Sunday, November 16, 2014

Mara Dyer Trilogy (Book 1-3) – Michelle Hodkin [SPOILER, obviously]

Hodkin, Michelle. 2011, 2012, 2014. The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer, The Evolution of Mara Dyer, The Retribution of Mara Dyer. New York: Simon & Schuster.
Overall Rating 2,5 stars.

Sigh. Another stellar debut, another love to give. I decided to pick it up and read it, solely because of the amazing cover on the first book of this series, the other two are not very satisfying but I couldn’t care less after I finished the first book. I think that is the kind of cover that will always attract my attention. You know, mysterious, dark, sharp picture, and doesn’t show any particular face to be judged. Totally my type of cover, yes. Safe to say, I knew nothing about this book until I read it, I even didn’t know its genre.

I know now, I should never judge a series if I don’t read its whole series. By that, maybe I did an unfair judgment with Marked, but that is one awful book though, ugh. I love the first two book of Mara Dyer Trilogy, but after reading the final installment, my love was fading pretty fast. I’m bumped because I can’t give more than 2,5 stars for this series, believe me, I really want to love this more. But the last book crushed me, and not in a good way either. Despite the failed ending of this series (I’m getting to that later), I really like Michelle Hodkin’s writing style (she has good humor) and I still will pick up her future novels, I guess. Now, shall we talk about who Mara Dyer is?


The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer (Mara Dyer, #1)

The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer (Mara Dyer Trilogy #1)
Rating 4 stars

One, gorgeous cover. When I write my own book (someday), this will be one of my go-to covers. Two, I was surprised with how the story evolves toward the end. I didn’t see that coming. At all.

Mara Dyer wakes up in a hospital with no memory how she ends up there. Insomnia story? I wished. She just doesn’t remember the accident that made her hospitalized, which also is the accident that killed her best friend Rachel, friend Claire, and boyfriend Jude. Later, Mara has nightmare and hallucination regarding to fore-mentioned accident she will remember gradually. She is diagnosed for PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) and in need for psychologist treatment from time to time. She moved to a new place and still goes to school, tries to live a normal life.

Although somewhat creepy, the story looks pretty normal for me. Mara’s story in school is pretty cliche actually. She has no friend beside this sassy weirdo kid Jamie, makes the school’s bitch Anna as her enemy, develops a palpable relationship with the school’s hottest guy Noah. Everything works out as I expected. Until I got to the 80% of the book. I thought this book is about a girl in dealing with her mental illness and some daily school life. You think after you get to the 80% of a book then you can be sure of its genre, right? Well, wrong.

It turns out that Mara has an ability to kill people with her mind. Kill people by just thinking it! What story is this actually? So it is a paranormal now?

Okay, I was fine with that sharp turn of understanding, and was surprisingly glad with how everything spiced up after that. Book one ends with the fact that her dead-boyfriend who tried to rape her before is not really dead at all.

Perfect story to keep reader jumping to the next book! Michelle Hodkin ends every chapters in The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer very neatly indeed, and I appreciate that. I don’t have significant complaint about the first book BECAUSE I’ve read until the third book. Some imperfection and questionable parts in the first book are answered in the last book.

Why Noah so suddenly attracted to crazy Mara although he can get anyone he wants with all that perfectness intact? Did Noah really sleep with Jamie’s sister? What’s with the prologue in this book? Is this really a paranormal story or really a bunch of crazy kids trying to have a say?

The Evolution of Mara Dyer (Mara Dyer, #2)

The Evolution of Mara Dyer (Mara Dyer Trilogy #2)
Rating 3 stars

After seeing Jude is very much alive, Mara totally lost it. She is officially a nutcase now. Her diagnosis grows to psychotic, not only PTSD. She is involuntarily committed to a psychiatric unit, and later she goes to residential treatment facility named Horizons.

The Evolution of Mara Dyer also has chapters from Mara’s late grandmother, which I found refreshing and interesting. The whole already-fucked-up situations just getting creepier and creepier, and I enjoy it because I’m a badass. And, as much as I want to not saying it, I finally feel something toward our couple. Mara and Noah relationship grows at a pace that I can accept. Maybe because in this book their lovey-cheesy portion is not seemed exaggerated like in the first book.

I guess I cannot say much about this second book because, really, I can sum up the whole story by:
Mara is terrorized by Jude the whole time but nobody believes her and she is thrown into Horizons which eventually Noah comes to join her and all hell break loose. Move on to the third book, please.

You read it right. After all horrible things happened with Mara, thanks to abnormally cruel Jude, Mara is tossed away into Horizons, and Noah makes himself sent in too, to be treated as a patient. That’s... so weird and unacceptable... if this is really just a story about a crazy girl, but it’s not. Jude is not a hallucination. Mara really can kill people with her mind. So, I guess a boyfriend who follows her girlfriend into a mental hospital is not the worst that can happen in this book.

