy in a way, but it is the third one that tells so much about her and how absolutely lost she was after her parents passed away. More interesting is that it also, I think, foreshadows something to come in the series and is well worth reading and remembering for the future.
Black Lily: It is sometimes hard to remember that Lily wasn't the person that she became after she met Ceri. The story shows us a moment in that Lily's life where she wasn't happy, didn't like herself and most of all, didn't think she could be more. It's important to see where Lily came from to appreciate what she has made of herself. This story shows a lot of that and it's important to know.
Redemption: If Black Lily was the dark of Lily's life, then this story was the first glimmer of hope. It tells of the first time that Lily met Carter Fleming, a character in the series that gave Lily a chance, put her in touch with Ceri, and, most of all, is a focal point in the series for much of the personal growth that both Lily and Ceri have gone through. This story is vital to understanding why Carter makes the decisions he does in the series, and it explains much of his character.
Nightshade: On it's own an inspired piece of writing. It involves two, and I hate to call them this, minor characters in the series, John Radcliffe and Kate Middleshaw who are police detectives that deal with supernatural crimes. It gives a look into both of their lives away from Ceri and her problems or their having to deal with crime within the series itself. More interesting is that while it does tell of John's home life with his wife, it also tells of his fears and frustrations as well. It also opens a small window on Kate's life in a way that I didn't expect from the story until the end when it was revealed. I have to wonder if both of these characters will come to have a more central place in future stories in the series... I hope so as they have much to say I think.
I'm giving this work, five pitchforks out of five.
It's not enough to just toss out stories in a universe for the sake of doing so. The stories here matter in the overall scheme of things and whether you have read the series or not, it's time well spent in a world that is cared about.
And that, really, is what matters most of all.
Please do read this collection and take a peek into this universe... I think you will not be disappointed in doing so...
It’s very hard not to spoil the entire story in this review. The overarching questions about Ceri begin to be answered, and the answers are, quite simply, unexpected. What Ceri had gone through during the story of Demon’s Moon really comes to hit her very hard and it’s somewhat disheartening to see the amount of pain and fear that she carries with her.
A pivotal moment in the first book returns to threaten Ceri, and in ways that are unexpectedly violent in nature. Whether or not that threat disappears is, I think, something that is yet to be seen. We learn a great deal about how this universe works outside of the small parts of England that we have seen in the series so far. The hints about China, Australia and the United States really ground the series very well and make it, if not easier, more possible to send Ceri and Lily to new places to see.
It’s good to see many characters from the series returning again for this story, but also that they haven’t remained static since the last time we have seen them. They have made choices, lived lives, and, occasionally, made choices that have changed them forever. What’s more, one particular character, who seemed to be nothing really special earlier in the series, is now very much a part of Ceri’s life, and has given her answers that she never expected.
How those answers change her life, her relationship with Lily, and her world, I think will be amazing to watch unfold. Ceri’s secret, and who it draws into her life, was completely unexpected. I didn’t see the reveal coming until it happened, but there are hints along the way about it. The trick, and the author managed this well, was that what the hints are is vague enough and innocent enough that some readers might miss them… you shouldn’t.
Lily is of course a large part of this story as well. But her father also appears, an in doing so quite a lot about Succubi and Incubi in this universe are revealed. Again, I won’t spoil that, but, the reasons and the effect that Ceri has on them, is completely understandable in the mythos that the author has created and within the rules as well. I liked that Lily grows in her power, and that Ceri is a great part of that transformation. I have the feeling that in doing so, this will come to cause a problem for Ceri and Lily soon. I’m just not sure how exactly.
There are three new characters that appear in this story, and they are possibly the most mysterious and powerful ones that have appeared so far. I have to say the most mysterious one, the one that connects most deeply to Ceri… I want to know more about her than we do. I’m hoping that Cheri will meet her somewhere that allows them to discover each other. I think there is something important to come from that relationship, but I am not sure if it is for good, bad, or indifference…
But that’s the core of this series isn’t it? It’s the relationships between the characters that matter, it’s what drives the series forward, and it makes it well worth the time to read and enjoy. The moments of what happens to them, what happens as a result, and where things go from there is the icing on the cake when you have the characters to support the journey…
And it’s a really, really fascinating one this time…
I’m giving this work, five pitchforks out of five.
