This is a review that hurts to write because I can’t say that I enjoyed any part of “A Terrible Love” in the aftermath. When you have characters that are threadbare and have very little to hold onto, that’s one measure. When you have abrasive characters who are constantly at each others throats and championed for that violence, that’s another. When you have a very thin and unbelievable plot, that’s yet another problem. And yet another thing to consider is that your convoluted writing can throw the whole story out of balance. All of these things, and more, took away from my experience of reading my first novel from Marata Eros.
Where to begin? It’s worth saying that the premise of this book isn’t one without merit or intrigue. The blurb is more enticing than the actual product of the book though. Jess is a young woman running away from a past that involved one of her friends being killed on her behalf. Plagued with guilt, she has to adjust to a new life under a new identity. Part of that means leaving some of the things she left behind in her old life – including a passion for dancing, which contradicts her profile to lay low.
Her best friend isn’t buying that though, as she signs Jess up for an audition that leads to a plethora of connections, including two young men who vie for her affections. I seriously had a hard time getting behind any of the relationships in this novel, because half the time Jess would be more willing to focus on how hot the guys were rather than their problematic actions, and the other half of the time she would blame herself for their unwanted advances, only to turn around and say she wanted and needed them. I couldn’t make head for tails what this character’s motivations were and it bothered the heck out of me.
Don’t even get me started on the love interests. Between Mitch (the supposed good guy) and Cas (the bad boy lover), I wanted to throttle them both for their abrasiveness towards the heroine and jealous streaks. It felt like a needless toggle for drama and with very little heart or consequence to it. It’s made worse when you realize the connections these men have to Jess and the peril she’s in from the threat of a serial killer – the same serial killer who killed her friend. There were sexual harassment and violent rape attempts made through the book that made me sick to read, especially for the glorified elements of it.
The convoluted narrative style didn’t make this work any easier to follow. Many times, the sentence structure and substitution of words did not fit the narrative voice of the character and threw me out of the story. Where some simple phrases were used on one end of the story, other parts of it had Jess speaking more mature, and it was quite inconsistent throughout the work.
I would say that this work pretty much reminded me of Beautiful Disaster with the backdrop of a serial killer and a misogynistic, needy FBI agent who manipulated circumstances and the heroine just to get justice for killing someone they were both connected to. And how they managed to find love and have all that glorified “you say no, but your body says yes” sex is beyond me.
I did read the sequel to see what it had to provide apart from this story, and I’ll expand on my thoughts separate from that. But I would not recommend this at all.
Overall score: 0.5/5 stars
Note: I received this as an ARC from NetGalley, from the publisher Gallery Books.