Love Is Red (Nightsong Trilogy #1)Love Is Red by Sophie Jaff
My rating: 2/5 cats
One StarOne Star

prologue: told from the perspective of the biblical joseph, detailing the time from the annunciation to the birth of jesus. and one of the wise men is an alien. unless “alien” is being used more loosely to mean “foreign” or “other.” but it’s got silver eyes and menace.

chapter one—a second-person POV that graphically details a bondage-y erotic encounter between a gentleman and a woman which tastefully cuts out right before he slices her to death with his knife.

has any book ever gone from christ to “cunt” more quickly than this one?

yeah, i do not understand this book. i mean, i understand the words, but i’m trying to understand the “why” of it. like “why does this book need to be a trilogy to tell its story?” probably because it is a case of “too many ideas.” i’m not even sure i understand the audience it is meant to reach.

because what is it?? is it a serial killer thriller? a romance novel? a horror novel?? a sci-fi slipstreamy thing? is it supernatural or reincarnation or biblical or medieval or folklore or torture porn?? it is the james franco of booksSLOW DOWN AND JUST DO ONE THING PLEASE!

it is being marketed as Night Film meets The Secret History, but it’s more like Perfume: The Story of a Murderer meets American Psycho. i know all books wish they were The Secret History, but the only similarity between those two books here is that they both contain words. this one has a lot of sex, a lot of gore, and an inside-the-head view from a serial killer. henceAmerican Psycho, without any of the satire. the killer in this case kills women based on their colors. not their skin color, because that would be wrong, but a version of an aura, where the killer has this sort of mood-ring synesthesia upon which he relies to choose his victims based on the colors of their emotions. but really, he’s just killing time while he hunts one specific victim, katherine, with whom he has unfinished eons-old business to conclude, unbeknownst to her. but he has to wait for her mood/color to change to the most delicious one of all. hintIT’S THE TITLE OF THE BOOK!

Love is red. A little green, a little gold, but lovereal love, true love, divine love – that love is red. It smells like pavements washed by the rain. It smells like the nape of your lover’s neck. It smells like fresh dirt. It sounds like a match being struck, and a jar being opened. It feels like a hand on the swell of your hip. It sounds like a song sung in the dark.

Katherine is not that color yet.

so—there’s shades of Perfume: The Story of a Murderer in there, replacing weird mood-colors for virgin-smell.

see how good i am at readers’ advisory?? someone should hire me!!
seriously—someone hire me.

as for audience, i’m a little less clear on that one. i thing “romantic suspense” would be the most accurate, but the brand of romantic suspense that’s got a lot of murder in it, not the wispy gothic romance. or maybe for fans of the kind of edgy, cruel stuff in the new adult vein.

but be prepared—it’s kind of a muddle. there are chapters (all in second person) told from a quasi-supernatural serial killer’s POV, as he stalks and gruesomely kills women while waiting for katherine to turn red. with love.

while katherine suddenly finds herself having violent visions of the murdered women, but more happily—in a love triangle with two men, one of whom is a little odd, emotionally manipulative and aggressive. and one of whom is just a really nice guy and ohhh, could one of them be the killer trying to make her turn red??? could it be that basic?

yeah, it could.

and you’ll see it coming from miles away.

so but then there are chapters interspersed throughout that are from a manuscript of a medieval folk tale called “the maiden of morwyn castle.” what does that have to do with the serial killer/erotica storyline? no clue. and the biblical stuff?? no clue. and the pennies that begin to appear in katherine’s room—is that creepy or the most roundabout/elaborate/silly calling card ever? and the spooooky, prophetic drawings done by lucas, the four-year-old son of katherine’s roommate?? do they really contribute to the story, or only serve to overcomplicate an already-crowded narrative? and the more capital-p prophecies? what’s up with that? i guess this is why it requires a trilogy—for the author to cram the kitchen sink and all its friends into this.

also—is this erotic, or just icky?

You put some of your fingers into her mouth, holding her jaw apart so her bites feel like nothing more than a puppy teething. You like the wet dark of her mouth, your fingers in the wet dark, and you give her tongue a little pull. Just a little pull because puppy must know when not to bite, puppy must learn. She whimpers. Maybe it hurts. But it hurts in a good way. You like that.

if you said “erotic,” does this change your mind?

“Is my little puppy wet?”

i’m sorry, that’s just silly. no matter how many women he carves up, i can’t find him menacing because of the poor quality of his pillow talk.

wait, WHAT? here’s something interesting—i have two copies of this—one ARC and one finished copy. the reasons why are uninteresting. i read the arc, but when i was just now checking the quotes against the finished copy, i realized that the prologue has been CUT from the book. maybe it appears elsewhere, but it’s no longer the prologue. which makes my review a lie. so maybe some of the things i didn’t like about this book were improved and changed before it went to print and maybe this is now an excellent book that everyone should read!

and ALSO, the readalikes have changed! from:

Night Film
The Secret History
The Bone Clocks
Dean Koontz
Stephen King
Deborah Harkness
Lev Grossman
Diana Gabaldon


Shirley Jackson
Anne Rice
Diana Gabaldon

still not great, but better, anyway.

as always, don’t listen to me, especially in this case where i have been deliberately duped! i’m sure there are better reviews of this book on here. i’m too weary to rewrite this right now. or spellcheck it. or think about it ever again.

mic drop

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