Thank you to NetGalley and Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group for providing me with an e-Arc in exchange for an honest review.
Release Date: January 12th, 2016
Synopsis: Seventeen-year-old Kenna Marsden has a secret. She’s haunted by a violent tragedy she can’t explain. Kenna’s past has kept people–even her own mother–at a distance for years. Just when she finds a friend who loves her and life begins to improve, she’s plunged into a new nightmare. Her mom and twin sister are attacked, and the dark powers Jenna has struggled to suppress awaken with a vengeance.
On the heels of the assault, Kenna is exiled to a nearby commune, known as Eclipse, to live with a relative she never knew she had. There, she discovers an extraordinary new way of life as she learns who she really is, and the wonders she’s capable of. For the first time, she starts to feel like she belongs somewhere. That her terrible secret makes her beautiful and strong, not dangerous. But the longer she stays at Eclipse, the more she senses there is something malignant lurking underneath it all. And she begins to suspect that her new family has sinister plans for her…
The Killing Jar is another book whose cover immediately grabbed my attention, and when I read the synopsis I knew I was going to have to try it. While there are definitely some flaws, I still found this to be a mesmerizing read, which kept me up until the wee hours of the morning until I finished it.
I’m going to be honest and say I wasn’t a fan of Kenna’s in the very beginning. Except for her feelings about her twin sister I found her a bit cold. As more of her past is revealed though, I began to understand why she has closed herself off. With Kenna, I think Jennifer Bosworth has created a character that teens can relate to, even without the more supernatural elements that are in this story. She’s smart, secretive, and rebellious. I don’t want to go into the tragedy in her past because of spoilers, but it’s something that Kenna needs to deal with her part in it throughout the book. Her relationship with her mother is strained during the best of times, but I place most of the blame for this on the mother. She has a very close relationship with her twin, Erin, which is touching and explored in great detail. Actually, the passages involving Kenna and Erin were my favorite parts of the book. There’s a bit of a love triangle, but it never really plays a large part in the story.
The problem for me is that except for Kenna and Erin, I feel that none of the other characters were fleshed out enough. Particularly the girls mother and grandmother, both of whom have large roles. I didn’t really know that much more about what actually shaped them into the women they became at the end of the book than I did in the beginning. I found Kenna’s two love interests– Blake, the sweet boy next door, and Cyrus, a gorgeous Eclipse member–affable, but rather flat, and I wanted to know so much more than was ultimately revealed about the other members of Eclipse.
What saves this novel is its completely original and extraordinary take on the mythology of vampires, with an intriguing mystery at the heart of everything. The slow simmering pace was perfect for this storyline, and while there were quite a few plot twists, they were small ones that all add up to a satisfying ending.
The Killing Jar is definitely for older YAs due to some sexual content (not graphic) and violent situations. It’s not a novel I’d feel comfortable recommending to anyone under the age of fourteen. Despite my issues with the characters, I really did enjoy this book. While the conclusion wraps things up, you can definitely see there’s room for a sequel. I kind of hope there is one, because I’d be interested in seeing how much further Jennifer Bosworth could take this story and her characters.