Once again, a riveting story that uses all of the past in the series to build upon, but not to give you all of the answers. You are left with questions that you hope will be answered in another story to come… and the one after that, and the one after that…
The mark of a good author is to leave you wanting more. This author has that gift within them…
The fifth book in the series, Distrubia will be released March 3rd, 2012, and I can hardly wait to see what comes next…
My page turning tail awaits…
The story of Ceri and Lily sort of takes a diversion in this chapter of their lives. They find themselves learning to be part of the police force that they have been involved with from time to time in the series and in becoming more involved, things become somewhat of a train wreck for them.
I can see how both of them gaining a certain amount of “respectability” would be helpful considering what has dropped into their lives in the past, and where it might go in the future. There is of course some police work for the pair, much of it at times hilariously funny. But also the book shows just how much both of them have grow as characters as well.
Ceri is more centred in this story, she seems to have some of her life figured out, especially her relationship with Lily and her werewolf mate Michael as well. Lily has gained more understanding of herself, who and what she is, and more interestingly to me. made a relationship with her father. That I found to be especially interesting when talk in the book came to Lily being “owned” by Ceri and what that might mean and do to Lily’s father… I see something coming of this in the future, if I’m not sure what precisely.
Ceri learns an important point of her past as well, which really opens the door to several questions I have about one particular, not so minor, character in the series. If that goes where I think it does, that being their hesitation with regards to Ceri… That will be a moment to come when that truth is revealed between them and it might change Ceri… a lot.
The core of the story is dark. Very dark. I have to admit that at certain points I was squeamish over things that happened, or were remembered to have happened. I understand that the seeder side of the universes exists, we’ve seen hints of it in the past, but the moments were hard for me to get through even knowing that it was a story alone.
The resolution of the core story, the bringing of justice to those that deserved it in whatever means it came to pass was violent as well, but considering the source of the “justice” that had to be expected. But the mindless anger, rage and transference of that towards others that were not part of what happened… it seemed a bit off for some reason to me. Not that the character that was responsible for the actions wasn’t the right sort of being to do so… It just seemed slightly over the top to me… But then insanity will have that effect won’t it?
I liked the looks we were given into werewolf society. Michael’s father and family were more than I expected them to be and the climax of that plot thread was perfect in many ways… I admit that I cried when it was over for Michael and his brothers for their loss. It’s important to give characters like Michael a past, a reason for their lives, and a reason to live. I think he has that now with Ceri and I hope that leads to something wonderful for them both.
One of the more telling things that happens in this work is that Lily is forced to face her past head on. While that’s hard to bear at times, and really it is, Ceri and Ceri alone is enough for Lily to get through it all, push it aside, and turn her back on it for the woman she loves. That’s a victory for Lily and I think that will help to make her a stronger character in the future.
We get some very interesting hints about Twill in this book and I really, really want to know more about her that we have seen. She’s a mystery in Ceri’s life, not that is a bad thing, but the massive hints and suggestions that appear when Ceri looks into the Fae world… Dearest Twill you have some explaining to do my dear and when you do I wonder what Ceri will think of you then…
There is an undertone in the story which focuses on the question of, I think, doing the right thing for the wrong reasons, or the wrong thing for the right reasons. Ceri makes some ill advised choices, but that makes her human. Lily does as well, as so many others in this work do. But the thing of it is, given the chance to see right from wrong, and then using that knowledge to fix what isn’t right… That makes for an interesting read and, more so, a lot of character growth from the beginning to the end of this story.
As always, the work is well written, holds you in the universe tightly, and keeps the pages turning to the very last one. Of course that is the problem isn’t it? You get to the last page and need to see what comes next…
This work is well worth five pitchforks out of five.
Niall has expanded the universe in many interesting ways, offered some closure to a few questions that have cropped up in the series, but also left me wanting more…
And that’s never a bad thing…
The sixth book in the series, Hammer of Witches will be released very, very shortly…
My page turning tail awaits it as always…
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…
Brenna is a beautiful woman with a lot of issues and torments in her life. Her parents died in a plane crash years ago, leaving her alone and having to suffer through a life of foster parents. The bigger problem is that she knows, has known since she was a child, that she has special gifts. She can do things that “normal” people cannot do. But more concerning is that her self image has been wrecked by a spate of past relationships which have made her believe that she isn’t beautiful. Her life since she lost her parents, has been focused on making herself better, and making something of her life.
But don’t talk to her about her sex life. She hasn’t got one, or at least one that doesn’t involve her lovers falling asleep moments after having sex, which isn’t good for a girl’s self-esteem.
One night she finds someone like her and helps them to escape from people trying to harm them. In doing so, she enters a world of telepaths, a world of mythical powers and abilities, a world in which things are not quite as perfect as they are meant to be.
