“I try not to think about it, what I did to that boy.”
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…
Hardcover, 352 pages
Published January 12th 2016 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Two and a half stars: A creepy, suspenseful read that needs more depth and development.
Kenna is hiding a terrible secret. When she was ten, she killed the boy next door with her touch. He deserved to die because he was a monster. When her mother found out, she warned Kenna that she has a power that she can never let anyone know about. For seven years, Kenna struggles to be normal, but she isn't. She fears touch, and she is always suppressing the her power, until the day things come to head. When Kenna's mom and vulnerable twin are attacked, Kenna reaches once again for that power. Finally, Kenna's mom takes her to a reclusive community, Eclipse, where Kenna meets her grandmother and people like her in order for Kenna to get answers. Will Kenna learn to control her power? Will she ever be normal?
What I Liked:
- The Killing Jar is a book I am struggling to review. On one hand, I enjoyed the creepy mystery and the suspense, but on the other, I had some issues. First, let's talk about the positives. This is certainly a unique and interesting book, unlike anything I have read before. It features a strange cultish community with dark, mysterious powers. It was a book that immediately grabbed me, and kept me reading until the final pages. It was exciting and suspenseful and original.
- The paranormal angle is not one I have read before. I am not going to go into lengthy details as I don't want to spoil it, but it is based around a moth myth, and it involves feeding off of life energy. I was intrigued by the paranormal part, and I wanted to know more.
- The book has a dark, creepy vibe to it, which pulled me in. I loved the atmospheric tension, and I especially enjoyed delving into the strange and mysterious community called Eclipse.
- While I struggled connecting with the main character, Kenna, I found myself drawn to the strange Kalyptra who reside at Eclipse. Think of a self reliant, hippie commune sequestered in the mountains. They live a simple, happy life with plenty of good food, music and a strong sense of community.
- The pacing of the story is fast and it moves right along. I appreciated that it never dragged, and that I was always wanting to know more. This was a book that I read in one sitting.
- The writing is wonderful. I liked the rich descriptions and the lovely metaphors. I especially enjoyed all the delicious details when it came to the food.
- The ending is exciting with all of the big twists and revelations. After the dust settles, there is an Epilogue that concludes the book without a cliffhanger. This appears to be a stand alone.
And The Not So Much:
- My biggest frustration with the book was the lack of detail and depth. As Kenna immerses herself into the Kalyptra society, she starts learning about her powers and who she is. Her grandmother holds the answers, but she keeps refusing to share her knowledge. There are all these almost reveals, and then the grandmother puts her foot down and tells Kenna that she won't share all the information until Kenna agrees to completely become Kalyptra. Basically, the reader is left floundering about trying to make sense of the scraps of information thrown out. Then there is a big reveal at the end that changes everything. However, I was still frustrated by the lack of detail regarding how the Kalyptra came to be, and how the grandmother went about gathering the people who lived in Eclipse. I was extremely frustrated with the lack of information, it held the book back.
- My second issue was that I didn't connect with Kenna, the main character. At the beginning, she is the gray girl, depressed and shut off. She does grow and change, but I just never felt a connection with her or liked her. I also struggled with the way she was treated by her mother and grandmother. It wasn't a wonder that she was so closed off.
- There is a bit of romance, and there is the development of a love triangle, sort of, but I never felt like the romance that was thrown in was developed well. The boy Kenna really likes is her long time best friend and neighbor, but he is left behind, and his time in the book is limited.
- I didn't like the way Kenna's mother withheld information. She should have explained things to Kenna, and even when Kenna returns home, she still isn't straightforward with her. I was left wondering how Kenna's mother felt about her own mother and the Kalyptra. Furthermore, I didn't understand the significance of her tattoo, and I was also left wondering about Kenna's father. Again, lack of information held the story back.
- Even though the ending ties off the story lines, there were too many things that didn't work. Especially the way they explained it to the authorities. I didn't feel like that was realistic at all. This is a book that would have benefited by adding another fifty pages or so in order to better explain things.
The Killing Jar is a book that I am conflicted over. I enjoyed the uniqueness and originality of the story, it was unlike anything I have read. I also appreciated the mystery and the suspense. However, I found the lack of depth and detail, especially when it came to the origin of the Kalyptra, held this book back. If you are one that wants to try something different, pick this one up. It certainly was different.
I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own, and I was not compensated for this review.