26 October 2017

Five Reasons To Read… The Naturals Series

I know it’s been a good long while, but do you guys recall almost two months ago now I began reading The Naturals series? I adored every page and even though I had some doubts at the end of the first book (I could sense a love triangle developing as soon as I started and I am so not up for that) but the book hooked me in even though it included something I hate and I read the entire series in the space of four days and if that doesn’t announce my love for the series nothing will. It was because of Kaja this book even came on my radar and that was because someone else had recommended the book to her as she enjoyed some Kelley Armstrong books so that’s my sole reason for getting the first book in the series.

I couldn't figure out how to review an entire series because spoilers! And then I remembered I could give you vague highlights in the form of a five reasons to read post (genius, I know).

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It’s a Good YA Thriller Series!

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Look, I feel that is a totally valid and brilliant reason to read. I can think of zero similar YA reads like this one and I adored it. I am known for being a fan of police procedural dramas and I know they are so formulaic and obvious but I will sit and watch them late at night and I love it. Sit me in front of NCIS or Criminal Minds and I am a happy bunny. As such, finding a really good YA thriller series about murderers just ticked all my boxes (that makes me sound weirder than I actually am, honest). It had an interesting mystery which developed of the books and it didn’t seem weird that the characters had these unique abilities as they weren’t superpowers, they were better observance and the ability to see body language and manipulate folks. It was like being hyper-aware and brilliant so it made total sense.

It Didn’t Feel Like Nancy Drew All Grown Up

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Look, as much as I adore Veronica Mars with every fibre of my being, that girl was a grown-up Nancy Drew with some serious sarcasm going on and I adored she was a PI. She was a genius with her episode mysteries which I totally wouldn’t have cracked but you have to admit it’s totally farfetched, a bunch of teens solving crimes. This book series managed to make it at least make sense why teens would be solving murders and it’s not because of an incompetent police force and because they are hiding behind just the right corner to catch the criminal. The ‘abilities’ of the characters totally made sense and whilst recruitment by the FBI sounds a little farfetched I’ve seen more ridiculous storylines.

The Scooby Gang Was Awesome and Not Cookie Cutter Sweet

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The MCs and secondary characters in this book are not completely 100% good. They are flawed and interesting and considering they are only teenagers they felt like fully fleshed characters who acted like teens! They all had kind of messed up childhoods, I will give you that. Poor angsty teenagers with their parents removed, but they also didn’t anger me with their teenaged ways (look, I like when teens in YA actually sound like their real-life counterparts but anyone who is passed teen age will realise that sometimes teens can sound a little ridiculous with their woes, they are legit but it also makes them sound ridiculous when you give them context for their problems). And these characters weren’t perfect and I loved how they get their backstory revealed over the course of the four books. They get to develop and grow and it was awesome.

There Was An Overarching Storyline

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Often, thrillers don’t have any link to them beyond the characters. They stay in the same world but as a whole, they are pretty standalone books. But then YA series tend to have an ongoing story arch where the characters pursue a goal through a series of books. This series manages to combine those two things together into this wonderful stories. Each book had its main storyline which loosely led to each secondary character getting some spotlight as their backstory gets revealed and developed, and then there was the mystery of the week. At the same time, there was the storyline of Cassie and her mother’s murder and the entire story which develops from her trying to find out what happened to her mother. I won’t say too much on that because of course it gets revealed throughout the books and spoilers! It was insanely good and interesting and I didn’t guess the whodunnit of the mystery too early which would have ruined everything. And that overarching mystery keeps you reading because it’s so damn addictive.

It Wasn’t Afraid to Get Dark

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The first few books didn’t get too dark but they dealt with murder and they weren’t afraid to give the details. The backstories of our characters weren't exactly all bright and shiny either so there were such things as abuse happening to characters in their past and it was a touch messed up but it added to the layers of each character and the struggles of their past. And then the fourth book, it got really dark there for a while and I loved how Barnes wasn’t afraid to include the kind of storylines you would expect in adult thrillers. She didn’t dumb down her mysteries and storylines for a younger audience because teens are just as capable of dealing with a darker storyline and you see just the same thing on TV.

So there you have it. I really enjoyed this series and whilst I warn you, you do have to brace yourself for a love triangle. I will say that from the go ahead, it’s there. I do not deny it, but it’s balanced out by a good storyline, excellent writing, and interesting characters. You get sucked in and if you aren’t interested in continuing the series after that first book I am impressed.

Have you read this series? Anyone got some recommendations for some good mystery/thriller type books? I used to read them all the time and stopped for some reason.

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