Erryn reviews ‘Against the Grain: A Human’s Guide to Wooing an Asexual Incubi (An Urban MM Fantasy Romance)’ by Nikole Knight. This book was released on July 23, 2021 and is 194 pgs long. The audiobook version of this story was released August 25, 2021 narrated by Jason Chacon and is 8 hrs and 19 mins. A copy was provided in exchange for an honest review.
Why I read this book: I am enjoying the Fire and Brimstone series so was willing to try something else by this author.
The first step to recovery is admitting you have a problem.
Ellian has a problem, and his name is Felix Masters. When Ellie, a high society male succubus, joins Against the Grain, he has a foolproof plan: attend the support group for supernatural misfits, figure out how to correct his…abnormality, and then return to the Incubi compound to join his betrothed. For once in Ellie’s suffocatingly controlled existence, he will bring honor to his family name, regardless of the personal cost. As long as a certain awkwardly sweet human does not ruin his carefully laid plans.
Felix Masters has a problem, and his name is Ellian. Felix never meant to crash into a therapy group for magical oddballs, but that single stumble changes his world forever. Magic, glamour, and succubus tails are only the beginning, and when faced with a skittish Incubi dead set on self-destruction, Felix is determined to change Ellie’s mind and, with a little bit of luck, capture his heart as well.
An asexual succubus trapped by fate and expectation. An insecure human desperate to set him free. Join Felix and Ellie as they find acceptance, courage, and unconditional love in the one place they never expected: each other.
Possible triggering material includes: Supernatural culture “norms” that border on child abuse (past), emotional abuse, and dubious consent (non-graphic/off-page). One character struggles with a form of gender dysphoria and self-harm manifesting in a type of eating disorder. Side note: mpreg exists in this magical race/universe, but it is not featured on page or experienced by the main characters.
The author had me at wooing an asexual incubi. Did I know what an incubi is? Uh, no. Did I know what a succubus is? Again, no. Am I much clearer now? Not really…but I did somewhat enjoy the ride.
I enjoyed the concept of a supernatural support group for, uh, things (because people’s not the right word, obviously) who don’t fit. I’m a misfit in many circles in my life so I could relate. Ellie has a problem – he’s expected to mate but he’s not wanting to. He’s being forced by his family, against his will, to mate. He meets Felix and discovers there are other ways of approaching life and that includes doing what he wants, not what his family is forcing upon him.
Felix. Dear bumbling Felix. The guy who lives above his uncle’s taxidermy store. The guy who can’t quite get it all together and discovers things about his past he didn’t know. He falls in love with Ellie easily because he’s just a loving guy and he’s determined to help Ellie find happiness, no matter what it takes. There are dark undertones in this story, but also a light-hearted approach.
Jason Chacon is a new narrator to me and I did enjoy his performance. His differentiation of the two voices was good so that helped. If another one of these books comes out on audio, I’ll likely pick it up if only to see what other maladapted creatures are out there.
8/10 Pots of Gold (80% Recommended) – Compares to 4/5 Stars
Nikole Knight is a born and bred Hoosier living in a top-secret location in Europe. She’s the lone female in the house, unless you count the dog, and she writes love in all its forms. When she’s not racing after a half-naked toddler or arguing with a child’s logic, Nikole can be found in her writing nook, typing away as her fingers turn to nubs.