[Review] Killer Instinct by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Killer Instinct
(The Naturals #2)
Author: Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Publication: November 6th, 2014 by Quercus
Page count: 352 (Paperback)
Genre: YA – Espionage, Mystery

Seventeen-year-old Cassie Hobbes has a gift for profiling people. Her talent has landed her a spot in an elite FBI program for teens with innate crime-solving abilities, and into some harrowing situations. After barely escaping a confrontation with an unbalanced killer

Obsessed with her mother’s murder, Cassie hopes she and the rest of the team can stick to solving cold cases from a distance.

But when victims of a brutal new serial killer start turning up, the Naturals are pulled into an active case that strikes too close to home: the killer is a perfect copycat of Dean’s incarcerated father—a man he’d do anything to forget. Forced deeper into a murderer’s psyche than ever before, will the Naturals be able to outsmart the enigmatic killer’s brutal mind games before this copycat twists them into his web for good?With her trademark wit, brilliant plotting, and twists that no one will see coming, Jennifer Lynn Barnes will keep readers on the edge of their seats (and looking over their shoulders) as they race through the pages of this thrilling novel.

Thank you Quercus Books for providing a review copy! This does not affect my review in any way.

As you all might have realized, I am currently in a slump so whenever I want to read, I usually get bored right after I open the book. I have a pile of unread books and another stack of books I’ve tried reading but got bored upon the first few pages. Of course, it came as a surprise as well as delight when Killer Instinct was far from that — it reminded me why I love reading in the first place.

Compared to its predecessor, Killer Instinct didn’t waste as much as time to get into the mystery. Obviously, the mystery was the highlight of the book — it was so good you wouldn’t want to go anywhere unless you’ve figured out the killer! It’s the kind that will make you so sure of your guess, yet soon enough it will completely destroy your predictions with another shocking revelation. I really liked how the characters investigate, particularly when the protagonist Cassie was doing some profiling, which is basically figuring out people’s personality and behavior based on their appearance or in this case, also from how they kill their victims.

We’re able to get to know more about the rest of the characters too. Lia showed a slightly unexpected side other than being cheerful, sneaky or a deceptive compulsive liar. We also get some hints on their past, though I still want to know more and I hope Jennifer Lynn Barnes will give us more information about that in the future installments. Especially Sloane, since I think she didn’t appear as much as the others in the gang like Lia, Michael and Dean. She’s my favorite though — I loved her quirkiness! In short, the side characters were very well-developed.

Despite enjoying this book, Killer Instinct wasn’t exactly flawless. While I thought the side characters were excellent, I couldn’t say the same about the protagonist. I didn’t think Cassie had any note-worthy or significant development. Sure she was there the whole time, but I didn’t quite notice any changes in her in the end of the book.

In addition, I didn’t like the love triangle at all. One of them was pretty open with his feelings and a bit demanding. The other one is well… He keeps shutting people out and is exactly those quiet boys with troubled past. Don’t get me wrong — I like them as a character but most definitely not as a love interest. The romance was more prominent than the first book but luckily it didn’t get in the way of the plot. But to be honest, this series is better off without any romance or predictable love triangle.

In the end, while I had my complaints, they didn’t overshadow my positive feelings toward this book. Thanks to its gripping and fascinating plot, Killer Instinct managed to become an unputdownable page-turner. Definitely not a disappointment.

6 thoughts on “[Review] Killer Instinct by Jennifer Lynn Barnes”

  1. Stumbled upon your blog from a friend’s blogroll! Really great and fair review 🙂 I think having a mystery plot that is able to do pull off the you-think-you’re-so-sure-but-oh-haha-nope experience is fantastic, so despite the lack of character development, I might still give this one a shot. Been craving a good mystery since Gone Girl! Thanks for sharing your review with us <3

    Vivaciously, Vivian

  2. I still haven’t read the first book yet, for some reason everytime I reach for it I just keep on putting it off. I love the sound of the profiling and how this book goes deeper into some character development, but I wonder why they wouldn’t develop Cassie further? I’m also not a fan of the love triangle romance. Lovely review though Kezia!

    1. Maybe since the first book focus more on Cassie and her past… she did developed pretty well last time but I’m not feeling it with this installment. I hate the love triangle too 🙁 It seems out of place in a murder mystery.

  3. Ooh this book is so cool, and I might want to give it a try soon 😀 Thanks for sharing the review! And ugh there’s a love triangle? I hate love triangles sometimes 🙁 Well, glad you kind of liked it anyway ^.^

    by the way, thanks for your nice comment in my blog! Your blog is adorable and i love the header! I like making new blog buddies so let’s be friends 😀


    1. Yep, the love triangle irked me a bit but luckily, it didn’t affect my overall feelings toward the book 🙂

      Ahhh thank you, Jillian! Yes, let’s be friends! 😀

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