June 5, 2015

Review: The Retribution of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin

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The Book Rest - YA Book Reviews - The Retribution of Mara Dyer by Michelle HodkinTitle: The Retribution of Mara Dyer
Author: Michelle Hodkin
Genre: YA Psychological Thriller
Rating: A
Recommended For: Fans of light horror, fans of the rest of this series!
Source: Local Library

One-sentence review: An absolute roller coaster of emotions bring this crazy (pardon the pun!) story to a gripping conclusion that satisfies romantically but leaves so many questions unanswered!

TBR It: Goodreads
Buy It: Amazon

This review contains spoilers for The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer and The Evolution of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin!

All I can assume after finishing the Mara Dyer series is that Michelle Hodkin loves to torture her readers. In The Retribution of Mara Dyer, Mara wakes up in a Horizon's testing facility after her face off with Jude. She doesn't know if any of her friends are alive, she doesn't know if Noah is alive. When she's given an opportunity to escape by none other than Jude, Mara takes it despite having to do some gruesome things to get out of Horizons alive. She reunites with some of her friends and they work to solve the mystery of what they are, who has answers, and if Noah Shaw is still alive.

There were times when I couldn't put this book down, there were times when I was too emotionally spent to continue; there were times when I wanted to throw the book across the room and times when I wanted to hold it close and cry for Mara. I cannot articulate how incredible Michelle Hodkin is at getting into her readers' heads which is truly apropos for the psychological aspect of this book. Mara's personality is one of my favorites as verbalized in her narrative and this is partially due to the fact that I can't really trust her. The comedic undertones of her sarcasm and the way she handles everything juxtaposed with her unreliability is highly entertaining throughout the entire series and it is only reinforced in this book.

Similarly, Jamie is one of my favorite characters in all of YA literature. I'm always so impressed when authors can craft characters with such quick wit and laugh-out-loud banter, especially for multiple characters maintaining consistency throughout a book or series. The characterization in this series is part of what makes it so lifelike and enjoyable despite the difficult content.

More specifically about this book, I found the first half pretty difficult to get through. It was structured almost like a road trip story, which is fun but given the content it also got old because very little answers are found quickly. I became exhausted following Mara and her friends search for answers when they had very little to go on anyway. It was still entertaining, but emotionally draining, especially with Mara's need to find Noah. I can't really explain when I felt the story pick up the pace because it would give spoilers away, but I do find it worth the read despite this complaint (especially if you've read this far into the series, duh! ;)).

The conclusion (which I won't spoil) was so difficult for me. Cristina at Girl in the Pages told me that the end of the series left her with so many unanswered questions and I have to agree with her so much! It wasn't like Hodkin just ended the story or it felt like a quick tie up (cough-Allegiant-cough!); I could feel that she definitely thought out and crafted the ending. Parts of it were absolutely stunning (let's just say I thought Tahereh Mafi wrote the best steamy romance scenes, but Michelle Hodkin gives her a run for her money!). But overall: my questions far outnumber my compliments!

While I can't say this is my favorite series necessarily, I can say that Michelle Hodkin has easily become one of my favorite writers. Her ability to balance Mara as trustworthy and yet possibly insane was something few others could execute as flawlessly. And I promise you that the letter in the first book I was so concerned about definitely comes into play. While I would recommend this book to anyone who loves light psychological thrillers, I will still wait for Michelle Hodkin to write us an epilogical novel to satisfy all of the unanswered questions.

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