Thursday, November 13, 2014

Review: The Retribution of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin

The Retribution of Mara Dyer

Author: Michelle Hodkin
Release: November 4th 2014
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Horror, YA
#3 in the Mara Dyer trilogy
Series: The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer (#1), The Evolution of Mara Dyer (#2)


Mara Dyer wants to believe there's more to the lies she’s been told.
There is.

She doesn’t stop to think about where her quest for the truth might lead.
She should.

She never had to imagine how far she would go for vengeance.
She will now.

Loyalties are betrayed, guilt and innocence tangle, and fate and chance collide in this shocking conclusion to Mara Dyer’s story.
Retribution has arrived.


I should have started studying for math, like, yesterday. I haven't though, so far. Why? Oh yeah, that's right, because I binge read this thing so hard. I was literally glued to the pages and I didn't want to do anything at all other than read read read. 

This book is horrifying. It is terrible, and extremely triggering for, well ... nearly everything, really. It's a huge, huge trigger for mentally ill people, but I just loved the message it sent out in the end: That if you suffer from a mental illness, then there's nothing wrong with you, and you don't need to be fixed, and you can like who you are. In the end, all these kids' abilities are just a metaphor for mental illness and I liked the positive ring of having a "superpower" if you suffer from one. I loved, loved, LOVED that about this trilogy, and I didn't even know until the very end that that was what it was all about at all, which was really well done.

Also well done was that freaking ending. I don't know, but I just admired it so, so much. It was exceptional and brilliant, so clever and poignant that you're just left being like, Well fuck. By now, I'm almost questioning whether this is true or not, if you believe me. And I just loved this mind fuckery, this final, creepy piece of what the fuck on a long list of what the fucks this trilogy has been crossing off one by one.

The plot of this third and final book might have felt random sometimes, and pointless and unnecessary even, but you know what? It never felt boring, lame or uneventful. Like I said, I read as much as I could and flew through it, because there was always this uncertainty, this thrill of needing to know what would happen next. Additionally, this book is fucking ruthless. It doesn't shy away from being a little explicit maybe, and there were definitely some horror elements somewhere in there, and I have to say I thoroughly enjoyed every single second of it. Call me morbid or whatever, but I have a soft spot for horror in my heart, so ... it was perfect. 

As for characters, can I just say Mara's development, or rather evolution throughout the books is such great work? I am really in awe of how far she's come, and how much I came to care about and love her ultimately. In book 1, I couldn't stand her whining sometimes, but at the end of this one, she seriously couldn't be any more different than that girl I first met in book 1. This is probably one of the heaviest character developments I have ever come across, and maybe it's also because time has warped my image of her a bit (I haven't actually re-read the other two books before diving into this one, just read the recaps), but this is my impression, anyway. The other characters were developed really nicely too, and I quite enjoyed this cast. The relationships were all mostly tangible and raw, very realistic and gripping, whether it be romantic, familial or simply friendships.

The only thing bugging me was that not everything was actually tied up in any way, there are still a couple loose threads that keep bugging me in a way, like <spoiler>What happened to Stella ultimately? Did she make it home, is she safe? What's up with Noah's dad? He must have noticed that Mara is still alive, etc. What's up with that Rochelle girl? Did Jamie compel her the whole time or are you trying to make me believe she would actually believe in their stories and stand up for them? And Daniel... what even.</spoiler>. Other than that, though, I have no complaints. Loved this book.

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