There is so much to like about this book, and truly the couple of nits I have about it are really minor and hardly worth mentioning. So I’ll get those out of the way first. There is a moment in the story where Brenna is attacked and things are quite confused. A shot is fired, but it is unclear, at least to me, who was getting shot at that moment as it refers to a man and in the next sentence a woman feels the impact. I had to reread that part of the work three times to figure out that it was two different events happening at almost the same instant connected by one attacker’s actions. The only other thing that I noticed was that on several conversations, the closing quotes of a character speaking were not there. That’s a minor problem and it does not reflect on the writer’s ability to build this world, create the characters, and draw you into the story and keep you there.
I normally will read a hundred page book in about an hour, more or less. I needed three hours to complete this work, and in all honesty I wanted to read more when it was over. The thing about this story id that there is a lot of background to cover, a world to build, and to give purpose and solidness to the characters here. There isn’t a single character in the story, major, minor or just passing through never to be seen again, that hasn’t got personality to them. The explanation of what are called “The Gifts” in this story takes some time to understand and keep straight in your mind as you read. Thankfully the author gives a summary of the powers and abilities at the end of the work, and that becomes very useful at times.
From the title of the work, being a Succubus, or having the powers of a Succubus, is one of the Gifts, and a rare one at that. Still, over the course of the story, we meet, or hear of, at least ten of them. Considering that the telepathic clans, as they are known, have several thousand members in them, it’s not unreasonable to have that many appear. Adding to that the need for the new Succubus in town, Brenna, to meet them and learn from them, that kind of has to happen. I’ll get back to some of them in a bit here.
One thing that I noticed in the story is that a lot of the powers and abilities are tied into emotions, both good and bad ones, and how they alter people’s “souls.” The concept of souls in this work, what they look like and how they are perceived fascinates me and I have questions about them. The main one being, can a soul be truly seen? Questions abound in this work about that…
Brenna meets her extended family, which are heart warming and heart breaking scenes. Callie has to be my favourite of all of them by far. She reminds me a lot of my own mother in her manners and how she spoke to me at times. Those that know me will understand that I don’t say that lightly, and for me to express that means that she is, really and truly, special. Her grandfather Seamus is an amazing man. At first I wasn’t quite sure that I liked him, but at a critical point in the story… he becomes more. That really put him, and his family, into a better light that I expected them to be.
The one character that is, truly, a core point of the work is Rebecca. She is just about perfect in everyway that I can think of. She’s smart, she cares about Brenna, and their relationship is something beyond special. When the two of them were together, the story just lit up and it was even more of a joy to read.
There is a love interest of course, and his name is Collin. The thing about him that I liked was that he changed from really a person that I didn’t like at all in the beginning, to… well, I’ll put it this way, if the series doesn’t wind up with the two of them getting married I will be disappointed to no end… But I expect not. The change in his personality is well done, he is more than he seems at first, and that really makes him so much better.
There are several Succubi as I have mentioned. Cindy and Siobhan bring a view of Succubi that makes sense for them in this universe. It’s not harsh or unrealistic and I liked that quite a lot. They are, for lack of a better term, well seasoned Succubi and through them we get a glimpse of what Brenna could be, or might have been like. Irina is the innocent “new-born” Succubus that enters a world that she doesn’t understand, but needs to much like Brenna. I can see them as being sisters in a way. Samantha… Well, I’ll get back to her a little later, but she intrigues me and I don’t feel like we have learned, or spent, enough time with her.
Now as this work is the opening of a new series, what would I like to see in a future story in it?
Samantha. I will not spoil who she is, but, honestly there has to be a way for her to return, I have some thoughts about that, but expressing them here would spoil a lot of the story, so I won’t. Still, she’s a fascinating character in her own right and we really don’t seen enough of her. Bring her hack somehow and let’s see where she goes?
The author left several plot lines unresolved in the story, which I expected since this is only book one. But unlike some that I have read, they are a few, very specific ones. The question about Rebecca and Brenna and their future is something I want to see explored and the dangling question that connects to that I think can be a complete focus of one story alone.
It’s not a spoiler to say that we find out that Brenna is strong. Perhaps a bit too overpowered, but in this universe she has to be honestly in order for the plot to continue to its conclusion. Her darker side is something that I expect will be explored in the future, but I trust that the author will not go about this in the stereotypical “evil version of Brenna appears.”
