A review today of the first work in the Savannah series by C.P. McClennan. While this is a science-fiction adventure work, there’s an interesting undercurrent in what two of the characters are capable of. In some ways, they have a bit or a succubus or incubus nature, even if that mostly extends towards sex and what happens afterwards. But they are not, and yet they are.
There is a question which asks not why things are, but why you choose as you do. Nothing is constant, sometimes your choices do matter. Sometimes caring is the choice that matters most of all.
- Title: Just Prey
- Author: C.P. McClennan
- Length: 181 Pages
- ASIN: B00SF29LY6
- Publishing Date: February 10, 2015
- This work at Amazon.com
It is the story of:
Savannah was lied to. She didn’t want him killed. When she saw him again, in a Chicago sex club, she knew she couldn’t go through with it. In fact, she abandoned her mission to try and stop it. These humans were not supposed to be kind or passionate. They were supposed to be just prey.
Savannah isn’t a normal woman. It isn’t that she likes sex, and a lot of it. No, Savannah’s an alien on a mission. But not all missions go as planned. Love shouldn’t be part of it, but it only takes one human to get through to her and make her reconsider. But there are forces who care not about humanity, Earth, or for that matter, what Savannah wants. Savannah needs to choose and choose well.
Savannah, the main character in this work, is an alien, but there’s an interesting aspect to her in that she has, in some ways, similar abilities to a succubus. She possesses a little bit of mind control, she feeds from sex. She also kills those she is intimate with in a rather gruesome manner. There is another character who acts in a similar fashion, is male, and could be thought of as an incubus as being so.
The need for sex, both human and alien, is a constant point throughout the work, many times taking up entire chapters in what Savannah does with others. Thankfully the author doesn’t keep Savannah’s character development to the sex alone. Over time there’s a little bit of humanity that comes into her, changes her character to a point, and it is an important one.
While that story is told, parallel stories come about other characters, their lives interweaving together. To do so the work flashes back and forth in time on Earth, some of those moments causing moments in history to unfold in a rather unique perspective. This, overall, is where I have some problems with the work. The shifts in time also involve different characters, and occasionally events occur from one time and perspective, then a moment is told from another a day prior to that event. It becomes confusing very quickly and I found myself having to scroll back and forth in order to piece the story together, to understand why and what was happening.
The work ends in a rush, events spiral out of control and some of what happens is very sad and, overall, felt like an afterthought. It does lead into the next work in the series, in, again, a flashback method that seems a little odd. Still, it reveals something, offers a hint of what it to come and that seems to be interesting.
I am not sure the constant flipping back and forth through time worked for me. There were several points were I was confused about things and had to go back a chapter or three to figure out what was going on and why it matters. Some of the sex scenes were rather lukewarm in tone overall, occasionally the actions taken by Savannah and her quarry in the work just didn’t work as well. The feeling of coldness from quite a number of minor and major characters made it hard at times to actually care about what was happening to them.
There is a strong undercurrent of loss, of losing hope at times. There are some bright moments, Gerard, as a character, I thought was very interesting and character-wise was an equal to Savannah herself. The loss in the work comes from the lack of emotion, of caring at times, some of the actions that Savannah and her quarry take. While that can be said to reflect an alien view of things, the change in Savannah as the story unfolds didn’t quite get to her passions, save for one pivotal scene.
I think some more time spent on Savannah’s past, more than the fleeting moment told, would have helped a lot. I think her relationship with Gerard should have been explored more. The connection is there, but it gets glossed over in the rush to tell the story overall.
A bit more editing, there are a handful of spelling mistakes, a few bits of dialogue that don’t sound right somehow. A little more heart in Savannah than we are told about and I think I would have liked this a lot more. Good, interesting scifi with a little touch of succubus mythos and I thought that was rather unique. It’s just a very complex read with an ending that left me wanting.
Three and a half out of five pitchforks.
The shifting in time becomes a little confusing as it happens so frequently. While that is a means to telling the characters’ stories, there are so many questions left behind for the missing parts of the story not told. The work coming to follow this one, Darwin’s Sword, I hope will be some more time spent on background, fleshing out more about Savannah, about the universe around her. The work is interesting, but somewhere along the way a little hope in the ashes would be good.