Today I am continuing my review of the Reluctant Succubus series by Jacqueline Sweet by reviewing the third work in the series: Succubus Academy. You can find my review of the first book in this series, Devour, here on the Tale and the second work Succubus Kissing Booth can be found here on the Tale as well.
Darkness is something that each of us carries with them. There are many ways to deal with it however. You might be able to ignore it, at least for a time. You might be able to control it, but how long is the question. You could give in to it… But what does that say about you? In the end how you deal with it means more than you can know.
Even the Queen of the Succubi knows that.
- Title: Succubus Academy
- Author: Jacqueline Sweet
- Publishing Date: April 6, 2012
- Length: 90 Pages
- ASIN: B00LGAZYC2
- ISBN: 9781311433275
- Publishing Date: July 1, 2014
- This work at Amazon.com
- This work at Smashwords.com
- The author Jacqueline Sweet’s website
The work tells of:
Caught between hunger and love, Sarah Mayhew searches for control. The darkness within her rages and brings her ever closer to oblivion. The demon No Name offers a solution, but it comes at a terrible price.
With the help of the demon and her sometimes-boyfriend, sometimes-sex slave Alec, Sarah travels to the shadowy world of Erebus, to the Palace of Sighs, where the Succubus Queen awaits. The Succubus Academy offers Sarah the only chance she has to master her powers and to contain her desire, but is she already too far gone for help?
Sarah finds that the darkness within her is growing and with that comes the realization that she’s losing herself to it piece by seductive piece. Her control is slipping, she’s threatened Alec’s soul, and then the demon she called for help offers a chance. Her name is Tera. But is that help offered help or something else?
Sarah’s continuing transformation towards being a Succubus took some unexpected paths and with that came some reveals that explained some of the why of what’s happened to her. With that came many moments when her control slipped, or faltered, but also came two truths that she managed to hold within her. One within, one without. Those truths are bent, torn, and brought to their knees as much as Sarah is.
Sarah’s path through this part of her story I felt was really never in her control, and because it wasn’t, that meant that a lot of the events that came were bound to happen. She was led to Tera, she was forced to make choices. Her darkness kept pushing her towards what it wanted and not what was the best thing for her. To say she was unlucky at every turn really isn’t an exaggeration. Things spiralled out of control in ways that just made things worse with each turn for her. But in spite of everything that she has to suffer through, Sarah remands, at her core, a decent, good person with a heart and that mattered.
I loved the world of the Succubi the author created in many ways. There’s a lovely undertone of seduction, mystery and dominance that I thought worked very well as a whole. I liked the two Succubi that Sarah encounters, they were some of the most interesting Succubi characters I have seen in some time. They represent aspects that aren’t seen often and I was really pleased to see them. I also loved the description of some of the teaching rooms, and honestly those, more than anything else, made me smile and wonder about them. Really the entire Succubi realm was wonderfully told and just fascinated me and left me wanting to see more of it.
I did mention that the Queen of the Succubi is named Tera, and I’ll explain why that is a little later on in the review. She is, for me, in a lot of ways, what a Succubi Queen should be, and I will admit to a massive bias on my enjoyment of her, how she presents herself and acts. She’s revealed in a way that paints a wonderful picture of who she is, what she represents and, more interestingly, she offers a view of the Succubi that connects a lot of the series to this point. She also reveals to Sarah a lot about herself and in doing so also explains why the darkness in Sarah is so powerful and consuming.
Tera is a means to give reason to what’s happening to Sarah, a means for some very hot Succubi mind control, dominance, and seduction that builds upon everything that Sarah’s abilities have hinted at. It also tells a story that I honestly didn’t expect and a background to the events of the series so far that I didn’t see coming. That reveal was really well done, but left me trying to piece together Tera’s actions and as well what Sarah does as a result. Tera is complex, mysterious and leaves a lot of questions in her wake. I hope they will be answered sometime for they tug at me very much.
I have the feeling that Sarah is being manipulated in a lot of ways by a lot of different beings. She’s being shaped to become something she isn’t, to give herself to the darkness she’s consumed, and in doing so be manipulated. That, I think, is going to be a real problem for her in the future.
The climax of the work brings several cliff hangers for many of the characters and how each of them manages to survive will be something to see. Sarah isn’t in a good place, but neither are Alec or No Name for that matter. There’s a lot of questions left unanswered and to tie up all of those threads will take some doing and I have every confidence in the author that they will manage this with the same care and passions they have shown in the series so far.
All of the characters remain very strong and they grow through the story which I liked. A gripping story and the twist, when it comes, is really a surprise and it has a lot of impact as well. I did catch one thing that stuck out style-wise. The author calls a group of Succubi… Succubuses. That’s not correct. It’s Succubi or Succubae. The more modern use is Succubi. That’s a minor thing but it bugged me. Mind you, it always does, I’m picky that way.
I’m giving this work four and a half out of five pitchforks.
Just an amazingly good read, the world building is wonderful and the story builds upon the series so far in ways I didn’t expect. The battle within Sarah against her darkness is both wonderful and terrible at the same time. Really everything I could have asked for in this part of the series and it promises so much more.
A postscript: You might have noticed that in my review I noted that the Succubi Queen herself was named Tera and there is a reason for that. The author asked if she could use “me”, at least my name, a bit of the me that exists as the Succubi Queen, and I agreed to that, asking for a few, small, concessions to the Succubi me in her story. As such, her name is Tera, and she appears a lot like the Succubi me in a lot of ways. I liked that she is a teacher, I liked that she was doing a lot for her kind and others. As a whole I liked “me” quite a lot. The only point where I found myself pausing was when the twist in the story came and what her choice was when she discovered the truth about Sarah, how that related to her, and now she dealt with Sarah.
I have had her actions in my thoughts a lot since I read the work, at the time of this review, two full days, and… I just have a problem with coming to grips that there wasn’t another choice that could have been made. However, I can see some plot arcs coming from that point, for Sarah, Alec and No Name which will be interesting to see. But… there had to be other options… Unless of course Tera knew what was going to happen to Sarah and what her future might hold. That actually is something to think about. But then I tend to overthink sometimes about stories and try to see the paths untaken.
It was the only point in the story were I had a problem with what she did overall. It strikes me that those events are cloaked in a lot of mystery and questions that I hope will be explained as the series continues on. I have my theories and thoughts about that, which I won’t reveal here. Somehow there’s an important piece of the puzzle missing and Sarah’s cliffhanger at the end of the story has a lot to do with that.
So does, I think, the title of the next work in the series which will be tentatively called The Making Out War. I’ll be watching for that part of the story to appear…