Thursday, 23 October 2014

Killer Instinct


Killer Instinct
Rating: 5/5
Buy or Borrow: Buy!
Source: Copy courtesy of the Publisher!
File Under: Pleasantly creepy, Criminal Minds for teens.

Still dealing with the events from The Naturals, when Cassie faced her serial killer aunt, Cassie is also trying to avoid feeling anything for either Dean or Michael, torn between the two, and she's going to have to make a decision. Luckily for Cassie, a distraction from said decision soon makes itself apparent.

A new agent, Agent Sterling, one with an interesting connection to both Briggs and Dean has moved in to the house. She's there to evaluate the programme after what happened in the Summer, and she's a stickler for following the rules. The consequences when you don't follow them? Ankle trackers. Seriously. But it's kind of hard to follow the rules when a new case for Briggs and Sterling hits very close to home.

Victims start turning up, killed by a murderer with the exact same MO as Dean's father, Daniel Redding, and there is far more to this case than meets the eye. The Naturals just can't help but break some rules to investigate for Dean's sake, but it's not long before our favourite teens are officially pulled in to help on the case. Dean finds it hard to not only be thinking about his father again, but actually having to see him. The team are going to have to sift through a serial killers mind games, half truths and dressed up lies to solve the case and put the copycat behind bars. Cassie will come face to face with Dean's father. Decisions will be made. Truths will come out and one member of the team will be put in immediate danger. But......is the killer really who it appears to be?

I totally went all voice-over "Next Week on The Naturals" but whatever. You guys can feel from my words just how full of tension and action this book is. I mean woah. I hate to say this but....I think I'm loving the series more than the Raised By Wolves series, which I thought was impossible but apparently not so!

I'm a huge Criminal Minds fan, in the sense that I'll watch each episode as it airs each week ONCE, because if I try to marathon it and watch a season in a day, I get majorly freaked out, and I'm sure some people know exactly what I'm talking about, a friend of mine certainly did! So I watched up to season 4 then just cut to the new season! This series, for me, is like a teen Criminal Minds, and I love it. It's the right level of creepy with how Cassie and Dean get in to the killers head, and the little view points from the killer, which I love I mean way to add mystery and intrigue while giving nothing away! I like to search them for clues and then still be totally wrong. It really sets such a perfect, creepy vibe!

I re-read The Naturals before reading this, just to get in the zone and back up to speed, but also so I can say that Killer Instinct carries on perfectly from The Naturals. Time has passed, but you're straight back in with Cassie and her dealing with things and then other things start happening ASAP. I love how there's no faffing for x amount of chapters, it's straight in and action from the go. The pace for this is fantastically fast, with the right atmosphere to the book and the right amount of tension that gets ratcheted up at the exact right moment until you're turning pages so fast you're in danger of genuinely injuring yourself!

I really enjoy the characters. All of them are so genuine, all have different backstories, and all are written so incredibly well that they truly come to life, I love how they all fit together to create a team. I especially love how a little nugget of information about each character is given away in each book, we don't have a full picture for Sloane, and Lia's background yet, but we have a pretty much complete one for Dean and I'm not sure if we've got everything about Michael yet. But I love how you get it bit by bit, so your opinion of the character and perspective of them grows and changes. Lia is a great example, and how she changes and her whole thing with Dean. Love me some Lia! I really love Sloane too and I'm hoping for more of her next book! She's so adorably awkward with her facts and SHE'S TOO CUTE AND I JUST WANT TO HUG HER.

Cassie, is a character I connected with and empathized from the beginning, and in this book that is still true. In Killer Instinct, every decision she made, was a decision that in my opinion, any regular person would have made (mostly). Most of her reactions are realistic and so on, and she's an excellent narrator, engaging and at times humorous. Every character has a flaw, and is damaged in some way and it makes every single one of them more believable and realistic than if they'd been perfect, and you can empathize with every single character and most of the time it's not hard to work out certain characters motivations in their actions. All of them are a truly unique cast of characters to go with this unique series.

The love triangle is perfectly written. I mean, usually when you have a love triangle you just KNOW who the girl is going to choose and who the obvious choice is, in this series, I have never been sure, and quite frankly, I am torn between the two, a decision is made in this installment between the two, and I'm excited to see where the relationship is going to go, to see if her choice is going to keep this new, better behaviour *frantically tries to word this correctly without spoilers* or if he'll revert back and it'll be all "Ugh I will punch you if you don't sort it out". Both boys where damaged in their own way and their individual reactions to the decision will be interesting. I mean there's no guarantee it's over, things might change. We shall see, but I have to give props to Jennifer for doing an incredibly well written love triangle that kept me guessing! It's a very rare occurrence!

The plot was complex. I thought I had worked out who the killer was by picking up on the little clues scattered throughout the book, and trying to be Cassie and fitting the person to the profile. But then I got one hell of a plot twist and I was wrong....but then there was another plot twist and I was right. This book is incredible. I say this because it's not often I have no idea what's going to happen next, and it's not often that I haven't clocked where the book is going by the first quarter. I literally, just kept getting hit with shocking plot twist after shocking plot twist, and I was just sat there like.....nooooooooooooooo! I loved how Jennifer messed with me, when I thought I had it figured out and then I thought I was wrong but then it was revealed I was right, after I thought I was wrong I was frantically trying to decide which of my other suspects it was and lets just say I won't be changing my career to detective any time soon! I just really love being kept guessing and the plot for Killer Instinct will certainly do that.
Complex, with many threads woven in to it, it's incredibly well thought out and written, especially with how it connects to the first book and with the threads from Deans past. Astounding. Such an incredible amount of research has so clearly gone in to this book!

The setting is another unique thing, I mean a house with casual pictures of serial killers on the wall! I was pleased to see the house get shaken up with Sterlings arrival and I'm loving the new dynamic! Regarding world and the rest of the setting, I've actually been to Virginia, my Uncle is in the marines and they where stationed there for a while so I've been to Quantico, I've been around Virginia and we did the whole touristy drive around DC when my Uncle was in a marathon. It was, however, back in 2009, but the world building for the book brought the memories flooding back and added to my mental image map of the area!

Killer Instinct is a fascinating and strong second installment to a series with an incredibly unique (At least to me) premise. Fast paced, full of tension and mystery, with plenty of action, it really is  near impossible to put this book down, especially when the tension really ramps up and you KNOW the big reveal is coming! Try your hand at being detective and using the killer's POV and Cassie's profile to work out who it is, or don't, either way this book is going to get your brain working as you try to figure out just what is going to happen next, and I can guarantee whatever you think you know, is going to be wrong because there are some incredibly huge plot twists that are going to bitch slap you.

Killer Instinct has raised the stakes and changed the rules, and I'm excited to see where it goes next, and who where going to learn more about next! Bring on round three!

(This review has made me realize how much I use exclamation points instead of full stops because I think if I use a full stop I'll sound really blah and not totally psyched by the book!) (<<<<There I go again)

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