The daughter of a local police detective, fifteen-year-old Ryann has spent most of her life studying how to pull off the most gruesome murders her small Colorado town has ever seen. But killing is only part of it. Ryann enjoys being the reason the cops are frenzied. The one who makes the neighbors lock their doors and windows on a hot summer’s day. The one everyone fears but no one suspects. Carving out her own murderous legacy proves harder than she predicted. Mistakes start adding up. And with the police getting closer, and her own father becoming suspicious, Ryann has to prove once and for all that she’s smarter than anyone else—or she’ll pay the ultimate price.
So it seems that I’m reading YA again! At least, I couldn’t help it when I came across Pretty Wicked‘s blurb. A teenage serial killer? I was immediately sold. And I quite enjoyed this creepy little book, which I ended up reading in just a day. It wasn’t perfect, but I was still satisfied.
The book started off with a great first paragraph but I wasn’t completely engaged until the killings started to unfold. The book is mostly set in a high-school environment and there are dances and parties so it’s actually typical YA material… with a twist, of course. The main character, Ryann, is a 15-year-old girl whose only desire is to become a serial killer. Yeah, that’s the only thing she’s interested in. My 14-year-old obsession with Ben Affleck doesn’t seem that weird now.
My main issue with Pretty Wicked is that even though we’re supposed to believe that Ryann is smarter than the rest of her peers, I struggled with her decisions a lot and I didn’t find her character that realistic. Maybe I wasn’t supposed to, but I don’t know, I wanted to connect more with her feelings (even if they were sadistic thoughts).
I wasn’t a fan of the first chapters, where she simply talked about her desired to kill. She didn’t seem to be a complete psychopath (or at least, she loved her parents and some of her friends and was genuinely nice to some of them), but then she kept thinking she wanted to kill people so I didn’t know what to think. Okay, so she waits a few years to prepare herself because she wants her crimes to be perfect and not leave any clues behind, but then she makes obvious mistakes and chooses her victims rather poorly. (I’ve just realized I’ve criticized a character’s inability to become a good serial killer and now I’m creeped out by myself).
I was surprised by how stressful the last half of the book was. You know those stories where you can’t help but root for the “bad guy” just because they’re the main character? And they begin to make mistakes and you know you shouldn’t want them to get away with it, but you’re suffering a lot in case they don’t? RYANN, PLEASE, CONTROL YOURSELF AND LET ME HELP YOU (no, remove this last bit).
In conclusion, Pretty Wicked was an extremely fun and fast-paced thriller with a peculiar main character who knew she wanted to be a serial killer since she was a kid. Creepy and maybe not appropriate for everyone, but a good read nevertheless.
Dark Arts Publishing, 2016
I received a copy of this e-book in exchange for an honest review.