I was fortunate enough to receive an ARC of this book from Ms. Teglia. In the past, I've always really liked her books. I cracked this open, having not really known much about it, and imagine my surprise and (I admit) dismay, when I realized it was in first person. OK... I thought. I'll persevere. I've often said I need to expand my horizons, and this was the perfect opportunity. Stupid moment - I often read Charli's blog, and I won this ARC there. How did I not realize it was in first person? D-oh!
From the OBC: Cursed to roam the earth as a succubus for eternity, Edana offers men their most erotic fantasy in exchange for their mortal souls. As a demon, no human can get close enough to love her without being destroyed by her powers. But Eli Moss is a Nephilim, a descendent of a branch of angels who chose earth as their domain, married human women and taught them magic. For centuries, angels and demons alike ignored the Nephilim. Until one began to bind and banish demons - Eli.
Sent to tempt Eli into an act of lust and steal his soul, Edana soon discovers that his resistance enables him to touch her without weakening, and for the first time in her human life or demonic existence, she experiences the touch of a lover...one she must destroy before he destroys her.
What I liked: I liked Edana's journey toward self-discovery. She learns about herself through her interactions with Eli and Dal, Eli's brother. I also liked the friendship that sprung up between Edana and Dal. It was obviously unexpected for Edana, but even she appreciated the irony in it, and enjoyed learning about Eli through Dal's eyes.
Eli was a tremendously fascinating guy. For an angel, he seemed awfully conflicted, as did his brother. Because it was first person, it seemed a bit difficult to get into their personal issues and deliver a full-blown character study of the two men, which is a shame, because each of them was fascinating in their own right. What else? Well, I'd be remiss if I didn't mention that Teglia sure knows how to write a sex scene. Smokin'.
I do think that the bedroom was the place that we best saw into Eli's thoughts and feelings from Edana's perspectives - when he first begins to lose control. We see his facial expressions and his body language through Edana's eyes. I think this was as well done as it is possible to have done it without actually putting us into Eli's head. But this wasn't until near the end of the book, and I missed learning his thoughts before then except through a quirk of his mouth (which could truly mean anything).
I like Charlene Teglia's voice. I always have. There's just something very personable about the way that she writes. It makes you want to know her characters better.
What I didn't like: As I mentioned above, there is a lot of sex. A lot. Menages, sex between Edana and Dal, and between Edana and Eli. Granted, the female lead is a succubus, but still. I'm all for a good old fashioned menage, but I began to feel as though the sex became gratuitous, and angels having grauitous sex just seems wrong to me.
Also, as I said, Nephilim are a type of angels. First, let me say that these 2 guys seemed anything but angelic *wink wink*. A more wicked pair of guys, I don't think you'll come across. I'm all for a wicked good guy, however. But, we never saw Eli doing his good guy thing. I would have loved to see him in action (and not the 'in bed' action, which we saw plenty of) to see why Edana was sent to destroy him.
Which brings me to my final point. First person. I found Eli to be a really complex guy. He's probably the most interesting character in the book. All that leashed passion, and tight control. But because the book is in first person, we never get his perspective. And that was the one I really wanted to read about. It was as if he knew who he was and had a purpose, then this woman comes into his life and turns it all upside down. He seemed like such a conflicted, tortured guy once he met up with Edana. My favorite kind of hero. Through Edana's friendship and talks with Dal, Teglia tries to give us some insight into Eli, but it falls somewhat short, in my opinion.
To me, there's nothing better than actually getting into the head of the character that you are reading about. Granted, this is my own personal bias. I know that there are plenty of you out there who adore first person. And for those of you that do, Eli is definitely a fascinating character - intense, controlled, sexy as hell, heroic (or so we are told). I just prefer to know for myself what he is thinking and feeling. It's a personal POV preference.
So a mixed bag. I think, had this been in third person, I likely would have gotten more perspective, even during the sex scenes, and while I still likely would have found them gratuitous, I might have found them more of a plot-forwarding device than straight sex for sex's sake.
However, if you like a lot of sex, good writing, and first person, then you will likely love Wicked Hot. It is released July 22 from St. Martin's Press. Buy it here or here.