What happened in the end in this book? Turns out Dr. Kells from Horizons knew all along about the truth. The truth that Mara and other patients are not crazy, instead they have unique abilities. Dr. Kells also knows that Jude is alive and terrorizing Mara. But Dr. Kells is nowhere to be found. What Mara, Noah, and other patients have to deal with is Jude. He kills some patients in Horizons, and eventually has Mara in a deathly grip. With her will, Mara makes the Horizons building crumbled to escape from that situation, because her ability couldn’t work on Jude (although I still don’t get why she can collapse building). But, Noah and the other patients are still in there. Will they survive?

The Retribution of Mara Dyer

The Retribution of Mara Dyer (Mara Dyer Trilogy #3)
Rating 1 star

What I can say first about this final book is:
For the life of me, I don’t get it.

Was I suffering a brain-dead when I was reading it? Am I so stupid that I couldn’t follow anything explained in this book? Are we having the same book???

First of all, I’m not a hater for this series, I am not. But but but but... what happened in this book? Is this really as disappointing as I found? WHAT IS THIS I AM SO DISAPPOINTED IT IS UNACCEPTABLE GYAAAAAA!

Do I have to ramble out my disappointment here? Yes, I guess I should.

So, major part of this book is a road-trip to find Noah. Everything is too convenient. I never read a book that has so much, SO MUCH, too-convenient-and-unbelievable-yet-so-obvious problem solving like in this one. Let’s see...

Mara, and other patients, Jamie and Stella, survive and succeed to get their asses out from a building where they have been tortured in for three weeks. We’re talking about a sophisticated, underground, dangerous building guys, get that in mind. But, you know what, they don’t encounter with other people beside Dr. Kells in there. Well, I guess all the other workers are on big vacation, or perhaps Dr. Kells with one assistant are enough to run that facility?

This building is in an island, so they are stuck there unless they have a boat to cross to the main island. Of course, out of nowhere, a boat is seen and they just ask people on that boat to help them cross. So they cross. Very fortunate they are. Then Jamie, who can make people do anything he says (that is his ability, conveniently), makes this road trip super easy. Because he can just ask people for food, transportation, shelter, information, and everything they need. Jamie’s ability saves all the road-trip trouble!

The most unacceptable thing in this book is the involvement of Mara’s older brother Daniel. Based on super long unbelievable convenient reasons the author gave me, I still cannot comprehend Daniel’s role in this situation, until I got to the ending. So, THAT’s why you need Daniel’s involvement, ha! Because the bad guy is going to use him against Mara.

Wait, Daniel’s involvement is the most unacceptable thing for me? I lied. It is how Noah kills Mara. But Mara somehow lives again, just to find Noah is dead. Don’t cry, he lives again not long after that. I didn’t know how to react to that part. Should I be happy they are all alive after all that ridiculous thing?

No no, I lied again. The most unacceptable thing for me is the last several parts in this book, where they have sex with alternate chapters. Is that supposed to be sweet? Magical, perhaps? If anything, it’s exaggerating big time.

Oh my, you must hate me now. I lied to you again. What I cannot possibly like most in this book is how Mara’s character evolves. I guess the author wants to show us how a bad girl Mara is. Why? I don’t possibly know. Here’s the thing, Mara wants to kill two teenagers who pissed on a homeless woman on the street. I know it’s an unforgivable thing, but, do they really need to be killed? Mara doesn’t kill them though, because the homeless woman stops her. Later, Mara cannot even muster a pinch of guilt for trying to kill those teenagers, even after everyone had reasoned with her about how wrong that is.

And in this book, her life line is Noah, and I found that pretty annoying. I don’t even like Noah anymore in this final book. After the bad guy tells long story to convince him to kill Mara, I didn’t think he actually will do it. But he did. And all the bullshit in the end is gibberish. I don’t have it in me to recount it to you people.

It still has some chapters in Mara's grandmother memory which I found intriguing at first, but as I kept on reading I just...

I don’t know what happened with the author when she writes this book. She forces all the answer in a way that made me just shake my head disapprovingly. Is two-year gap between the second book has anything to do with it? By the way, about the last sentence. I don’t want to brag or anything, but I totally called that.

So, there you go. This is me after reading the last book. I was bursting with energy.

Sorry for the annoying GIFs after every paragraph. I am annoyed though. Oh hey, I find something interesting just now. The initial of the two main characters! Mara Amitra Dyer and Noah Elliot Simon Shaw.


That's cute. I'm not being sarcastic.

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