Review: The Killing Jar

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Original Title: The Killing Jar
Author: RS McCoy
Edition: Paperback, 400 pages
Published: June 28th, 2016 by RS McCoy
Characters: Mable Wilkinson, Silas Arrenstein
Rating: 4/5
Synopsis from Goodreads:

Earth is dying, circling the drain on life support. The future of the human race depends on space exploration, but they’re running out of time. Parasitic insects are systematically killing the best scientific minds but no one knows why.

Mable Wilkinson is the last hope to figure it out, she just doesn’t know it yet. For years, her resourcefulness, intelligence, and penchant for problem-solving have put her at the top of a very short list of researchers, only she doesn’t want to be part of it.

Cast out at sixteen, Mable wrote off the problems of the world long ago. Now, her focus is on Hadley, her adopted little sister, and teaching her to survive in the cut-throat underground. Instead, both Mable and Hadley fall into the hands of the program’s recruiter, Silas Arrenstein, and he’s determined to have one of them. Mable can join up with the man and program who killed her brother, or she can leave Hadley to the same fate.

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I received this paperback from the author in exchange for an honest review. It in no way affects my opinion of the novel.

The Killing Jar was a great read for me! I loved the characters, especially the main character, Mable. No one is who they seem to be, and I love the development the characters make as they are thrust into new situations and environments. I also loved that the characters included so much diversity that didn’t feel forced or baiting. Every character serves a purpose… just when you’re almost at the end and you’re thinking, “This would have been better without this subplot or this character,” the purpose for that character or subplot is revealed or slightly revealed and you’re just like, “Oh, I see what you did there! I see where this is going.” It’s a bit of a slow-burn.

I absolutely loved the world building. Even more than the characters, this was probably my favorite aspect of the book. It was so easy to visualize all the different settings–the domed cities, the underground, the LRF, the greenhouse on the moon! I would love to see these come to life on screen some day!

I really love the idea of the bugs, and I’m curious to see what their purpose is (or if they really have one and are not just a plot device). I have my own suspicions about their existence and goal. I hope more time is spent on them, whereas in this installment, they’re just introduced. It’s obvious in that introduction that the author spent a lot of time giving each bug a distinct look, characteristics, and purpose, just like her characters.

I did have issues with some things in the book. First, there were a lot of spelling and grammar errors. They didn’t distract too much from the story, but they became so frequent that they were noticeable, especially in the 2nd half of the novel. Second, the timeline is a bit fast. As much as I loved the characters and their development, I feel it should have been spaced out a little more. Entire relationship dynamics changed between people in the span of about 3 weeks, whereas I think it would have been more realistic if everything took place in the span of 3 months or even more. And my third and final issue is Theo; he needs to go!

In conclusion, I would definitely recommend The Killing Jar. It’s an interesting and entertaining sci-fi with complex and beautiful three-dimensional characters and amazing world building.

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