Wednesday, 14 November 2007
'Hell's Belles' - Jackie Kessler (Kensington Books)
There once was a time when I read nothing but 'epic fantasy' and didn't really care much for what else was out there. Running the blog (and seeing what books come through the door) has really opened my eyes to what else is on the bookshelves and what is popular right now. The success of a certain blonde vampire killer, on the TV, has set off a similar trend in the world of books and it seems like every publishing house has at least one author (usually more) who can churn out the latest instalment of some teenager who has anger management issues where the undead are concerned. Laurell K. Hamilton is the prime suspect and Kelley Armstrong has a neat line in werewolves and witches, Jennifer Rardin and Lilith Saintcrow are also making inroads into the genre. I've read about vampires and werewolves but what I hadn't seen (until now) was a book where the protagonist was a female demon. Enter Jackie Kessler with her tales of Jezebel, a succubi on the run from Hell and working in a lap-dancing club to make ends meet. In a neat twist from the usual fare; it's the demon that falls in love with a human this time round, a man with a few secrets of his own…
That's about as much as I can tell you though because I got halfway through the book and put it down, probably won't pick it up again. It wasn't that it was badly written or lacking in originality, the story flowed well and it was interesting to see Jezebel adapting to life in a human body. Yet again, the problem I had with a book of this nature is the overabundance of sex. You could turn around and say; “well what were you expecting? This is a book about a succubi!” You’d be absolutely right in that respect, a book about a sex demon is (by it’s very nature) going to contain a lot of sex. It’s just I think there are a lot more ways to spice up a story like this than simply covering it in sex. We’re talking about demons here; creatures with enormous strength and many other magical gifts, plenty of scope to write an entertaining story. I don’t have a problem with sex in books generally, just when I think it’s overdone.
What I will say in Kessler’s favour is that if you’re a fan of this sub-genre then you could do a lot worse than check her books out. I reckon you’d like them, they’re just not for me.
In fact, if you’re a fan of paranormal romance/urban fantasy and you’d like to try this book out (and the sequel ‘The Road to Hell’) drop me a line and I will send you the two signed copies that I received. I probably won’t read them and it would be good if they could go to someone who would enjoy them. First come, first served with this one!