Book Review: Succubus Blues by Richelle Mead

These days, I find myself wanting to debate genre. With all the confusion between Urban Fantasy and Paranormal Romance and blah, blah, blah, it takes a book like Richelle Mead's to clear things up a bit. In spite of a cover worthy of the steamy sex-filled shelves of Romance, Succubus Blues delivers pure urban fantasy, with a sense of romance, but more than that, tragedy, in the Greek sense.

The story's heroine, Georgina Kincaid, is a tormented succubus who draws her life energy through draining bad guys of theirs, through––you guessed it––the dirtyness. So no problem right? Hot sweaty demon sex should ensue. Not so much. Our girl wants to be loved, and that's a shame because Georgina's type of love comes with a price. How unfortunate for Seth and Roman as both men fall head over–ahem–tail.

The romance in Succubus Blues serves as a conduit to explore the character's grief and guilt. It has more to do with relating the tragedy of the heroine's situation than creating some swirling heady field of flowers aura. I don't believe there was a moment where I deluded myself into believing anyone was going to live happily ever after. In fact, from the moment that best-selling author Seth walks into Georgina's bookstore, I couldn't help but think of that This Mortal Coil song, It'll End in Tears.

It's not all lovelorn angst, Succubus Blues wraps itself around a series of immortal slayings that initially seem to point to Georgina, but in the end are intricately biblical. Mead creates an interesting supernatural world, where demons and angels party and vampires swing dance. The character is fully realized, funny, and smart as hell (pun intended).

So the difference between PR and UF? Here's how it looks to me: in Urban Fantasy romance is used as a plot tool, not a singular device, though, just one from the box. Happy endings are not guaranteed. If this is the case in PR, as well, feel free to comment and clear up my misgivings.

Verdict: Worth a read.

Next Book: Gil's All Fright Diner by A. Lee Martinez