Mara Dyer

Good afternoon, fellow bibliophiles! Hope you all had a lovely holiday and are all putting your lists together for the next batch of holidays down the road! Personally, I think I’ll be asking for a stack of books or B&N gift cards.

Anywho, I feel like this last trilogy took me awhile to get through (which, I suppose it did since each book is a good 5-600 pages). I had always seen these books in my bookstore perusing, but I never bought them. I would look them up on goodreads and saw that they had an okay (nut not stellar) rating. On my last trip, however, I was just at a loss at what to buy. My TBR list is ever-growing, but I couldn’t pin down a solid novel I wanted to read. I wanted something to jump out at me as I wandered the aisles. After about an hour of searching, these books called to me yet again, and I had to give them a try. Needless to say, I don’t regret my decision. Now, let’s discuss!

I’m talking about the Mara Dyer series by Michelle Hodkin. The first in the series is entitled, The Unbecoming Of Mara Dyer.  Right off the bat, I have to gush over the cover art. I’m obsessed. It’s enchanting and haunting at the same time. I totally judged the book by its cover because it drew me in every single time I wandered the bookstore shelves.

This story has a really interesting concept which I was thoroughly pleased in discovering. With novels like Gone Girl or anything with a twist, not to toot my own horn, but I’m pretty decent at figuring out where the story is going. When it came to the events surrounding Mara and Noah, I couldn’t really tell which end was up. I enjoyed that aspect of their journey because I didn’t want to spoil it for myself by figuring out their secrets before they were told to me. With this novel, I wanted to make the discovery as I turned the page, and their adventures accomplished that for me.

I adored that Noah was so intrigued with Mara (although parts of his observations reminded me of Twilight *cringe*) and that there was something so completely different about them as a couple and as people. I know I’m approaching 31 and reading a YA novel, but it wasn’t about the bits of high school drama for me. That was put on the back burner so I could focus more on the dynamic between the two of them, and the strange events happening around them instead.

The one part I couldn’t get on board with (which is minor) was the extensive vocabulary these characters have (and use… frequently) as high school students. I didn’t find it believable because kids these days just don’t talk the way these two did. I justified their vast knowledge and grammar with who they become as characters. There’s something deeper there… something more. I just had to find out what is was they were hiding from me.
My Final Rating: four out of five stars

These books are such a brain buster! If you’re a fan of any kind of suspense, thriller, plot twist, etc, then go pick these up ASAP! Book two, The Evolution Of Mara Dyer gets even more intense and I could NOT get enough!

I originally read that these were a sort of paranormal romance, but I don’t even consider them in that category. They have a very chilling Shutter Island type vibe that makes a reader uncomfortable, yet wanting (and NEEDING) to keep turning the page.

I had my suspicions all along the way, but as the story and scandal surrounding Mara progressed, little factoids and plot bombs kept dropping which would both confirm suspicions I had while also adding in so much more that I honestly was not expecting.

Thanks to the cliffhanger in book two, I could NOT wait to begin book three!

My Final Rating: four out of five stars

The final book in this trio is The Retribution Of Mara Dyer. I’m sad that this trilogy took me longer than I had originally planned. What can I do? Life gets in the way sometimes. In a way, it was a good thing to have life giving me delays because I got more time with these characters in their very weird world, so I’m not complaining!

I know I said it earlier, but this was SUCH an interesting read and quite a different story concept that I’ve read for the first time in a long time. I don’t want to give too much away plot-wise beginning-to-end, so I’ll just leave it at this: a billionaire who has the means to genetically alter regular young people to give them super-human capabilities while they’re completely unaware. They then use these “powers” without even realizing it for both good and evil. Society catches on, and then the subjects are seen as “certifiable” and sent to a rehabilitation center where even more tests are done. It adds this whole good vs. evil, hero vs. demon aspect to the plot which I was just enthralled with all throughout these pages.

For Mara Dyer, her boyfriend Noah Shaw, and friends of theirs, this is their terrifying and unknown reality. Things mysteriously happen to people around them, and they don’t quite understand how it’s possible for them to be seeing the things they’re seeing. When they’re left with blood on their hands and all fingers pointing to them when they don’t even know what’s going on moment-to-moment, events get real scary real quick.

This all started with Mara playing with a Ouija board with her friends Rachel and Claire. Within six months, her friends (and even her boyfriend, Jude) are dead in some freak accident, and Mara is the only survivor. Shaken, and with no answers, her and her family relocate from Rhode Island to Florida. She’s left alone and scratching her head as to what happened. Mara remains haunted by their ghosts while also trying to stay sane and navigate in a new environment.

Her Retribution was such a thrilling read. I can’t put into words how exciting not knowing what was coming next was when it came to all three of these books. It had so many twists and turns that it kept me turning pages. I thoroughly enjoyed how much the past, present, and future are constantly intertwined to help determine the fate of the characters.

Now that I’ve finished all three books, I wouldn’t necessarily call these romance novels. I know some categorize them that way, and while I understand, just hear me out. There is a love story among the rest of what is going on (seriously, Noah Shaw is lovely). In some aspects, with the way Noah and Mara make sacrifices for each other, it reminds me a bit of Romeo and Juliet, a tragic sort of love, but there’s also other prominent elements involved that just give these stories something extra. Something unknown and a bit majestic.

As usual, I’m content knowing I didn’t let negative reviews I read prior to picking these books up influence my experience reading them. I loved getting lost in such a creative concept and experiencing a story so different than what I’ve gotten used to reading lately. Kudos, Hodkin, this was a fantastic story with stunning writing to boot! I’m thoroughly impressed!

My Final Rating: four out of five stars


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