Oh, one last odd thought. Why is it that most of the Succubi have a name that ends with an ‘a’? Oddly enough this is something that happens a lot with modern Succubi stories and I have to ponder that sometime…
And yes, I get the bemusement over my own name. Speaking of which, if ever a Succubi in a story reminded me of myself, Brenna fills that role quite well.
After all, isn’t the most important thing to care about others regardless of what happens to yourself?
Well written, a story that kept me turning the pages and wanting to know more. Characters that were real with their faults, mistakes, and feet of clay. Powerful yes, but having power and using it does not mean that you have all the answers… In this story, finding the answers drives the tale and makes it better for that.
A full five out of five pitchforks.
I can’t give a higher rating save to add that you really should buy this book and follow this series.
I would like to give the author special thanks for providing the first three chapters of their story for free on their site, the link is at the top of this review. As well, I thank them for sending me a copy of this book…
For that kindness, I will be ever grateful.
I would never have missed this for the world…
There is an underlying theme in this work that revolves around the question of, what frightens you the most? There are some very specific things that Ceri sees in this story that tell a great deal about her. Some of which, if you have been paying attention to the series are quite obvious, but there are some that are much less so which was interesting. More so, the being that Ceri and her friends face reflects and in a way, lives for the application of those fears to gain more power for itself.
The thing of that is, while that threat is faced, the world around Ceri begins to come apart at the seams. It reminded me a lot of the 1950s in America where there was a Communist around every corner and everyone was a spy. The sheer level of paranoia that builds up and around Ceri is really something to see.
What makes that worse is that there are strings being pulled and in that larger questions remain at the end of the work that will, I am quite sure, return again in the series. I am expecting that the question of “who do you trust?” will be an ongoing theme from here till that mystery is solved fully…
I rather liked Ceri and Lily’s comment at one point in the story about how they seem to always be involved in the worst possible situations over and over again… It made me pause and wonder, quite seriously, what it would be like for them to have absolutely nothing of consequence happen at some point in the series… It would never happen of course, but the thought itself was amusing to me at least…
I think this particular story is the most fast paced of the series in that you are taking from place to place and event to event without having a lot of time to reflect on what just happened. In a way that is telling in what Lily and Ceri go through, and that was a nice touch to the telling as well.
At one point Ceri confronts an angel in her home, and, to be honest, I thought that it was the funniest thing I have ever read. The angel is someone that I do hope we see again really as they have quite a lot of personality and would be a pleasure to see return once more. Reflecting against that, the glimpses of the underground of the vampires, the inter workings of the military and government, the inherent fears in them all and the events, mainly bad ones for several characters in the story, are driving forces to the story. It is a shame that in all of that a stupid mistake takes one of them away forever…
There is of course tension in this work from the main story, but as well, there is a bit of tension in Ceri discovering her nature as a Domme and that nature coming out in force as the story progresses. I have to say that I understand that Ceri is changing, has changed and will change further… I am perhaps a bit saddened by the loss of the innocent Ceri for the more worldly one that we see now.
Ceri has grown in her own skin in more than one way as has Lily. There is a bit more known about Twill which was nice and the relationships with Michael, Ceri’s werewolf mate were wonderful to see. He really does come into his own in this story and it is nice to see that he does.
While all of the characters I have come to enjoy appear, the thing that I discovered was that they all have something bothering them and that in a way is Ceri herself. The question is, what happens when she finally becomes who or what she seems to be transforming into. There isn’t a lot physically that happens in this book, but, mentally and emotionally, as I have said before, she has changed…
What that amounts to will be something I will be looking forward to seeing in the future…
Wonderfully told as always, Niall didn’t disappoint and so another five pitchforks of course…
One of the things that must appear is some kind of conflict. In this work there is conflict from without, within, and between that conspire to drive people together and at the same moment draw them apart once more. There is the world view, the family view, and then the soul within that all make themselves known. The question is, however, if in the end all of them can be healed after going through the events that happen.
The one thing about this book I think that makes it more interesting is while the plot revolves around conflict between the clans and the ramifications of that, family, specifically Rebecca’s place in the family, really is the core of the story. To be honest I was more interested in seeing where her story was going than the overarching plot because, to me at least, the relationships and how they all change over time, was more riveting.
But there is war and in with that comes some political machinations that went in a direction that I didn’t expect it to. I do have to wonder about what exactly it does mean for the future course of the series however. Specifically one character’s comment that she’d rather enthrall everyone and be made Queen, but that’s another story isn’t it?
