I Hunt Killers

I Hunt Killers  - Barry Lyga I picked the ebook version, and now I deeply regret not having bought the paper one. Which I'll buy when the second book is out. Because I'll definitely read the second installment.

This novel was a terrific surprise: gripping and entertaining at once, although the themes tackled, and some gory scenes, probably wouldn't be deemed as 'entertaining' by everyone. (I suppose you may say that gory doesn't go well with YA, but I didn't find them too graphic, so I guess they were alright in that regard.) The plot itself is fast-paced, not too complex, yet still intriguing enough, with a few potential culprits. But what I particularly liked, was that the most important point is Jasper's psyche. Throughout the whole story, he has to fight his father's influence, live with his always-present shadow, come to terms with his inheritance, with what he may or may not become, and this raises a lot of questions regarding nature vs. nurture. If your own father had from the start raised you to become a serial killer, would you necessarily become one too? Would your own sense of good and evil be so thwarted, forever, that you'd be fated to kill too? Or would you be able, if surrounded with 'good' people, to overcome such an education, and choose your own path in life?

Jazz is an interesting character, constantly questioning himself, his motives, and whether he will end up becoming a second Billy Dent. And there are occasions for him to become just that, when faced with choices to make, choices that may not seem such dilemmas to any other person but him; more than once, his thoughts carry him along dangerous paths, poising him on the verge of swinging one way or the other. His relationship with his crazy grandmother particularly reflects this: was what he choose for him, for her, the 'proper', humane choices to make? And what about the way he envisions his relationships with others, the way he always tends to resort to manipulating them, because 'blending in' is one of the first things his father taught him to do?

Barry Lyga was able to portray this young man without resorting to purely whiny, angsty writing, and in a way that makes it possible to relate to him whether you're a boy or a girl, a teenager or an adult. Jasper is 17, and although he tends to delve into his problems a lot, life has also made him more mature in many ways, and he approaches his situation with a dark kind of humour that makes it all the more enjoyable. His best friend, Howie, also displays a sense of humour, and his funny retorts made me smile more than once; he too is a character that brings a lot to the novel, thanks to his touching relationship with Jazz. Another pillar of humanity in Jasper's life is his girlfriend, Connie, who's brave, independent, makes her own decisions, and doesn't let him wallow in self-pity, constantly giving support while reminding him that he can fight his inner darkness if he wants to.

This book would have been interesting to me if only thanks to his theme; the relationships depicted in it really make it shine.