Friday, 25 May 2012

Review: The Succubus Gift by B.R. Kingsolver

The Succubus Gift (Telepathic Clans #1) by B.R. Kingsolver

Author: B.R. Kingsolver
Publication Date: April 22, 2012
Publisher: Smashwords
Genre: Adult, Paranormal Romance, Urban Fantasy
Source: Review copy provided by the author (Thank You!)

Book Description from Goodreads:

Brenna’s life isn’t the same after she discovers her unusual and mysterious heritage. In addition to being a telepath and having many paranormal abilities, Brenna learns she has the Succubus Gift. She has always been a good girl and isn’t comfortable seducing men, except one she really loves.
That’s just the beginning of her problems. Someone is stalking her. Will she be able to protect her newly acquired family and friends? Then there’s the tall, dangerous woman who shadows her and hints a Goddess has linked them. And what is she going to do with a handsome, charismatic, womanizing man she knows she should avoid?
Some days a girl just wants to pull the covers over her head and stay in bed — with a willing young man of course.


Let me just start by saying WOW, because this book completely blew my expectations out of the water and then some. The initial synopsis plot struck me as interesting, but it didn’t prepare me for the utterly heart stopping onslaught of sex, violence and paranormal abilities out the wazoo.

In an age where book covers are raved about because they feature a pretty girl in a dress that’s been air brushed to oblivion, I love that The Succubus Gift’s cover has a more traditional art look and feel to it, with slight enhancements. It features a gorgeously rendered Brenna and features some of the abilities that the reader will be exposed to.

When we first meet Brenna she’s worked hard to make a career for herself after being orphaned as a young girl. She’s lived with being a telepath for most of her life, but never knowing the true nature of her abilities. That is until one fateful day after inadvertently saving another telepath he takes her to meet others like them, and so begins Brenna’s journey of self discovery.

I loved how dynamic Brenna’s character is. She’s smart, witty and takes things in stride, but there’s also the less perfect side where she’s a bit self depreciating, reserved and sometimes has serious anger management issues. It all combines together though to make a character that’s so interesting to watch as she grows from an innocent Catholic girl to a more confident and insanely powerful woman.

A main point of the story was that Brenna needed to learn how to control a lot of powers, and Kingsolver found a good balance between natural excellence and learning from tutors that made the story more believable and allowed the readers to experience the powers with Brenna instead of the character instantly being able to use all these powers and going out into the world to fight super villains.

One power in particular, her Succubus Gift (which is in reference to as you guessed it, a Succubus which are known for seducing and having intercourse with men) a rare power that eventually takes the main stage in the story. It provides some of the most hilarious moments as she learns what it means to truly be a Succubus and it also brings the reader to fan-yourself kind of steamy bedroom scenes.

Now with all the different powers on top of telepathy such as pyrokinesis, electrokinesis etc., there’s so much going on in The Succubus Gift. Kingsolver has to explain A LOT of things like the powers, the people, back history, and she manages to do it perfectly without getting the reader hopelessly lost. A few of the powers also have very unique names for them and it can get confusing at times, but Kingsolver added an index at the end that was extremely helpful.

I absolutely loved the cast of secondary characters, maybe a bit more than I do Brenna. There’s such a perfect combination of mafia like grandfather, regal motherly aunt, kick ass best friend and completely adorable, hot, but deadly in a fight - love interest and even other Succubi. Kingsolver crafted these characters with such vivid personalities, they ended up taking on distinct voices and life stories that I craved to know more about.

The villains of the story are kept shrouded in the shadows for the most part, and to me that was perfectly fine. They provided the stressor for Brenna to learn and grow, but frankly they were more terrifying when you couldn’t put a face to them while people were being hunted down. A word of warning, these villains are SO twisted. Kingsolver has them do really graphically violent things that some people may not have the disposition to handle. However, the way that Kingsolver states these events is in a very blunt fashion, she doesn’t dance around them with fancy words, they’re difficult things to write about and I'm glad she didn’t take them lightly and that there’s retribution to be had in the end.

Kingsolver’s way of writing is energetic and keeps up a great tempo. When I was reading this it was easy to see when it picked up for action scenes and slowed down for sensual moments. Especially since Kingsolver is a debut author, this was an incredible piece of work.

Eventually, in the end we find out what’s going on and it blows the doors wide open for an exciting sequel, but it doesn’t end on a complete cliffhanger. We’re left in a very comfortable place, where as a reader you want to know more but it isn’t going to make you angry that it just ENDED RIGHT THERE.

This is a great unique addition to the paranormal/urban fantasy genre and I’d definitely recommend this to fans of the genre! It had everything I could ask for, love, sex, violence, witty banter, supernatural abilities. I am so excited to see what Kingsolver does next! 

Overall: 5/5 Steaming HOT Cups of Tea!
To me it was like the Sopranos meets X-Men with a dash of Inception and a sprinkle of Sex in the City (but less obnoxious). Seriously, it's was an awesome book! Go read it! 

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