Veras is a vigilante group of metahuman Natches, using their powers to keep the world safe from less benevolent Natches who aren’t inclined to behave. They may all have to work together, however, to stop transdimensional alien elves from turning human society back to raw nature.
Title: Succubus Lips
Author: Lila Jubilee
Review Rating: 4 stars
Codename: Vagina Boosties
Succubus Lips is a reverse harem urban fantasy that features a favourite trope of mine: the do-gooding young and horny undercover team. The endless dance of good and evil and good knickers and evil knickers. The potential for lots of fun is there.
Vigilante group Veras is a bit more X-Men or Mutant X (does anybody remember that show except for me?) than 21 Jump Street, and everyone has their special power. Our female lead, Aurora, is what you’d call a support class if you were putting an adventuring party together: she doesn’t do damage, but everybody else’s powers are stronger while she’s there.
The fact that Aurora’s powers are sexual in nature and have tended to define how her male colleagues see her has been bad for Aurora’s sense of herself as a professional and as a human being. Going through life as Codename: Succubus Lips is not an easy path. (What, Zander, was “Magical Vagical” already taken?)
Politics and elves
The cast of Succubus Lips is fabulously diverse racially, sexually, and morally. The good guys are very tolerant of one another, except for their unfortunate tendency to become morons when Aurora’s powers are discussed. The bad guys might be better for Aurora in some ways, if not for their destructive political activities against Typical society. Even the Nelians, the invading elves bent on regrowing the Earth, have a point of view to defend. I respect author Lila Jubilee for making those choices and elevating Succubus Lips above less thoughtful novels.
(The righteous immorality of the Renegades in the protection of Natch rights feels most to me like the smashed windows and arson attacks of the suffragettes. I understand where they’re coming from, but it’s only a matter of time before somebody dies.)
Succubus Lips is well-written and subversively funny, willing to toy with the reader’s expectations and then do the opposite. It’s sexy without being tedious, even as Aurora’s various situations begin to collide in the third act. It’s light and playful, and reading it never feels like work. The specifics of Aurora’s powers seem to be too much for the male brains in Succubus Lips, but Aurora is able to work out what a triumph looks like for her. The boys will just have to deal with it.❤