As part of the war that develops, we see someone appear that is… well, sort of the exact opposite of who and what the Succubi are in this series and to be honest I wasn’t all that upset with how little they appeared in the story. It does bring up in my mind the question of if there are those that believe they are Succubi and act like the myths tell, why isn’t that a real concern for the Succubi themselves?
There is a lot of foreshadowing in the story as well, and you can blame Rebecca and Brenna for that. While there isn’t really anything clear to point at, the moments depicted where… troubling in many ways. The aftermath and how that changes Brenna’s view of Rebecca is shattering as well. There’s a kind of fatalism in Rebecca that I had never quite understood in the series and now, finally, I can make sense of it all.
There are some moments in the story where I couldn’t help but cry. What made those parts of the story so hard to read wasn’t that they were about Brenna, even though some of the things that happen to her are dreadfully sad. They were about Rebecca and what happens to her, the gifts she is given by Brenna’s family, and, finally, the answer to a question that she’s had all of her life.
One of the lovely moments for the Succubi as a whole was the tale of Samhain and most of all the dress that Brenna appears in for that celebration… Deliciously Succubus in nature and truly a wonderful compliment for her personality and what she is becoming.
This brings me to Brenna herself in this story. There are some terrifying moments for her to face and what she suffers is something that was again a moment where the tears came anew. She grows in powers and who she is as well and in doing so something interesting is happening… She’s becoming more and more a truer representation of what I feel Succubi are. In doing so, and the new powers she discovers, it opens the door to a conclusion which, if I am correct, will have some wide ranging effects in this universe.
Many of the Succubi we have met in the series before appear and it is good to see them develop into their own places, abilities, and futures as this story goes on. But even as they do so, it feels like there is a lack of understanding of who they are and what they can do by many around them. It seems like they are still seen as being weapons of sex for lack of better words, and I have the feeling that this will come back to haunt those that still think this way.
Again there is a lot of family politics, and while there was a good deal of humor in that, I wanted that part of the story to be a little less again for the development of both Rebecca and Brenna. I think there are a lot of characters in the family and perhaps a tighter focus on the main ones would help a little.
There is a storm still brewing in this series and I have the worst feeling that it will result in not just Brenna, but everyone around her finding that the Goddess has plans for them all whether they like them or not.
The Goddess makes an appearance… sort of… I’m still hoping for her to actually appear. She’s someone that I wonder about throughout the tales, ceremonies, and words shared between everyone. I’d like to know her better… probably as much as Brenna does really. The vision of the future brings another thought about Brenna and the Goddess as well which would explain a lot of things too… But we’ll see what the future brings in more ways than one.
A story of the heart and the soul in many ways which I enjoyed immensely. Quite simply five out of five pitchforks.
The characters make the story, not the story making the characters. The promise of the series continues and that’s so very satisfying.
There will be a fourth book and I do hope it arrives soon… It’s not nice to keep one of the Succubi on the edge for too long you know… As well, a note from the author in this book notes that there will be a spin off series soon… That I do look forward to seeing as well…
There is a part of the Thaumatology universe that has been hinted at, but never really explored. The question of the Fae, their world, their existence has been on the edges of many of the stories in this series, but never really delved into. There were hints of their power, their influence, where they acted on the Earth, but nothing really definite or something that you could point to and say… that’s how it all works.
That all changes in this work. The inner workings, powers and more of the Fae world meet up with Ceri and Lily as they try, so very much to protect their friends. And in doing so we learn something about what to me has been something of an icon or rock in Ceri and Lily’s life for a long time.
Twill. Possibly the most mysterious being in the Thaumatology series that I can think of. I think that because we didn’t really know all that much about her it made her not the most active or the most powerful being, which she isn’t. But it did make her the one character in the series that you had to think about and wonder about from the moment she first appeared. There was an aura around her that you knew something was different about her.
And in this book, all of her secrets come out fully. Her world, her family, now and why she came to be with Ceri and Lily. Everything that wasn’t said before… is. But here’s the most important thing about this work. While we learn her name, her true name, that name is not who Twill is. And for that one important point and how the story goes from beginning to end… That’s her being true to the Twill we have known throughout the series.
In meeting Twill’s family I can see why she wanted to leave and how in spite of all that goes on now to her and to her friends her family cares more about power and position than anything else. It gives full voice to how Twill became who she is and why and it explained so much of her personality.
There is one certain fairy that appears with Twill when Ceri, Lily and Michael arrive in the Fae world that I fell in love with from the first moment. It’s good to see her… not quite grow up but realize that she can be and do more than she thinks she can. Her transformation runs in parallel with that of the Fae world and Ceri as well.
