Sunday, June 26, 2016

Book Review: Succubus by Wesley Thomas

After awakening from a year-long coma resulting from a traumatic incident he cannot remember, Leon is haunted by an evil presence, stalked by a deadly predator, and tormented by senseless, unnerving flashbacks. 

In order to stay alive, he must piece together his puzzle of memories to uncover the true horror that he is soon to face.

The cover is fantastic and effectively conveys the horror of a monster wanting to eat you in the middle of the night. Even though a succubus is a monster who seduces men while they are sleeping, the novel doesn't really follow the traditional formula, which keeps the reader in suspense.

In the forward section of the book there are several quotes regarding Wesley Thomas' writing, such as 'Thomas' writing finds a way to worm itself into your brain', and ''The search for the next Stephen King can stop here'. As soon as I read that comment, I interpreted that as 'This is supposed to be a very good book, Natasha, so you better do a very in-depth study and review of it'.

Succubus is arguably stronger in the first half, as the mystery of what happened to Leon takes the center stage and takes the right amount of time to develop. My only nitpick is that I would have preferred that he wasn't inflicted with so many 'it was all a bad dream' sequences which attacked him at the very beginning. But eventually this disappears as most of the focus is on Leon attempting to recover his lost memories, which leads him to finding out what happened to the love of his life, Annabelle. Throughout this book Wesley Thomas has a great style of writing and descriptive writing which has a way of easily drawing the reader into the book.

Once the mystery is revealed, there are some questionable things which happen as a result. I am going to do my best to avoid spoilers here, but there was a group of very powerful people Leon's family could have turned to for help, and for the life of me I can't figure out why they didn't go to them for help again, or at least call them. Maybe I missed a crucial fact somewhere in the novel, but so far the only reason I found was 'well, that's what got us in trouble earlier'. That may be true, but lives are on the line at that point in the novel and Leon is very out of his depth, as evidenced when several plans to wrong. They were terrifying in their own right, but clearly there had been a dialogue which had also been set up earlier.

Overall though, Wesley Thomas does do a fantastic job of conveying horror in this novel-there is one particular scene in the lake that I won't soon forget (it doesn't help that I hate crabs already!) and there were a few scenes when I literally jumped, which is very rare for me to do when reading fiction. The formatting of the book could really use some work though, so overall this is a bit of a mixed bag for me.

FINAL GRADE: 3.5 out of 5: Strong characters and descriptive language mix with formatting issues and slightly uneven pacing, particularly towards the ends. There is a lot that happens in the last twenty pages, to a point where I think 'less is more' might have led to a more satisfying conclusion. But if you're looking for a book to scare you, this would be a good one.

Succubus can be found here.

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