Review: The Retribution of Mara Dyer (The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer #3) by Michelle Hodkin

Book Title: The Retribution of Mara Dyer
Author: Michelle Hodkin
Published Date: November 4th, 2014
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers
Genre: YA Mystery
Series: Book Three in The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer trilogy
Book Link: Goodreads
Synopsis from Goodreads:
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.

Disclaimer: Library book.

Review:
So I was told, right before I started this book, that it was much different than the first two. I went into it not knowing what I was about to experience. 

By the time the 2nd book ended, I no longer trusted Kells, who worked at Horizons Treatment Facility. She had proven to be untrustworthy and when book 3 starts, almost immediately, I remember why I don’t trust her.

“Pain is just a feeling and feelings aren’t real.”
That quote stands out to me big time now, since I finished the book. Given everything that happens in this final book, that quote is really more of a manipulative statement that borders on foreshadowing. When I first read it, though, I got angry. Angry that someone would imply essentially, that pain wasn’t real.

Kells further proves her jerkiness by telling Mara that she can’t be fixed, she can’t be helped. No matter what Kells does for her, she is helpless. Kells mentions that she has spent years trying to help patients like Mara, but the significance of that statement wasn’t clear to me until I kept reading and learned more about Kells’ past.

I don’t think I even mentioned Jamie in my review of the first two books, but I quickly grew to love him in this book. He was a great friend and super funny to boot. Jamie’s response to swimming to a boat was priceless.

“Not it. Sharks, first of all, and second of all, sharks.”

Perfect response, and it’s a response that I myself would have had in the same situation. I don’t do sharks. Neither does Jamie, apparently.

We get more Stella too, which excited me. I enjoyed getting to know her better throughout this book. We find out what exactly are Stella’s powers when she is held captive by a man who has made his intentions to rape & kill her very obvious. That scene was incredibly intense, and I found myself biting my nails while reading.

I loved watching Stella and Mara talk about girly things like periods and tampons in front of Jamie. He made it so clear that the conversation was not enjoyable to him. Poor guy wanted to put the kibosh on it ASAP.

As uncomfortable as Jamie was with the period talk, he was perfectly fine with discussing sex. I’m guessing that’s just a guy thing, but anyway, he wanted to know if Mara wanted to have sex with Noah, and if she did, why hadn’t she done it with him. This is where Mara confesses that she’s afraid of hurting him. Not emotionally, but physically.

As this book continues, we learn Kells has a connection to both Jude and Claire. A connection I never saw coming. This connection stopped me dead, and I had a minor freak-out for about 5 minutes before I calmed myself down enough to keep reading. We also learned the truth about what happened that night at the asylum. Did Mara actually kill them, or was it someone else?

While all this is going on, we’re also seeing flashbacks to what happened previously to make everything happen in the present time. We learn more and more about what happened to Mara’s grandmother, and we find out what her role in all this was.

In the present time, we learn who else was a part of this crazy scheme and I cannot say that I was surprised by who it was. I had suspected it for awhile, even before I grasped the full truth of what craziness was actually happening. Up until this point I wasn’t sure what was going on or who else was involved.

It was words from Noah’s mother that actually hit me the most. She had some glorious words of wisdom that practically knocked me off my feet. Words that I think are important to all of us.

“Do not find peace. Find passion. Find something you want to die for more than something you want to live for.”

Mara also had some very interesting quotes that I thought were important to remember.

“The choices you make will change you.”

She chose to love Noah. Love is a choice, and despite knowing what she was and what he was, she chose him anyway. Choosing Noah before had already changed her, and choosing him again, would change her again.

There really wasn’t enough Noah in this book which was definitely a disappointment. I had fallen in love with Noah in book one and I had never stopped rooting for him and for Mara to be able to work it out despite all the odds.

“I love you. Today. Tonight. Tomorrow. Forever. If I were to live a thousand years, I’d belong to you for all of them. If I were to live a thousand lives, I’d want to make you mine for each one.”

I didn’t love this book as much as I loved the previous books. I wanted more with Mara’s family, particularly her mom. So much was made about the connection between Mara and her grandmother. I couldn’t imagine keeping such a secret from my own daughter. It was difficult for me to understand that part. I will give this book 4 stars, as it was enjoyable, and I did enjoy how everything unraveled.

Review: The Evolution of Mara Dyer (The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer #2) by Michelle Hodkin

Book Title: The Evolution of Mara Dyer
Author: Michelle Hodkin
Published Date: October 23rd, 2012
Publisher: Simon and Schuster Books For Young Readers
Genre: YA Mystery
Series: Book Two in The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer trilogy
Book Link: Goodreads
Synopsis from Goodreads:
Mara Dyer once believed she could run from her past.
She can’t.

She used to think her problems were all in her head.
They aren’t.

She couldn’t imagine that after everything she’s been through, the boy she loves would still be keeping secrets.
She’s wrong.

In this gripping sequel to The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer, the truth evolves and choices prove deadly. What will become of Mara Dyer next?

Disclaimer: Library book.

Review:
Holy crap, what an opening for this book. I didn’t know what to expect. I didn’t know what was going on at the end of the last book, but this one opened with a bang. We learned some things about Mara’s grandmother that we weren’t expecting and that Mara, herself never knew about.

We also delve into the differences between Mara’s family and Noah’s dysfunctional family. Noah’s father is cold and distant and his stepmother tries to be there for him, but it doesn’t really work out like that. Noah is very loyal to his sister, Katie, she’s the only one to not let him down. He’s clearly envious of the fact that Mara’s family loves her and supports her throughout this messed up time in her life.

Mara starts to have issues with sleepwalking, all the way to the point where she doesn’t remember throwing things away. She’ll wake up the next morning and have no memory of the things she did the night before.

The concept of genetic memory is broached which I loved hearing about. I found that idea to be so fascinating. I loved that Noah brought it up. It was supposed to be a connection between Mara and her grandmother, and given how it unfolded, I liked it a lot.

Noah pushes her to put down her defenses and actually wanting him first, instead of having him always being the aggressor. She struggles with the fear that she’ll hurt him, but he wants her to trust him, he wants her to fight against her fear. He is in love with her and she is in love with him. There is a lot of fear and distrust between them, but not in the way most people would think.
“This was the boy I loved. A little bit messy. A little bit ruined. A beautiful disaster. Just like me.”

Near the end, we start to get some of our questions answered. Questions about Jude, Stella, Jamie and Phoebe, among others. The ending was absolutely bat-crap crazy. Even crazier than the first book. I loooooved this book, it was an improvement over the first book, although I was crazy about the first book too, but this book was a crazy-awesome roller coaster ride. 5 stars to this book. ALL THE STARS!!