There is a good deal of intrigue in this work and the reveal of the threat when it comes, turned the story into something of a perfect example of that saying “may you live in interesting times.” For Ceri and many others, they truly do. The path to the climax of that thread in the story goes in a lot of directions that I never expected. That’s the thing about Naill’s writing, the simple path isn’t the best one when you can made the story better for going off the beaten track. By the end of the story, many of the loose threads from the previous works in the series are tied up, but then. of course, some new themes appear which gave me a smile. It was really something special to watch Ceri do things that she never thought she could, or would, want to do.
Lily of course appears in this work and she is a lovely talented Succubus as I have come to love. But while she is what she is, it does not make up all of who she is. Yes we see what Lily is capable of, but it’s much more satisfying to see her relationship with Ceri be all that is should be. I am, I admit, a bit put off with one piece of jewelry she wears, even if I understand why she does so. But Lily’s story is far from finished and there are still things to be told about her.
The same holds true for Lily’s father Faran who appears for a bit in this work. There is something more about him that is missing and someday I hope that story is told as well. There is a side of him that we haven’t seen and I would like to see it.
In spite of some of the threads being completed, there are a great many plots begun at the end of this work which will I am sure bring many more works in this universe to light. And that is, of course, the mark of a writer that knows their craft, characters and world.
Five out of five pitchforks…
There are. when you think about it, really two main truths in the universe. On the one hand you have those that look to do dark things. To bring that darkness into others, envelope them with it, and then spread that taint as far as they can. On the other you have those that believe in light things. Compassion. Caring. Love. Understanding. All of the better traits that truly we should see in ourselves and each other.
The same can be said of Succubi really, if you think about it. They can be the ones to cater to more darker desires, or they can be the way to enlightenment….
To find that balance within themselves, and ourselves by knowing them… That, truly, is enlightenment…
Quite some time ago, this author released a work called Tesla’s Succubus, which I reviewed. At that time, I had several unanswered questions about the beings that were, in a way, Succubi. I wanted to know why they did the things they did, what their purpose was, and most of all, why it was that they were more… animal-like or predatory… With this, a second peek into this universe… I have more questions, but I also have quite a lot more to enjoy…
This work has a taste of mystery within it, on several levels, that is nicely played out over the course of the story. I found it a lovely touch to have what I would consider dark and light Succubi existing. Now neither of them have horns or tails, nor are they physically Succubus, or for that matter, Incubus, in their appearance. They do have the ability to shape-shift, to see into the minds of others and draw on their wants and needs. Where the difference comes is that one side looks to be based on what I would call animal needs while the other is based on compassion, love, and so much more. It’s quite a thing to watch thread its way through the work, what it means to the characters in the story, depending on which they are “possessed” by.
As in the first work, there is a touch of TG aspects, but it isn’t overwhelming by any means and what I particularly liked was that when these themes appear, it is for a purpose. It isn’t the typical “I have breasts! Have to explore myself” theme. It is a transformational moment for the characters that are changed in this way, but it is also one for those that do not switch gender. The changes that come, on either side, light or dark, are telling for each, in their own way, and help to drive the story forwards. The comparison of both, the ways and means of their lives really is core to this story and a gripping read.
I still have many questions about the creatures however. Really there isn’t a lot of focus on them, no real understanding of them save for passing thoughts and feelings that the characters tell us about. Perhaps it is that mystery that makes this work special in its own way. The story is of the changed, not the changers.
The personalities in the work are well defined, their actions make sense and are not strange or wrong as the work goes on. There is a truth to each one, and in the end we see that truth appearing quite clearly. Transformed yes, but their humanity remains with them and, for me, the best part was when that humanity was revealed.
There are moments of strife, of conflict of course. Some of these carry over clearly from the first work. It was nice to see the author make the connection to the previous book, and also give us a name for the main character of the previous work. I also was very happy to see a resolution to their story after all they had been through.
The new Succubus, like the first told of, is a TG transformation, but the event in this story is well described and plays out very smoothly and makes a good deal of sense. I have questions about how exactly it all started, the beginning of the work is very unclear, at least to me. Mind you the uncertainty and self-questioning along with self-discovery was interesting, I did take pause at two points within the first five pages of the story to put straight in my mind the scene and the being that begins the tale. I’m not entirely sure about the start of the story, but once past that, the rest of the work really flows nicely from moment to moment.
