Author: Sophie Jaff
Genre: thriller, mystery, supernatural
Series: Nightsong Trilogy #1
Published: May 12 2015
Source: TLC Book Tours for review
This electrifying, addictive, and hypnotically beautiful debut spins suspense and literary fantasy into a stunning epic—the first volume in the Night Song Trilogy—ablaze with fear, mystery, and possibility.
Katherine Emerson was born to fulfill a dark prophecy centuries in the making, but she isn’t aware that this future awaits. However, there is one man who knows the truth: A killer stalking the women of New York, a monster the media dubs the “Sickle Man” because of the way he turns his victims into canvasses for his mesmerizing, twisted art.
Unleashed upon Manhattan after lying dormant for centuries, the Sickle Man kills to harvest the precious hues of his victims. As his palette grows, so too does his power. Every death brings him closer to the one color, and the one woman, he must possess at any cost.
While the city hunts the Sickle Man, Katherine must decide what to do about two men who have unexpectedly entered her life: handsome and personable David, and alluring yet aloof Sael. Though she’s becoming increasingly torn between them, how well does she really know them? And why is she suddenly plagued by disturbing visions?
Told from the alternating viewpoints of Katherine and the Sickle Man, Love Is Red is a riveting thriller that unfolds into an intense story of obsession and control, desire and fate. Katherine may not realize it yet, but with this haunting novel—as arrestingly original as Marisha Pessl’s Night Film, Patrick Süskind’s Perfume, and Lauren Beukes’s The Shining Girls—her moment of awakening is here. And soon she will find herself fighting a battle at the edges of our world, among forces more dangerous than we can possibly imagine.
For me, supernatural thrillers live or die based on a few things: how well-developed the paranormal is within the storyline and the mundane aspects, how obvious or non-obvious the killer is to the audience, how developed the characters are, and how strong the writing is. Love Is Red did a number of things really right for me over the course of those almost 400-pages: the writing occasionally is strong, the mystery killer really is a mystery. But while I enjoyed some of the book, on the whole, I was rather whelmed by it on the whole.
Sophie Jaff is a good writer, and also a creative one. Her unique style and voice lends really well to vivid imagery and creating a lasting impression, as shown here in her debut novel. Her killer-at-large is particularly eloquent at times, using language inventively and almost like an example of synesthesia. While the entire novel wasn't a favorite for me, I did like how the author used language for her characters. It definitely made for a memorable reading experience. There were a few genuinely creepy and unsettling moments in Love Is Red, when Jaff's writing was just perfect and evocative.
I needed more substance for the worldbuilding/supernatural to solidify into something believable for me. The reader is introduced to characters and a story that all seem mundane, but also contains hints to, and finally is revealed to be, supernatural. However, there are a lot of terms and background agendas at work to which the reader is not privy. There's no real explanation or reveal about why all this happens or even what the point is. It's just too open-ended to work for me. I needed more foundation and detail than the novel provided so in the end, it didn't satisfy me when the big finale came around.
The first in a trilogy and a debut besides, Love is Red is being marketed pretty smartly. It is a good fit for fans of Lauren Beukes. Fans of the weird and the creepy will find another author to read with Sophie Jaff and Love is Red. If you're more open-minded about open-endedness and worldbuilding, I can see this being a genuine hit for that audience.
About Sophie JeffA native of South Africa, Sophie Jaff is an alumna of the Graduate Musical Theatre Writing Program at Tisch School of the Arts, New York University, and a fellow of the Dramatists Guild of America. Her work has been performed at Symphony Space, Lincoln Center, the Duplex, the Gershwin, and Goodspeed Musicals. She lives in New York City.
Find out more about Sophie at her website and connect with her on Facebook.
Sophie’s Tour Stops
Monday, May 11th: My Bookish Ways
Tuesday, May 12th: No More Grumpy Bookseller
Wednesday, May 13th: A Bookish Way of Life
Thursday, May 14th: Spiced Latte Reads
Friday, May 15th: Kahakai Kitchen
Wednesday, May 20th: Doing Dewey
Monday, May 25th: Booksie’s Blog
Tuesday, May 26th: Ms. Nose in a Book
Wednesday, May 27th: From the TBR Pile
Thursday, May 28th: Ageless Pages Reviews
Monday, June 1st: Hopelessly Devoted Bibliophile
Tuesday, June 2nd: Jenny Waldo
Tuesday, June 2nd: Sharon’s Garden of Book Reviews
Wednesday, June 3rd: My Shelf Confessions
Thursday, June 4th: A Dream Within a Dream
Monday, June 8th: In Bed with Books
TBD: Bibliophilia, Please