Title: Incubus Honeymoon
Series: Arcana Imperii: Book One
Author: August Li
Publisher: DSP Publications
Length: 274 Pages
At a Glance: Those who can appreciated the style of switching narrative voices will be eager for the next novel in this series. I myself am excited to see this world develop further and revisit Inky and his band of misfit mages.
Reviewed By: Sammy
Blurb: As the so-called magical creatures go, I’m low on the hierarchy, and my powers aren’t much good to human mages. I’m a lover, not a fighter, through and through. I’m also selfish, lazy, and easily bored. But I’m damned good at what I do.
Too bad that won’t get my arse out of this sling.
Do one—granted, uncharacteristic—good deed, and now I’m held hostage to an arrogant faerie prince, trying to track down the one who summoned him while dodging gangbangers, gun runners, and Nazis. Add the powerful mage guilds scrambling to gather firepower for some doomsday event they’re sure is around the corner, and my cushy life of leisure might be nothing but a memory. On top of that, something’s compelling me to change on my most fundamental level. I’m not sure what I’ve got myself mixed up in, but nothing will ever be the same.
Review: The world building and raft of characters in August Li’s Incubus Honeymoon is staggering. Due to the alternating points-of-view narration style that was employed by the author, figuring out who was telling their story was occasionally difficult, but I felt that within a few paragraphs I was able to tell who was narrating when. This was a real hodgepodge of personalities, and not every one of them was very likeable. For instance, when Inky stumbles upon Blossom, a true faerie prince, in a less than savory bar where torture was on the menu, one would have thought Blossom would have been grateful to be taken somewhere safe. Instead, the fairy cleverly traps Inky, a succubus who feeds off another creature’s emotions, into a deal where Inky will help him find the one who called Blossom into this world, and until he does so, poor Inky will find no pleasure in the normal sexual encounters that had always kept him fed.
As the two make their way into the violent underbelly of the mage world, where different factions fight to take control, Inky will meet a few humans along the way who are linked to that world in rather unusual ways. When they discover just who has called Blossom forth, they are a smidge too late as she has already been kidnapped by one of the most powerful mage councils that exists. Now her brother, an arms runner and gun for hire, is their key to finding her. Along the way they will pick up two mages who have managed to remain independent and are determined to help find the girl.
There are many types of paranormals and various types of sexuality present in August Li’s book. From incubi to mages to faeries, this world he has created is absolutely fascinating and fraught with danger. The different mage councils are rather terrifying in the scope of powers that allow them to maim and destroy those who get in their path. Throw in some Nazi skinheads who are lethal in their radicalism and bigotry, and you have an incredibly violent climax that is bound to happen in this novel. But it is the interweaving of all these forces and how they come together that is so fascinating. Plus, the idea that an incubus, who is all about sexual pleasure, could find himself caring more about the emotional happiness of others rather than his own sexual satisfaction was interesting as a side plot point.
Inky’s interactions with them allows the reader to better understand what asexuality is, and, in turn, it shows how they find companionship with those who respected their feelings and loved them. This novel was, in many ways, not a love story, and yet it was. Inky discovered a new side to himself that allowed for him to sacrifice his own need for physical satisfaction on the altar of loving someone and simply wishing to see them content and happy. That person, however, was ruled by such deep anger at his circumstances and the life he’d been dealt that there was no way he could even acknowledge Inky’s affections.
Incubus Honeymoon is the first in the Arcana Imperii series and sets up the world we are about to delve into in future installments very well. It contains a massive cast of characters who are all established quite well despite some being mentioned only peripherally in the story. It also gives us a taste of some established relationships and potential for others to develop in subsequent books. Those who can appreciated the style of switching narrative voices will be eager for the next novel in this series. I myself am excited to see this world develop further and revisit Inky and his band of misfit mages.
You can buy Incubus Honeymoon here:
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