The story has what I felt was the right erotic moments at the right times in the story. It wasn’t sex for the sake of it. It was a means to push the story forwards as it should be used. There is an obvious contrast between the two sides, but in that comes the way for the story to move towards its conclusion.
For the most part, the ending was satisfying, though it does leave several paths for the story to take in the future. Compared with the first work, this one has a purpose, not a word is wasted, and in the telling of this story comes an important truth. One that I have always believed in and it was nice to see that here. Sometimes the simplest things make for the best stories and I think this work is one of the author’s best by far.
I’m giving this work four and a half out of five pitchforks.
Really an engrossing tale of truths that everyone should believe in. Still questions to be answered, and I wish they had been here. Still there is much more story to be told in this universe and I await quite eagerly for the next part of the story that I hope is still to come…
My thanks to the author for this work… Truly so much more than I really had expected…
To begin a new series is, really, a very difficult thing to do. There has to be an emotional connection between the reader and the characters in the story for one thing. That connect can’t be vague or a wisp of a thought either. It has to make the reader want to see what happens next and where the story goes. Then comes the story isn’t. It should never be a massive information dump that the reader has to slog through before actually getting to the meat of the story. Purpose and reason are important and mixing that with background does matter.
Managing to balance both of those needs and do that well? That’s a talent. I found an author that certainly has that going for them…
One of the core plots of this work is all of the events that happen to Arthur and his family. Were this a “young man coming of age” story that would fit quite well. Arthur is much older than he looks and as such, he cannot express the loss of his wife, cannot grieve as he must, and when his world comes crashing down… it is an awful thing to see. To know that you could live, in theory, forever, and have to see all that you hold dear fade away around you… That can kill a soul.
But in spite of what happens to him and his family, Arthur knows the value of doing the right thing, even if it hurts. He knows that he has done wrong and accepts that he has. He knows that he need to do the right thing and, truly, no matter what he will strive to do so. I said that Arthur is older than he looks. He is an old soul. But even an old soul can learn something new. Especially about themselves.
That journey, from despair to a need for retribution is a long path full of moments unexpected, friends not believed, places encountered, and truths given that he never saw. It is that last experience, to know what had been happening around him and his family. takes him to a place where knowing the truth makes it no easier to accept. But that is, in the end, what the path of one’s life must be.
Arthur carries with him six beings and their stories are both tragic and inspiring as well. One of these is a Succubus, but I will return to her in a moment. Arix is the sorcerer with his secrets to be told. Vetisghar is the warrior demoness-cat who speaks little, but holds honour above all. Hjuul, the devoted hellhound that can be a puppy in one moment and fearless in the next. Pffiferil is a leprechaun with a bottomless flask, a sharp wit and a taste for the things that he enjoys. But also a compassion that few see. And Sheyliene is the fairy who suffered greatly in the past and faces her tormentor once more unexpectedly.
And, finally, there is Silithes the Succubus, also known as Sil. I have said many times that stereotypical Succubi bother me greatly, that having them in a story just isn’t interesting to me. Sil, her past, her secrets, who she is, what she wants are… different. Some say that a Succubus cannot love, cannot have a soul, cannot be anything more than what they are so crudely called. Those need to meet her I think and discover they are completely wrong. She isn’t perfect, though she would like to be. She holds secrets that when revealed nearly destroy Arthur. But the thing is that she is not dispassionate, she isn’t simply a temptation. She is so much more than that and for me that was the most attractive thing about her. That and she doesn’t have hooves, but she does have a tail and wings, but I digress a bit. Sil is, when the moments come, every bit wanting to do the right thing, to show that she is more than Arthur believes. That secret I mentioned does cause much pain, but there is closure for both Sil and Arthur eventually and in those moments, she I think gained that soul that she claims she doesn’t have.
There are several other characters in this work that some might call minor, but they are written with the background and personality that when they appear they hold the moment quite well in spite of the main characters they are with. Grey is an enigma, Marthe is one cook I would never want to cross, Karen runs hot and cold but for reasons we don’t quite now really. But then… then there is Znuul. He reminds me of someone I know, really quite a lot, and reading his thoughts and actions I can her that being’s voice speaking to me. He is… well I won’t spoil things, but I would really like to see, at some point, he and Arthur sitting down, sharing a drink, and talking about what they have seen. For them to be the friends that I feel like they are meant to be. It may sound odd, but when I see those two together the chemistry reminds me of a Hollywood movie two buddies road trip… Come to think of it, that would be wonderful thing to see. They would be perfect.
