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09/09/2004 Entry: "INCUBUS DREAMS -- Seduced by the Sexy Side (Lynn)"

Incubus Dreams

Ok, about INCUBUS DREAMS. [Fans self....]

I liked this book a lot. I'll probably buy the hardcover as soon as it comes out because I really feel it needs a reread. And probably will buy the ebook although I'll wait on that until the ebook goes down to paperback prices. I'm a book junkie though.

[Fans self some more, just remembering the book.]

But I'm probably weird. Part of that may be that I do read erotica, even though I do like a romantic subplot in that, so I may have a higher tolerance for overt and extensive sexuality in a book. This book has some scenes that I found "hot" but not erotic. In spite of being explicit, the underlying structure and purpose of the scenes didn't strike me as erotica-based but as aspects of character development. I would agree that this book could use somewhat more editing--more about that in a minute--but I like big, juicy books with lots of character stuff, and I'm happy with less plot.

In fact, there is a plot in this book, and if Hamilton were less successful, somebody could probably take the six or seven chapters that deal with strippers being drained dry by unknown vampires and the two or three chapters about a group of vampires that belong to a "vampire church" that doesn't follow traditional vampire protocols (and which may be producing--ummm--sort of "unhealthy, badly taught vampires") and there would probably be a book that the fans of the early Anita books would like. Especially if there was just a chapter or two of sex or sexual tension.

But what we have is the other half of the book which has a lot of stuff about sex and power and sex and Anita's relationships. And power. And sex. We see a lot more of Richard in this book, and this book seemed to rationalize what had happened to that triumvirate as well as explaining some of the character changes that we have seen in Jean-Claude, Richard, and Anita. I liked this partial redemption of Richard. It didn't seem to me that we had that many more new characters. If you haven't read the last couple of books recently, they might have blurred together, although they
didn't for me.

Unlike Suzanne, I did like the Richard/Anita/Jean-Claude scene. I would agree with her though that it wasn't erotic, but in fact was somewhat edgy and awkward because the characters were experiencing it as edgy and awkward. I thought that was the point, but I can see how it wouldn't work for people.

I liked it that it seemed to me that Anita was moving toward a view that she could learn to live a life that wasn't what she expected it to be in terms of little house with a white picket fence. For me this had a wider symbolism that life isn't what we expect and sometimes it is scary and pushes us places we never wanted or expected to go.

By a conservative estimate probably half the book is sex scenes or leads up to sex scenes. I regard that as a feature, not a bug, but in spite of all the sex (and you may be gathering that there is a lot of sex, with a number of men), it isn't erotica--it's something else. I'm not sure I have a name for it, but the discomfort seems to me to be part of the intended effect.

And I think it's interesting to note that as the sex quotient has gone up, the ick/yuck/gore quotient has gone down. There were early books when I was skipping the dripping ichor... And I really haven't heard people mentioning that.

I did find plenty of Laurell K. Hamilton's trademark humor in INCUBUS DREAMS. For example, one character complains that he doesn't want to be offered sex only when it is a "metaphysical emergency", which for some reason I found hysterically funny. It still gives me the giggles a couple of weeks later. And Anita at one point says that a particular sexual episode was "accidental" (i.e., to feed the ardeur) and Jean-Claude comments wryly that only Anita could claim that she had "accidental sex."

I do have one major beef mentioned above about editing. I would hope that a lot of the numerous typo-level errors will be corrected in the published version of the book. But there is a *major, major* continuity error where a whole subplot was taken out of the book, and you lose a whole day and a whole series of events (Hamilton's blogs had given clues to what was deleted). And then at the end of the following chapter, there are still a bunch of artifacts from the part that is gone and still the effect of something that no longer happened in the book.

On the other hand, some continuity problems from previous books (e.g., Damian's age) are corrected in this.

The people who don't like the way the series has been going aren't going to like this book at all. And a lot of people who might like this book would never like or read the early books because they are fundamentally different, and you would have to like both. The style now almost reminds me of Diana Gabaldon, not in its discipiline, but in lush writing and character development over a number of books.

Obviously the publisher thinks someone will buy it....

So I liked it and recommend it but only if you are OK with what has happened so far because we are obviously still in for a long complex ride in books to come....

[Fans self again, looking forward to the release so I can read it again.]--Lynn

--INCUBUS DREAMS review page

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