One of the hardest things to manage when creating characters is to give them something unique that holds the attention of a reader. Humour helps, being a “fish out of water” can be interesting as well. However, at the same time they can have what can really only be described as a “catch phrase” that makes one roll their eyes… a lot.
Being in love, and not being noticed by the one you love, is a hard thing to deal with. Meeting them, and they can’t quite remember your name, or what you look like, is more of a problem. When they happen to be a succubus, and you weren’t supposed to know, that’s when things can go off the rails and all hell, quite literally, breaks loose.
- Title: Succubus!: Hell High
- Author: Michael-Scott Earle
- Length: 54 Pages
- ASIN: B01LZVQ9TW
- Publishing Date: September 21, 2016
- This work in Kindle Format at Amazon.com
The work tells the story of:
Sherman had always thought high school was a real drag. He was looking forward to finishing his senior year so that he could coast through college, get a day job, and spend the rest of his life playing video games.
He is used to seeing Angels, but when a new girl transfers into his AP physics class, he thinks Demons might be more his style.
When his innocent crush leads him to the basement, he finds out that his school is exactly the kind of hellhole he always thought it was; only now he’ll be lucky to escape before they eat his soul.
Sherman’s life revolves around anime, video games, going to school and one other thing. The love of his life, Charlotte, even if she doesn’t know it. High school is a weird place, more so for Sherman as he can see something that no one else can. Charlotte’s a succubus. But then, everyone else at his high school isn’t exactly human either. Being that he’s the only human he knows of, that might be a real problem.
Sherman, the main character of the work, is an adorable nerd with a lovely personality. He’s very much a lost sheep amongst all that goes on around him, but there’s something else that’s interesting. He appears to be human, but there’s something odd about him and that is what pushes the story forwards, eventually creating the encounter between Sherman and the girl he’s in love with, Charlotte. His awkward personality, curiosity, but most of all, the singular trust he has in Charlotte sets him as being, in a lot of ways, a kind of anti-hero.
There is one thing about him, however, that made me cringe, over and over again. Whenever something goes right for him with Charlotte, his internal monologue uses a particular phase. The first time that happens, it’s really funny, but by the sixth time it had worn out it’s stay and really needed to be something other. It’s a minor quibble I know, but it really bothered me and it really shouldn’t have.
Charlotte, the succubus of this work, is delightfully focused, knowing what she has to do, but at the same time, she has a little bit of a flaw in her personality that Sherman falls into, thus being entwined with her in the adventure that is this story. While she has all of the physical aspects of being a succubus, the thing is that she really doesn’t as a whole, act like one. There’s really no seduction, nothing that defines her as being a succubus. What happens through the story, the things she does, say she is a devil of some kind and it’s really only Sherman that says she is a succubus, she agreeing that she is one. Otherwise the story doesn’t allow for anything like Charlotte using her powers to seduce as one might expect. Save for one scene, which was just too cute for words honestly.
The real question throughout revolves around Sherman, what he can do. There’s nothing really defined as to if he’s really all human, partly, or something else. That’s a plot thread that gets set to the side for drawing Sherman and Charlotte together, having the action begin, and the pair dealing with things as they happen. The universe, how it all works, what the high school is exactly, as well isn’t explained or explored much. From Sherman’s perspective, that’s just how things are and always has been. It works, as the story is told from him perspective, but that leaves a lot of questions unresolved and plots left dangling as the story comes to a close.
There’s a bit of a melancholy aspect to the ending, at the same time there’s a clear path to another work to follow. Part of the story is closed, Sherman’s managed to find himself with what he wanted, but then the question is, now that he does, what comes next? That’s interesting and where that goes, and who Sherman comes to face next, might be all I’m hoping for.
There’s no erotica to speak of, really there’s not any chance for that to occur. It’s more of an action/adventure with a long chase, the stirrings of a relationship, and a little bit of self-discovery. The work is written well, if a bit juvenile in tone, that happening because the story is told from Sherman’s perspective. It is very fast paced, not really allowing for much time to reflect before the next problem comes rushing up and knocking on the door.
It’s a good start to a series, I think there’s a lot of promise here. I would have liked more of Charlotte being a succubus, being seductive, than what does happen however. I’d also like Sherman to be a little more “in” the story than being dragged along as much as he is. Perhaps what comes next will, to an extent, allow both characters to develop more and turn the story towards the mystery that Sherman is.
Four of out five pitchforks.
While there were some things that bothered me about this work, that mostly comes to the characters themselves and the situation they were placed into. Charlotte is a succubus, that much is true, but so far she really hasn’t “been” a succubus. The next work in this series is scheduled to appear in January 2017 and I hope there’s more character development than action.
This work has more than enough action, I think the next thing needs to be Sherman finding out what makes him different, and telling more of Charlotte’s story. It’s silly at times, heartfelt in others, and I did enjoy the work dearly. I just wish that catchphrase didn’t keep popping up all of the time.