Author: Sophie Jaff
Source: TLC Book Tours
Links: Bookshop (affiliate link) |Goodreads
Summary: This was a book that really shouldn’t have worked for me, but I loved the writing and I can’t get the story out of my head.
After centuries of dormancy, the Sickle Man has been awakened. His sole purpose is to hunt down Katherine Emerson, a woman with a dark destiny, but first he must gather the emotions of other victims. As his brutal crimes terrorize the women of Manhattan, Katherine must decide how much she trusts the two new men in her life. Although one is dark and brooding (of course!) and one is kind and handsome, it’s not clear what they are each hiding from her.
I hate love triangles and I’m not excited about violent thrillers, but the magical aspect of this story drew me in. It seemed like a dark version of magical realism, with fantasy elements all mixed up with a thriller set in an otherwise realistic world. When the first chapter was a sexually and violently explicit scene from the sadistic killer’s perspective, I was a bit disappointed. In particular, I was hoping the killer’s motivation would be less simplistic than just being a sadist. I’m glad I didn’t give up there though because I really enjoyed this book overall. The rest of the book had very few explicit descriptions of violence, although there was a steamy sex scene. And the love triangle was alright because I was reasonably happy with how the main character handled it. While I’m not a fan of books that portray women as being interested in arrogant men, the guy in this book didn’t seem controlling and certainly wasn’t abusive, so he didn’t bother me much either.
With all the things I was worried about turning out to be non-issues, I was able to focus on the things I loved about this book. The writing was beautiful, especially the descriptions of emotions as colors. I liked that the author often listed items in a way that felt like poetry, although this technique was perhaps a little overused. The story itself pulled me in and wouldn’t let me go. I couldn’t wait to find out what happened next and desperately wanted to learn more about the mythology of the world. I particularly enjoyed the inclusion of snippets of a fairy tale throughout the book.
Most of this book was a four star read for me – I really liked it. An ending that wrapped up the world building that had happened so far, so that I felt I understood what was going on, could easily have made this a five star read for me. Unfortunately, the ending was very rushed, not only providing little explanation of the previous world building, but dumping a lot of new mythology into the story in a very confused way. For that reason, I was tempted to only give this three stars, but I find that I can’t. Something about the emotional experience of reading this book was just too good. I can’t stop thinking about this story and I think I’ll feel compelled to read the sequel. I just hope the author will finish off the world building in a more satisfying way!
Have you ever loved a book that you feel like you shouldn’t? One that includes some pet peeves of yours or which was objectively less good than your experience reading it?