Review: Incubus Touch by Siryn Sueng

Reviewed by Ronelle

Valyn enjoys the snow-covered city of Tromsø, Norway. The long nights are painted by the northern lights, whose energy fuels magic and the potential for intense pleasure. As a siren looking for a mate, this is both a blessing and a source of intense frustration. But when he meets an incubus named Jakai, his long search comes to a blissful end. He’s finally found the man to share his life with. Jakai is mysterious, but kind, and the sex is better than Valyn could have dreamed.

But along with the aurora, the darkness harbors new dangers. The fae have come to town, and they’re not looking to play nice.

***

Incubus Touch was…well…okay, you know what, I don’t know what it was, beyond my very first foray into the realm of M/M. A foray that I’m sort of regretting. Don’t get me wrong, I am in no way turned off by M/M itself, any more than I’m turned off by F/F or M/F/M. It’s something that I think, when well written, can be extremely erotic. In this case, it wasn’t so much the pairing that didn’t do it for me as it was the complete lack of finesse, nuance, or depth.

For starters, I wasn’t a fan of Ms. Sueng’s writing style. The narrative never achieved a comfortable flow, and so I couldn’t get immersed in the story. Thoughts and descriptions were just all over the place and not presented in a linear, organized fashion. For example, Valyn’s walk to the club in the very beginning was a hopscotch back-and-forth of describing the town, explaining that creatures mingle with humans (some better than others), and relating how the winter solstice regenerated their energy. Descriptions and information was often repeated at least twice. And when she decided to shift gears, it was sudden and jarring and harsh. Valyn spends pages getting to the club and then, bam, he’s being groped by an orange-furred, black-striped, bisexual werecat before being shoved up against a wall by an incubus. Valyn dry-humps himself to climax on this guy’s thigh before even telling him his name, so that was a little quick.

Then there’s the word choice, which was extremely limited and repetitive. “Jumping”, “tightening”, and “jolting” were way, way overused, to the point that I had to wonder if these two were fucking or being electrocuted. Ms. Sueng constantly rehashes details like the bed at Jakai’s being circular and in the middle of the room. Descriptions started with “like the first time” then proceed to retell us what the first time was like. Sentences were also awkwardly structured, like “His deft hands had my pants undone and halfway down my legs before I had even begun to undo the zipper after finally getting his belt undone.” Or: “I shuddered at the memory of the bloodlust that had spread chills through me.” And: “Jakai pulled off my erection nice and slow” (that one made me chuckle and think 1) that would hurt and 2) don’t pull that off, he might need it later!).

The blurb led me to believe there would be some element of suspense and/or mystery here. While there were hints and teases, this was simply too short for anything of substance, let alone an attempt to carry multiple threads. The Unseelie felt a little jammed into the story and were then brushed off rather nonchalantly in favor of mating. I wish Ms. Sueng had either made this long enough to support a fully developed erotic suspense tale, or just stuck with one or the other.

As for the characters…I guess nobody promised me intelligent and well-developed. The idea of a male siren was intriguing but ultimately lackluster and with as often as Valyn’s mind went “blank”, I’m kinda surprised the guy could walk and breathe at the same time. I also found him to be almost feminine: he jumped when startled and engaged in morning-after sex gossip with his best friend. Jakai’s treatment of him furthered this impression, as he was prone to protecting him, making him walk on the inside away from the street, holding doors, etc. I’ve nothing against polite affection, but to be honest, until Valyn’s cock made an appearance, a female character could well have stood in his place. Jakai wasn’t much more than a cardboard-cutout of a character, who just made obvious statements and grinned wickedly. His speech was stilted and almost robotic at times. 21k-ish words isn’t a lot of room for character development, I know, I just wish there had been a bit more to these guys.

Despite my overall dislike of Incubus Touch, I was pleased to find that the editing was fairly thorough. I found a couple of typos and they were towards the end (“being sliced opened”, I closed my eyes as and willed him to pick up the damn phone.”). Whether Ms. Sueng hired someone or did it herself, I tip my imaginary hat to her for attending to the technical details. I have great respect for an author who pays attention to this aspect of her work, even if one or two do slip through the cracks.

Bottom line: This author’s style definitely isn’t for me and I felt…bludgeoned by the end. I would not recommend this for anyone new to or even slightly unsure of M/M or anyone hoping for a nuanced plot. Everyone else, you takes your chances.

Rating: D+

*ARC provided for review

Click to purchase: Amazon

Incubus Touch
by Siryn Sueng
Release Date: May 30, 2017
Publisher: Deep Desires Press

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