Friday, 4 October 2013

Review: The Naturals

The Naturals

Publication Date: November 7th
~An advanced readers copy was provided by Quercus in exchange for an honest review.~

 Cassie Hobbes is not like most teenagers. Most teenagers don’t lose their mother in a bloody, unsolved kidnapping. Most teenagers can’t tell who you are, where you’re from and how you’re likely to behave within moments of meeting you. And most teenagers don’t get chosen to join The Naturals.

Identified by the FBI as uniquely gifted, Cassie is recruited to an elite school where a small number of teens are trained to hone their exceptional abilities.

For Cassie, trying to make friends with the girls, and to figure out the two very different, very hot boys, is challenging enough. But when a serial killer begins recreating the details of her mother’s horrific crime scene, she realises just how dangerous life in The Naturals could be...

Cassie's mother was murdered when she was twelve, five years ago. Presumed dead, no body recovered. Now, Cassie's been dragged into the world of the FBI's super secret program of The Naturals. It was an easy choice for her, since it's a brand new start. It's been five years, and though living with her father's Mother- and the Italian family that comes with it, who are nice and kind albeit nosey, Cassie's never felt like she fit in. She's not like them, and no matter how much they treat her like family, she doesn't feel it. She knows things, she can do things that other people can't. That people train years to do. She's a Natural profiler. Cassie can look at a person and tell you everything about them, the type of person they are: messy/neat. Their personality. But, she's relied on what she can do to hide herself and now she's in a house with four other people who are like her.

She has nowhere to hide.

If you've watched Criminal Minds or others, then you'll get the lingo, places and familiarity's that are there. Unknown Subject- UNSUB. Quantico, Profiles, MO, Signature. The you, the I, not they, he or she. The story's told through Cassie's perspective, but we also have the killers profile through some pages, and once you figure out who the UNSUB is, then the You becomes a whole different thing.

I'm a huge Criminal Minds fan myself, and I love The Mentalist and Lie To Me, and additionally, I've watched a few seasons of Cold Case, which is the reason why I was so excited I got a proof copy in the mail. I've always originally wanted to be a criminologist, because I find criminology fascinating. I took psychology and sociology. It also means I have high expectations when it comes to the Naturals, that takes a bit of each show into a character.
Dean, Agent Loche, and Cassie. The profilers. And even Sloane, a reminiscent of Reid-  Criminal Minds.

Michael. The emotion, body language reader. Lia, the lie detector, the skilled liar. -Lie to Me.

Sloane, the strategic, the percentages, the odds, the crime scene investigator, can fit things in a box and see things that aren't there. Lia, again. -The Mentalist
All together, they're all kinds of a Mentalist.

I liked Cassie, there wasn't much personality, but I think that's the point. Her words are cold, distant, a little methodical. She's come the profiler at heart, so resolved in that, at being inside somebody else's head, that she doesn't exactly know who she herself is. She's calm, and collected as she can be, but she can be unravelled, and does. As it went along, she's slowly letting people in, so there is character development.
Sloane was my favourite character though, she was pretty funny, without knowing. A little naive, though she pretty much knows everything and will shoot off facts and percentages in awkward scenes. That's how she processes things, how she deals.

I really, really disliked Lia. I liked her at first, thought she'd be a fun and friendly character like Bex from Gallagher Girls, but jealously rears its ugly head and all bitch reigns loose. She was also quite cruel and vindictive.
Dean was...well, we don't really get to see Dean, not really. He's more guarded than Cassie, but you understand why, eventually, the way he is.

Michael annoyed me in the beginning, with the usual cocky-characteristic, but he kind of won me over and I don't even know how.
We have the usual love triangle, which was okay, I guess. It didn't bother me as much as it would've because I was sucked into the interesting side of the story that I didn't really care if it was there or not.

I really did love The Naturals it was gritty, and dark and dangerous, and really interesting to figure out. It's different, and out of all the types of murder/crime etc I've read, this concept was original. The characters, however were not, but it worked, and I finished it quickly because I couldn't stop reading. The but, you ask?
I had a few issues with it.

The first reason. It was a little predictable, but then it wasn't.
It wasn't predictable in the sense that it was obvious, it was predictable in the sense it would be the one you least expected.

Now, I like guessing before I know much about the story, I had two suspects as the UNSUB quite quickly, and I was right, on hints you'll pick up if you're looking. But I honestly didn't get the person it was.
I got the reason, and when you find out things make sense, it's in that percentage, but I didn't get the why and how you could go so long unnoticed by them.

Which brings me to the second reason.
I'll skip over the part where they're basically hiring teenagers, who are supposedly better than other operatives who have trained and trained and have years of experience on them, but are not as good as them because they don't know why they don't know the things they can do. Because they're Naturals. I'll forgive that, because I mean, Reid from Criminal Minds started really freaking young because he was like that, but he still had to go through the trials and rituals as everyone else. But, since again, that's not real life, let's skip that. I also get why they were chosen, why they could do what they could do, mainly Dean, Cassie and Michael. It's the thing that happens once bad things happen to either you, or your family at a young age, it's the part where you suddenly see things differently than you used to, to make sense. It's the thing that once changed, you can't un-change.

Your view on people, on the world, your trust isn't the same.
My major hang-up, was how Lia didn't know. I wasn't shocked at who the UNSUB was.

If say, the UNSUB in particular, has Dissociative Identity Disorder, the face of them and the face of the killer, than yeah, I'd get how Lia wouldn't have known. But, since you're constantly reminded they're Naturals, and have the instincts trained operatives don't have- I honestly found the fact that she didn't, out of all of them, unbelievable. I need an explanation for that.

And there's also something about Lia I can't pinpoint.
Even if love triangles annoy you, definitely read this. It's really a different insight into the works of criminology and profiling, and perfect for fans of Criminal Minds and The Mentalist.

Rating: 4/5