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Aug 05 2012

A Review of Not Quite Casper, Empusa and The Power That Dreams Have by Mercy Loomis

Something a little bit different for a book review on the Tale this week. I came across three works by an author that have Succubi or Incubi in them and some of my thoughts about each of the stories mostly apply to them all… So, I decided to write about all of them in one Tale post…

And so… Firstly…

Not Quite Casper by Mercy Loomis

Not Quite Casper by Mercy Loomis

The story is described as being:

When Katie agrees to spend a month in a haunted house as part of a reality TV show, she doesn’t realize that she’ll be under the watchful eye of more than just the cameras. This ghost is just a little too friendly.

Katie thought it would be a good idea to get involved with a TV show in a haunted house. The problem is that she is a witch and she is sensitive to the ghost that are really there. They poke and prod her protections, and she has kept them out, but one of the ghosts just won’t leave her alone…

There isn’t really a long introduction to Katie, or the situation she is in, nor does the story really dwell on how she got there. No, it starts with Katie having her ghost trying to get her attention almost teasingly at first, but he, and we are told that it is a he, gets a lot more amorous and insistent as the story goes on.

While it is never really clearly said that the ghost is an Incubus, what the ghost does to Katie makes it very likely that it is one. Katie admits to thinking this at the end of the story, but, we learn very little about the ghost save that it likes her, and likes doing all sorts of things to make Katie orgasm.

The story is hot, Katie’s reactions are as well, but what bothered me about the story was that is was more of a hot flash and not much else. There is a story to be told about Katie and the, I’ll say it, Incubus that attaches itself to her, but we don’t get to see that.

That’s more bothersome as the story is written as if the events had happened long ago and you are left wondering what’s happened in the time after this story to Katie…

Something we’ll never know.

I’ll give this work four out of five pitchforks.

Needs to be longer and more story about the characters I think at least…

Secondly…

Empusa by Mercy Loomis

Empusa by Mercy Loomis

The story is described as:

Empusa is a Greek daimon whose lovers usually don’t live to tell the tale. She makes an exception for a trio of humans caught in a tangle of love spells, but there is always a price to be paid…

This is a period piece, set in ancient Greece that tells the story of a demigoddess called Empusa and what happens when she meets some human beings that intrigue her.

For those that are not aware, Empusa was the daughter of the goddess Hecate and the spirit Mormo. She feasted on blood by seducing young men as they slept, before drinking their blood and eating their flesh. According to some tellings, she was mistaken many times for a vampire, a while was another meaning for empusa.

Empusa travels the Greek world and, occasionally, feeds from those that she comes to find. They normally are killed in her need to feed, but when she comes across man calling for a demon’s help, she intervenes and discovers that some humans have problems… complicated ones… and she decides that she will, in her own way, fix those problems.

The story is an interesting mix of hate, anger, revenge and sexuality that I haven’t seen much of when it comes to similar stories. Each character has a past, a purpose, and a need to fulfil in their own way, but it takes Empusa to collect all of that into something useful to her, if not to the ones that are trapped in their own smouldering needs.

There is male/male and male/female and mange a trios sexual situations in this work that might not be quite to everyone’s taste, but in the perspective of the era it is set in, it makes perfect sense and the author makes good use of what we know of that time in order to make her characters more real.

One thing that bothered me a little bit was the occasional use of contemporary sayings. The characters speak in tones of older times, but then you see modern passages spoken when, in 482 BC, it just doesn’t fit and that takes me out of the story.

The sex scenes are interesting, but it’s less about the sex than the controlling dominance of Empusa that I thought was more so. She plays the other characters like puppets to her amusement and in the end, makes of them what she wishes to.

Not really a story about a Succubus, though some of her powers are very much like one, not quite as good as the first work here, but a promising character in Empusa at least. But the story seems incomplete in that the character’s lives don’t come to any real resolution and many questions remain at the end of the work.

Three out of four pitchforks.

Just not that satisfying a story for me personally in that we have good characters thrust into sex and otherwise not a lot else happens with them.

Thirdly…

The Powers That Dreams Have by Mercy Loomis

The Powers That Dreams Have by Mercy Loomis

The story is:

Sophia of Athens is contentedly obsessed with her dreams of the daimon Empusa, though she knows Empusa is killing her slowly. But as the army of Xerxes advances on Athens, Sophia is in greater danger than she realizes.

This work continues the story of the characters from the previous work, Empusa, by this author. In this story, Empusa comes to take her pound of flesh from the woman Sophia that had started the events of the previous story, and had made a bargain with Empusa.

Or at least you would think so from the beginning of the story. Three years have passed from the previous work, things have changed for all of the characters, the main one being that they are at war with Xeres, and Sophia is slowly being drained of her life by Empusa feeding on her as she dreams.

Sophia is betrayed, taken to the armies of Xeres, and from there, her fate comes to pass. The truths of Empusa are revealed, what she has done to all of the humans that she had dealt with previously, and where they all are now.

I found it a satisfying story that tied up a lot of loose ends and questions from the previous story. The Sophia and Empusa become more rounded out characters and the writing seems to be tighter and more alive than in the first story. As this story focuses on Sophia and Empusa almost exclusively, there is some minor sexual interaction between the two of them. It’s less about the heat in this work than the completion of a story.

That’s quite nice to see as many short stories leave plots and characters dangling with fates unresolved. However, while we learn of fates, the door is left open to a future tale from this universe and questions remain about Empusa in what she wants and why, really why, she has been somewhat enamoured herself with the three humans that are now, really, in her thrall…

Feeding alone can’t possibly be enough can it?

Three out of five pitchforks.

Bit short, could have told more about Empusa and her world than we see, but well written and interesting, which are all good points.

Overall, I like the author’s writing and style. There is little to take you out of the story, save for the occasional modern sayings that crop in places they shouldn’t be. It’s not a series about Succubi exclusively, but still a good series of short reads with a mug of hot chocolate…

 

Tera

3 comments

  1. avatar
    James

    You are so kind and gracious at the end, Majesty. But, from what you say in each review, I would say that we have an impatient author here, not taking time to really finish things or sand away burrs like anachronistic phrases or incomplete character narratives.

  2. avatar
    TeraS

    Kindness is my way my heart…

    Tera

  3. avatar
    James

    Yes, and that is only one of your wondrous qualities.

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