Friday, July 15, 2016

Review: The Killing Jar

The Killing Jar
Series: Standalone
Released: January 12th 2016
Publisher: Macmillan
Length: 352 pages
Source: Publisher for review
Buy: Amazon

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 Kenna 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, Jennifer Bosworth’s sophomore novel, is a big step up from her debut, Struck. I vaguely remember Struck as a bland, uneventful, unmemorable book, but The Killing Jar has a bit more flavor to it. It’s not the novel it could have been with some careful planning, but it’s still a good choice for those who prefer their paranormal YA to be a bit on the creepy side.

The idea behind The Killing Jar is fairly unusual and therefore very interesting. While it’s not uncommon to have a heroine with unique paranormal abilities, Kenna’s were interesting enough to keep me frightened and fascinated from the very start. The Killing Jar starts out strong, with a big, shocking, bloody scene, and the thrills that follow barely leave us time to breathe. However, creating such an interesting paranormal background isn’t without its problems. Bosworth failed to fully explain her world, its origin and potential consequences. When all was said and done, too many things were left unexplored, which left me feeling just a tiny bit cheated.

Kenna’s relationship with everyone around her is extremely complicated. She loves her twin sister and they depend on each other, but they don’t truly get along. Her mother is a liar with an agenda who blames Kenna for everything that ever went wrong. Even with Blake, Kenna doesn’t quite know where she stands or what she wants. She likes him, but she is quick to forget him when a more mysterious, more appealing boy comes her way.

This leads me to my biggest problem with The Killing Jar: none of the characters were actually likeable. The only one I kind of liked, Kenna’s best friend and maybe boyfriend Blake, acted like a doormat when it came to Kenna, which made me lose all respect. Kenna herself made far too many mistakes and crossed too many lines. It may be that I’m too unforgiving, but I found that her path to redemption simply wasn’t enough.

Overall, The Killing Jar is a decent book that could have been so much better with a bit more thought and a few well placed explanations. Despite several problems, the story flows very easily and is compulsively readable – perfect for hot summer days.

A copy of this book was kindly provided by the publisher for review purposes. No considerations, monetary or otherwise, have influenced the opinions expressed in this review.


  1. It sounds like the author cut corners with her plot arches. Nothing worse than reading a seemingly incomplete story. :(

  2. Well dang! Awesome cover and creepy premise aside, I hate when authors leave important world building out. Things need to make sense. I smell another Chemical Garden series.

  3. Interesting. Her first book also wasn't for me (I think it was some sort of superpower book with cults?) but I am feeling more like reading paranormal books lately. However, hearing that the characters weren't likable worries me a bit. I know that's subjective, but ...
    Jen @ YA Romantics

  4. You have me curious but cautious. Not sure if this one is for me, but I'm willing to try it. I like the sound of the world but don't like that it wasn't fully developed or that the characters were unlikable. Both of those reasons together are usually an instant no for me, but the fact that you still liked it in the end (even though you felt cheated) makes me so curious. Guess I'm off to see if they have it at the library and put it on my list. :D

  5. I need someone to like..a tiny bit at least

  6. Glad you mostly enjoyed this one despite its flaws. I'm not sure if this book is for me.

  7. I've been curious about this one but I was never sold enough on the synopsis to pick it up. It sounds like a I made a good call- plot shortcomings and unlikable characters are a big drawback for me, too!

  8. I've been wondering about this one before but your review has made me realize that I probably will be better off not reading it...

  9. I've seen something about a movie with this same title lately. Wonder if it's this book. Sounds good. Thank you!


Thank you for stopping by and commenting. If you're a fellow blogger, I'll visit and return the favor as soon as possible. If your're using Google+ to comment, please make sure that your blog link is clearly visible on your profile.

Unfortunately, this is now an award and tag free blog, but I do thank you for your consideration.