Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Succubus Shadows by Richelle Mead

Georgina Kincaid has formidable powers. Immortality, seduction, shape-shifting into any human form she desires, walking in heels that would cripple mere mortals -- all child's play to a succubus like her.

Helping to plan her ex-boyfriend's wedding is a different story. Georgina isn't sure which is worse -- that Seth is marrying another woman, or that Georgina has to run all over Seattle trying on bridesmaid dresses. Still, there are distractions. Georgina's roommate, Roman, is cluttering her apartment with sexual tension. Then there's Simone, the new succubus in town, who's intent on corrupting Seth.

But the real danger lies in the mysterious force that's visiting her thoughts, trying to draw her into a dark, otherworldly realm. Sooner or later, Georgina knows she'll be too weak to resist. And when that happens, she'll discover who she can trust, who she can't -- and that Hell is far from the worst place to spend eternity...

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While the situation in Seattle has stabilized after the events in Succubus Heat, Georgina's life continues on its downward spiral in this book, with the disintegration picking up the pace, particularly toward the end. She is forced to confront her ongoing depression and challenged to at least attempt to not be so down all the time. At the same time, events around her make that incredibly difficult for her to do such that failure is pretty much inevitable. What happens after that can most arguably qualify as the worst experience of her life thus far and one that will bring about lasting changes in outlook and attitude not just for Georgina but for those around her as well.

I found the character development with Georgina to be really interesting this time, and we do actually finally see her make some progress toward breaking out of her old and familiar patterns. Some of her recent choices are called into question, and some she is obliged to rethink. She is also forced to really take a look at her life and many of her long-held beliefs and attitudes and begins to see how her life has been going around in circles for centuries as she has almost always responded to stress and crises in the same ways. Whether or not she's really managed to break the cycle by the end of this book is open to debate, though she definitely makes significant strides toward doing so at the very least. Time will tell if doing so will lead her in a better direction or a worse one.

The meta plot of the series really gains momentum in this book as well and takes some turns that I found quite intriguing. Many things are revealed, or at least brought to light, some of which play out how I'd suspected they would but others came as a surprise. There is fresh heartache of many sorts in store for Georgina, so much so that she is truly taken to her breaking point when it all starts to prove to be just too much for her to deal with. The events in Succubus Dreams continue to have rippling effects as Georgina and the rest of the cast continue to deal with the consequences of their actions there, Georgina more than the rest of them. By the end it becomes clear that someone truly does have it out for Georgina, and while there are some pretty good indications of who it might be, the reasons for it continue to be unclear.

Overall, while I'd still rank the previous book a bit higher than this one, this one ranks near the top for the series as a whole for me. Many hints have been given as to what the real story of this series is, but it's all still obscured enough that I have no idea how it'll play out in the end. I'm definitely interested in finding out though, and can't wait to read the final volume in the series to find out if Georgina will ever get a HEA or not. 4½ stars to a great book that not only held my interest but made me have a hard time turning it off when I had to break for bed or other things.

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