I was excited to read 'Next-Door Incubus (Becoming Lust Book 1)' by Destiny Diess. What's not to love about a story about the demon next door with the smoldering good looks, pretty green eyes, and love handles on his head?
My expectations for storytelling weren't high and I was fine with that. I figured there'd be a little interspersed between a lot of fun smut scenes, with a ton of playful flirting along the way. Well, none of that was exactly what I got. So, even though my expectations were low and a bit shallow, I was still disappointed.
This book really reads like a piece of weak fanfic. I mean, the author has no trouble putting coherent thoughts together or even setting down a path to where she wants to end up.
In fact, I think Destiny was rather ambitious. She seemed to mean to tell a story, rather that just focusing on juicy bits. But instead, every chance she had to explore the plot points she laid out, she skipped them. They would happen somewhere 'off scene.' She would often sort of forward past them by a few hours, days, or even weeks.. only to pick up by having some character tell us that they occurred.
It's the strangest thing. Relationship bomb? Vindication? Dramatic life-changes? World altering deaths? All discussed after the fact. All pivotal plot points, if the story had actually been written instead of alluded to. Nothing seen at all. Just-- 'hey, so.. this happened.. and now here's the result of that.'
At that point, she may as well have left out the story altogether, because I feel like I slid into a chat room somewhere in the early 2000's and just happened to see someone 'writing' in a scrolling window for a few friends who had even less of an idea of how a book might read. Which is really a shame. I feel like with some training, Destiny could develop into a relatively worthy author, but she needs to learn to focus and expand on details and concepts. She needs to slow down and let the reader experience what's happening.
Of the 'steam scenes,' of which there were many, there's a threesome which is pretty well done. It is by far the most detailed scene, but really just because so much happens.
For the most part, what's hottest about this book and our big, strong incubus.. is the themes. He's a naughty boy. He likes playing with the idea of getting caught, he gets a bit pushy when he's in a lusty mood, and the things he does are just plain hot. Unfortunately though, like everything else.. many of the scenes end up feeling really rushed because they're just not visualized well.
The sex scenes felt a bit awkward. They felt as if they were written as if the idea of them was based on adult videos for traditionally masculine target audience, rather than from the perspective of a woman with any experience. Some aspects of them.. some of the verbal exchanges and settings are pretty solid, it just isn't cohesive.
There's a decent amount of character building actually, I was surprised by how much backstory she had for them, even if it was told in sputtering amounts through a catch-up mechanism. And their backstories were interesting. If told well, they would have rocked.. just like the main story itself.
Sadly, I didn't really care for the female lead. Mostly she did a lot of whining and telling us how alternatingly 'good' or 'sinful' she was. A word to the wise, let the stories tell us these things. When they come from the character's mouths.. they're not believable.
Eros is rather lovely though and absolutely her shining moments in the novel due to the lack of detail everywhere else. The information dump isn't ideal, but you have to take the positives where you can find them sometimes.
Also, I did really like the take on Lucifer's kingdom. She actually gave us a bit of imagery here and I was starving for it by then, but I just liked the direction she decided to go with him. It was a good choice and she has so much potential maybe in a couple of years.
Repetition of the mention of their scents got really old. Don't get me wrong, I like coming away with a tangible idea of what being around a character might be like.. and scent is a really good way to convey that, but I don't need to be told about it every few pages.
Anyway, I know there's an audience out there for this book. I won't say it's awful, but it's not good either.
BARNES & NOBLE
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