Reading Level: Young Adult
Hardcover: 544 pages
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Release Date: October 23, 2013
Series: The Evolution of Mara Dyer #2
Source: Personal Shelf
Reviewed by: Lili
Mara Dyer once believed she could run from her past.
She used to think her problems were all in her head.
She couldn’t imagine that after everything she’s been through, the boy she loves would still be keeping secrets.
Can I just begin by saying that this series has the most hypnotizing of covers? If I didn’t love the series as much as I clearly do, I’d probably still buy the books just to display these gorgeously dark and intriguing covers on my shelves. But that’s beside the point. I was very excited to get back into this world. I missed the creepiness, the hallucinations and the paranoia that is Mara’s life. I don’t think I’ve come across an author who can tackle the concept of insanity just as well as Michelle Hodkin, and I absolutely love her for continuously rocking my world with this psychological thriller/horror series. I absolutely never know what is about to happen next.
Long ago, the prequel to this lovely book, THE UNBECOMING OF MARA DYER, was actually the first ever review I posted for Tynga’s Reviews. It earned a supremely perfect rating because its darkness, its grittiness, its uniqueness that left me wanting more was all incredibly amazing. So, clearly, I had high hopes for this one. While I am happy to report that Hodkin does not suffer from sequel syndrome, I must admit that I don’t think this sequel topped the prequel. While Hodkin can still take me for a roller coaster ride with her amazing and unseen plot lines, she had me flipping the pages at a rapid fire speed for book one and, at times, I found myself closing this book to go for a walk. I’m not even kidding, it actually rained on me on my way home. I had a mini heart attack thinking I suddenly inherited Mara’s consistently terrible luck.
I think that this novel was somewhat slow for me in comparison to book one simply because Mara is now in an asylum. Well, not really, she’s actually in an outpatient program on the brink of being thrown into an asylum. Granted, creepy things continued to happen that made my skin crawl, but this was a repetitive plot line to me. She’d make some progress than take a step back. She’d make more progress than an event in her life forced her to take a step back. There was this constant distrust of her because she once hallucinated. And seeing her internal monologue was draining because of how emotionally drained she was. She was fighting to be heard and nobody believed her. There was lie after lie only for her to disagree in her head. And while I am wholeheartedly on Mara’s side, the repetitive aspect of this novel bored me occasionally.
But this novel was truly very well written. I can honestly say that the repetitiveness of Mara’s problems bugged me in ways that it did not bug most people--probably because a huge pet peeve of mine inherited from my father is indecision and that pet peeve is still existent when it comes to bookish characters. Every other aspect of the novel blew me away. Again, I never saw any of the plot twists coming and, trust me, they were plentiful and incredibly unexpected. And the characterization was strong. There was a particularly touching scene where Daniel accompanied Mara to family therapy that tugged at my heartstrings because I’ve loved how his character has developed in this novel. He’s an amazing older brother. And, of course, there’s Noah--arguably one of the sexiest and thoughtful leading men in young adult literature these days. We were able to glimpse a little more of Noah’s thought processes and learn more about his past, which revealed a darker side to him. His theories about his own abilities and Mara’s were a huge focus of the plot this time around because, rather unexpectedly, they realized that they just might not be alone.
All in all, I say that Hodkin is an author that I can never get sick of and I still highly suggest this series to anyone willing to read a gritty romance dealing with insanity. It’ll make your skin crawl in the most amazing way, and that’s saying something because I absolutely hate your average horror novel and refuse to even pick them up. It’s also not heavy on the fantasy though the entirety of Mara’s insanity developing from her believed ability to control things with her mind is a fantasy novel about superhuman abilities. My only qualms was Mara’s indecisiveness and the unrealistic aspects of Noah having so much money. Sure, he can bribe anyone, but some of his dates with Mara had me rolling my eyes because it’s just so unbelievable. With that being said, I’d say read this book just for Noah’s delicious complexity alone. The final novel in this series, THE RETRIBUTION OF MARA DYER, is the last novel in this trilogy releasing in the Fall and I am anticipating it greatly.