Book Review: I Don’t Want to Kill You by Dan Wells (Audiobook narrated by Kirby Heyborne) (Series, #3)
Teenaged John Cleaver had his sociopathy under control but when his town was plagued with two different demons, he had to let it loose a bit to fight them. He invited the demon Nobody to come face off with him, but he and those around him are left wondering if Nobody is real or if John’s sociopathy has just gone out of control. Meanwhile the teenage girls of the town are committing suicide left and right, and John can’t help but wonder why he’s ever tried to save anybody.
This is one of only a few YA series that I’ve enjoyed reading. The paranormal/youth aspect are almost like a Dexter lite, which is enjoyable. I must say, though, that I was disappointed by the ultimate ending to the series. However, since I write up series review posts every time I finish a series, I’ll leave my analysis of the series as a whole to that post, which will be coming up next. For right now, let’s look at the final book on its own merit.
The plot this time around was disappointingly full of obvious red herrings. I knew within the first chapter where Nobody was hiding, and it was kind of ridiculous that talented, intelligent John was missing it. Similarly, I found the serial killer who John identified as who he could end up being if he made the wrong choices to be a bit heavy-handed. John was already well aware of the risks of his sociopathy from the very first book. It felt a bit unnecessary to make this such a strong plot point. It came across as preachy, which is something that this series had avoided so far. Similarly, John goes to see a priest at one point in his investigations, and his conversations with him felt a bit too heavy-handed, almost like the (known religious) Wells was preaching at the readers through the priest. Authors are allowed their opinions and perspectives, but preachiness is never good writing. Perspective and opinion should be shown eloquently through the plot and characters.
Speaking of characterization, John was still strongly written, but his mother and sister were another story. They felt less like they were doing what was logical and more like they were doing what needed to be done to move the plot forward. On the other hand, I really enjoyed John’s new girlfriend. She was well-rounded and realistic. Plus she was fit while being curvy, which I think is a great thing to see in a book.
In spite of the slightly obvious plot, I still was engaged to get to the end. Even though I knew whether or not there was a demon and who the killer was, I still deeply wanted to see how John would handle it. The audiobook narrator, Kirby Heyborne, helped with this momentum. His narration was just the right amount of tension while still remaining in a teenager’s voice. Be warned, though, that there is some yelling in the book, so the volume does spike considerably at a few points in the narration. You may want to keep the volume a bit lower than usual to accommodate this.
Unfortunately, where the plot ultimately ended up was deeply disappointing to me. It was not at all a satisfying ending, and from a mental illness advocacy perspective, I actually found it distressing. Whereas John’s sociopathy previously was handled with a lot of scientific understanding, I found the ending of this book to be completely out of touch with real sociopathy. While it wasn’t offensive per se, it drastically oversimplifies sociopathy, both its treatment and its causes, which is just as bad as demonizing it. I will address this issue more fully in the series review, but suffice to say that I found the ending to this book’s individual mystery and the series as a whole to be disappointing, particularly given the potential of the book.
Overall, then, this is an average book that wraps up an above average series. If you are someone who is fine with stopping things partway through, I’d recommend just stopping with the previous book in the series, Mr. Monster. But if you are interested in the overall perspective, this book is still an engaging read that doesn’t drag. It just might disappoint you.
3.5 out of 5 stars
Because life is so incredibly busy, I hadn’t been planning on participating in any of the many wonderful reading challenges in existence around the book blogosphere. (Beyond hosting my own, the Mental Illness Advocacy Reading Challenge, of course.) But when I received a GoodReads invitation to Socrates’ Finishing the Series Reading Challenge, I couldn’t resist because it fits in so well with my already established (in my head) reading goals for 2013. It’s incredibly simple. Choose a single (or multiple) book series you’ve previously started to finally finish reading during 2013. I already have a GoogleDoc of all the series I’m reading and was saying to myself, “Amanda, finish at least a few of these in 2013,” and doing that in the context of the fun that is a book blog reading challenge just makes me happy.
I’m currently reading 26 series. I know, I know. I’m not going to challenge myself to all of those, because then I’d only be reading series books all year. But I am signing up for the highest level of the challenge: Level 3: 3 or more series.
So what am I pledging to finish?
- Georgina Kincaid series by Richelle Mead
#3 Succubus Dreamsreview 1/31/13, 5 stars
#4 Succubus Heat
#5 Succubus Shadows
#6 Succubus Revealed
- Y: The Last Man series by Brian K. Vaughan
#8 Kimono Dragons
#10 Whys and Wherefores
- Riders of the Apocalypse series by Jackie Morse Kessler
John Cleaver series by Dan Wells
#3 I Don’t Want to Kill Youreview , 3/2/13 3.5 stars
- The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell
#2 Children of God
- Katherine “Kitty” Katt series by Gini Koch
#3 Alien in the Family
#4 Alien Proliferation
#5 Alien Diplomacy
#6 Alien vs. Alien
#7 Alien in the House
#8 Alien Research
For the Katherine “Kitty” Katt series, it is not yet finished, so I’m only pledging to books that are projected to be published before the end of 2013.
I also reserve the right to give up on a series if it starts nose-diving before the end.
Phew! That’s a lot of books…but it would also make a serious dent into my series list. So fingers crossed that I have good luck with it.
If the challenge sounds like a good match for you, be sure to check out the official challenge page!