The works is gripping from the first to the last, there is little wasted moments and you do need to follow what is going on intently. But that is the point of any good story, of any well written tale to be told. To make you want to pay attention, to not skim the words… That is a talent. And for that, especially to read these characters… That really was important to me.
There is only a hint of erotica in this work and to be quite clear, having that as part of this work in any obvious dramatic way would have felt… cheap. This work is not about erotica. This work is about finding one’s self when the one you love isn’t there any longer. It is about finding out who is your friend, who matters to you, and what you do with your life. The tone of the work, the heartfelt moments for Arthur, for Silithes, for all of those that touch Arthur’s life positively in this work is what matters. In the end, when the last page is turned, the ending leaves the door open to the next story in the series quite well and in doing so that gives thoughts to where the story goes from here… As it should.
The writing is tight, the characters full, as I have said, the plot is well designed and all of those things are the hallmark of excellent story telling.
I have a new series to follow… And I will be.
Five out of five pitchforks.
A very good opening to the series, full of passion, real characters, and moments when they are, truly, more than they are expected to be. One of the things that I have always believed in is that family matters. In this work, by far, that is so very plain to see.
Recommended, the author has indicated that the second work in the series will be coming soon and I for one will be watching for it intently…
It is said, by some, that there is one thing each of us desires that we would do anything for. A single thought, desire, wish. Something that we know, deep inside, we can never have… or can we?
What if you were given that desire? What would be the cost? What sort of deal would you make for it? In the end the question becomes one that is more focused when what you are becomes what you desire to be… and what others desire of you…
Sarah does not like herself all that much. When she sees an advertisement that promises her everything she wants, she tries to make it happen. Darkness arrives and offers her wish, a choice, and a fate. Sarah receives all three and then discovers that when you make a deal… it’s really never finished.
The being of darkness, really there isn’t any other good way to describe them, I thought had the right mix of evil, mystery and… I’ll use the word dominance I think. They were at one moment charming, in the next evil barely contained, and what I particular liked was the humour that drifted in and out of their conversation with Sarah. I’ll also add that, for me, the appearance of a single cupcake and what it represents, was deviously ironic. They set the tone of the series well I thought and I find myself wondering about them and if they might return when Sarah least expects them to.
Sarah’s personality and character is an interesting mix of submission and dominance which I think reflects who she seems to be. She wants to submit, to be changed, to become her desires, but at the same time she fights against that within herself. She could just give in, but she does not and that I found made me like her a lot more than I would have if she simply had given up. She’s intelligent, which was nice to see, and thinks… usually… before she acts. But now that she has her desire, the question is just how long she can keep that controlled… It will be a fight, on that point I have little doubt.
There is a Succubus in this work that Sarah encounters towards the latter third of the work. The Succubus isn’t quite stereotypical in nature however for many reasons. One is physical in nature, one seems to be very specific to Sarah herself, and a last is that what the Succubus can do is somewhat different than what you might expect. She is evil, of course, and the battle that Sarah faces has its lusts, wants and desires, some of which are within Sarah herself and some that are pressed upon her. Overall I thought the Succubus was interesting, though remaining unnamed, but for a good reason I think if the series goes in the direction I think it will. I didn’t care for her having hooves, one of my own personal peeves and not a criticism of the author herself. But her personality worked well for me and how she ensnared Sarah fit into the story very well.
The one thing that puzzled me somewhat was that Sarah had to jump through two “tests” and I’m not quite sure that needed to be. I do realize this work is setting up the rest of the series to come, and of course there has to be an origin to all good storytelling… It just felt to me as if there was a little too much “test” and not quite enough “consequence” in what transpired. However, I am quite sure that things will change as the story progresses forwards.
A good, solidly written work with really nothing that took me out of the story. I will admit that I winced a bit when the Succubus appeared with hooves, I really do not care for them, but that is my own personal bias. A touch of mind control hinted at which was well done. And I have to add that the appearance of a particular cupcake made me smile, but you will have to read the work to understand that reference. I would have liked to know more about the Succubus, the question that Sarah thinks about when she first encounters her is one that I think is a bit of foreshadowing of what is to come and getting from here to there will be something different I expect.
Four out of five pitchforks.
It is an interesting beginning to the series with quite a lot of introspection, self-examination and desire. I believe I see some foreshadowing within the work, and where the series goes from here I find to be intriguing. The balance of erotica to story was quite good and I hope that continues as the series goes on…
I will be following it to see…