Monday, December 1, 2014

Book Review: The Retribution of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin

Title: The Retribution of Mara Dyer (Mara Dyer #3)
Author: Michelle Hodkin
Publication Date: November 4, 2014
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Pages: 470
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Reviews for book 1 & book 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.

Please excuse my severely lacking tact, but HOLY CRAP

Okay. Deep breath. Let me attempt to do this book justice. 

I wasn't planning on reading The Retribution of Mara Dyer right away. In fact, I wasn't planning on "reading" it at all. I listened to The Unbecoming and The Evolution of Mara Dyer on audiobook, and that was my intention here as well. However, I ended up finding an amazing, signed copy at Barnes and Noble and couldn't pass it up. So here we are a few days later and I feel like I just got off one hell of a roller coaster.

I'm going to be honest here for a minute. I usually read for an hour or two before bed, but not during the day. I am much more likely to be binging a show on Netflix, but I couldn't do it with this book (and my husband is happy to have had the TV all to himself for a couple days). It grabbed me from page one and I had a really hard time putting it down to attend to life's obligations.

This book begins with Mara waking up back in Horizons (sort-of) and not remembering a heck of a lot. What she does remember is that Noah is dead. At least, that's what she's been told, but she can't bring herself to believe it. From there, The Retribution takes off and it's one big whirlwind. The most unlikely person helps her to escape - along with Jamie and Stella - and they proceed to wreak havoc from Florida to New York in search of answers. And Noah.

Throughout the book, Mara struggles to deal with and accept her abilities. As the story progresses, she comes to embrace it more and more, accepting it as necessary to get what she wants and to help her friends.

Unfortunately, while helpful at times, her "gift" terrifies Jamie and Stella (understandably) and threatens to push them away completely. Both of these characters are more fully explored in light of the new information they come across. Stella's full story is explained and I enjoyed learning more about her, though I did not particularly care for her character, especially following her actions later in the book. Jamie continued to be one of my favorite characters, but I found his actions at the end a little reprehensible. Maybe it's just me.

The lack of Noah's presence in the first half of the book, while completely necessary, saddened me. I really kept turning pages because I was dying to see what would happen when he showed finally up. Because, let's be honest, no one thought he was actually dead.

Again, I didn't care for the flashbacks. I understand why they were included and did like how they tied into the present day, but I didn't feel invested in the story of Mara's grandmother. I almost wanted to skip these chapters (but I didn't). This is really the only negative thing I can say about this book.

The big reveal of the big bad at the end completely blew me away!

There was no way I could have seen it coming. At all. And if you did, I applaud you. Michelle Hodkin is the queen of twists, in my opinion. I was actually a little dizzy by by the end. Mara handled the reveal much better than I would have, but she also seems to have an emotional on/off switch that I'm lacking. I'd like to know where I can get one of those.

And then there's our power couple. I've noticed that some people thought the decisions of Noah and Mara were selfish and hated them for it, but it was exactly the ending I was hoping for.

I was truly scared to turn the page because I was worried the author would change it right at the very last minute (à la Allegiant).

There's not much negative that can be said about this book. I could keep going on and on about the things I loved, but I won't because I think you get the idea. Like the first two in the series, The Retribution of Mara Dyer is amazing in every way. This series has officially earned a spot on the top of my list of favorites. Go read it. Now.