06 January 2016

All In

Author: Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Series: The Naturals #3
Rating: 3.5 / 5 stars
Verdict: Borrow

I take a little bit of delight in the fact that I rightly paired this novel to Sloane and her background development, based on the setting in Vegas (although, honestly, I think the Vegas backdrop is a bit underutilized in this novel considering they are staying on The Strip).  Sloane is awkward in the way that all super nerdy people who have to sacrifice social skills for brilliance are, and her backstory in this novel is definitely more than a little sad.  Even though Barnes breaks Sloane out of her "clinical" personality we've seen mostly throughout the first two novels, the revelations in this story still seem a bit underwhelming based on the writing style and overall portrayal.

Then we get to the crime/mystery portion of the novel.  Here, things get a little... weird.  The plot of All In has a lot of layers and while I like how those layers allow for character development not just for Sloane but for some of the other Naturals as well (especially Michael), the actual serial crimes in this one are just a tad too cult crazy for me to get completely absorbed in.  While I do like how Barnes carries the mystery behind Cassie's mother's disappearance/murder through the series, I am not a big fan of the twist we get about it in this novel.  I also don't like how the love triangle between Cassie and Michael and Dean, and even Cassie and Michael and Lia, still continues to linger even though Cassie made her decision in the previous book (but I will say it is in character that he's not willing to give up on it just yet).

Though I'm not ecstatic about the direction the plot is taking, which I am fairly confident is going to be the focus on the next installment in the series, I'll still go along for the ride to see where we end up.

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