Against The Grain: A Human’s Guide to Wooing an Asexual Incubi || eARC Review

Title: A Human’s Guide to Wooing an Asexual Incubi
Author: Nikole Knight
Series/Number: Against The Grain #2
Genre: Urban Fantasy, Romance
Age: Adult
Page Count: 90
Publication Date: July 23, 2021
Themes: Gender dysphoria, asexuality, self discovery, friendship

Synopsis:

The first step to recovery is admitting you have a problem…

Ellian has a problem, and its name is Felix Masters. When Ellie, a high society succubus, joins Against the Grain, he has a foolproof plan: attend the support group for supernatural misfits, discover the secret to correcting his… abnormality, and then return to the Incubi compound to join his incubus betrothed. It is a good plan—it is the only plan. Because failure is not an option, not this time. For once in Ellie’s controlled, suffocated existence, he will bring honor to his family name, regardless of the personal cost. That is, as long as a sweet, sweaty human does not mess up his carefully laid plans.

Felix Masters has a problem, and its name is Ellian. Felix never meant to stumble into a therapy group for magical oddballs, but when a beautiful periwinkle boy with sad eyes defends him against a feral vampire, Felix’s world changes forever. Magic, glamour, and succubus tails are only the beginning, and the more he learns about Ellie and his mystical, albeit unjust life, the harder it is for him to fight the Incubi’s magnetic pull. Felix has always had a weakness for a pretty face, after all—and periwinkle happens to be his favorite color.

An asexual succubus trapped by fate and expectation. An insecure human desperate to set him free. Join Felix and Ellie as they—with a little bit of magic and a lot of luck—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.

I received a free copy of this book from Gay Romance Reviews in exchange for an honest review

Collecting my thoughts on this book was a bit difficult, for all the best reasons. I have been finding it hard to clearly get my thoughts in order when it comes to books with asexual representation. This book was no different. For starters I loved our MCs. I loved both Ellie and Felix. Felix was adorably awkward. I loved how he felt like a fully fleshed out character from the beginning. I also loved how his anxiety was represented and how complex he felt. I also really liked Ellie. I really felt for him in his struggle with gender dysphoria and his asexuality.

Being a succubus who doesn’t like sex is complicated and confusing. One thing I really loved was how the worldbuilding was so well weaved with the plot. It didn’t feel clunky or like there was info dumping. I also loved how there was interesting discussions about gender, the differences between incubus and succubus were so well explained. I have not experienced gender dysphoria myself, but I am on the asexual spectrum and the discussion of his asexuality was incredible to read. I loved how Felix was there for Ellie the entire time, no matter what Ellie did or didn’t want. It was incredible to see their relationship grow over time and how they had honest discussions about sex and what was okay and what wasn’t okay.

I think that overall, this book was incredible. It was discussed gender and asexuality in a way that didn’t feel like definitions but like Ellie was a complete person who had his own thoughts and feelings about sex and gender. I love how asexuality was discussed as a spectrum and how Felix was happy to explore things with Ellie the whole time.

I wholeheartedly adore this book and would recommend it to anyone interested in urban fantasy, discussions of gender, and asexual representation.

Rating: 5/5 stars

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