Monday, November 2, 2015

Review: All In

Title: All In
Author: Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Series: The Naturals
Volume: 3
Genre: Mystery
Release Date: November 3, 2015

A Quick Introduction: Cassie and the rest of the Naturals are called to Las Vegas on a case, just as Cassie receives word that a body fitting her mother's description has been discovered. As she tries not to dwell on it, they face a killer whose pattern is difficult to understand, who changes methods of killing with each kill, and who hasn't been caught on camera despite killing in public.

Out of Ten: 7/10

Review at a Glance: An enjoyable addition to a fast-paced YA mystery series.

Review: Due a mysterious collection of circumstances, this book came into my hands a bit early. By which I mean the library somehow managed to get a book to me before the release date. As opposed to its usual "a good six weeks after the release date, minimum." Anyway, to onward to the review.

This latest installment, the second-to-last one in the series, takes Cassie and her fellow Naturals to Las Vegas to investigate a serial killer that has been proving unpredictable. After four kills in less than, the killer seems to stop- but serial killers don't just stop. The weapon is different every time, the degree of involvement is different every time, the only consistent thing is the wrists of the victims are marked with numbers. This case is a challenge that is pushing the Naturals further than they've ever been, and its bringing a lot of things to light about all of them. And with a body matching Cassie's mother's description having been found after five years, she has as much to deal with as anyone.

One of my favourite parts of this book was getting to see the Naturals grow as a group. They've all been through a lot, and they're finally all starting to find support in each other. Its a strange, shifting sort of equilibrium, and I really like reading it. They're all growing as people, and they've all got very different relationships with everyone else, and it enriches the reading experience.

The plot was something that let me down a bit in the first book, but I now think that was mostly because I was expecting it to be a little more... real, almost? Once you get past expecting the plot to be 100% believable, it's all fine. Now that I've gotten used to the way the plots in this series flow, I found it interesting to follow. Everything is connected to the characters in these plots, in a way that murders realistically probably wouldn't be, if that makes sense. There's something that makes the characters feel like characters in a story, rather than people in a story, sometimes.

The writing style makes these novels an odd, interesting combination of lightness and grimmer themes. I generally don't love getting a peak in the killer's head when I'm reading murder mysteries (it ruins the surprise), but the way that Jennifer Lynn Barnes uses second person actually makes the point of view a unique contributor to the story.

Overall, this was a fast-paced, entertaining continuation of the series. People who enjoyed the first two are likely to enjoy this one. While there are still flaws, it makes an enjoyable quick read, and I'm really looking forward to reading the finale.

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