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The Evolution of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin

  • Date published: 23rd October 2012
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster AU
  • Format: Paperback, 544 pages
  • Series: Mara Dyer, Book 2
  • ISBN 13: 9781442421790 ISBN 10: 1442421797
  • Categories: YA – Fantasy, Science Fiction
  • Goodreads / The Book DepositoryBooktopia / Bookworld
  • Source: provided for review by publisher

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.

I enjoyed The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer and was hoping that this book would cut down a little on the romance and provide a solid, thrilling plot line to expand on the world it introduced. Creepy, intense and convoluted, I think that while The Evolution of Mara Dyer makes up for the way its predecessor strayed into romance and forgot all about the plot, it seems to me that it’s over compensated. This book is almost nothing but plot, and not in a good way.

There is very little character development – Mara is rapidly losing her grip on reality and although Noah is around to help ground her and provide strength, she begins the novel scared and determined to fight back, and ends the novel scared and determined to fight back. In between are a multitude of what I can only describe as the usual shop of horrors stuff – creepy dolls, crows, sleep walking and things re-appearing after they have been discarded, writing on mirrors and walls. And there’s so much of it that I quickly became desensitized, and the book stopped being thrilling and became annoying.

There are points to applaud about the book – I liked the flashbacks into the past, but there is no explanation or exploration of them. I continue to enjoy the relationships that Mara has with her family, I enjoy reading books with positive familial relationships. I liked Noah, I think he has grown a lot since the first book and I liked seeing another side of him after being over-exposed to his ‘mysterious, rich, hot dude’ persona in Unbecoming. His family life was also great to explore, and I have these theories about his father that I look forward to testing out in Retribution.

But ultimately, I didn’t like how the author basically offers no answers to the questions she posed in Unbecoming (and the ones she did provide seemed unsatisfactory to me). I didn’t enjoy that there are now twice as many questions to be answered in Retribution (that book is shaping up to be just a series of revelations, from the looks of things). I didn’t like the cliffhanger, and I most definitely didn’t like that this book was so long. It seemed stretched out, thin (like butter scraped over too much bread), and in my opinion this premise would have done better as a duology.

The Evolution of Mara Dyer is everything you have come to expect from a sequel that primarily serves as filler material between the initiating and concluding volumes of a series. The things I liked about it and that infernal cliffhanger ensure that I will be back for more in The Retribution of Mara Dyer, but I have given up hope of the series rising above my expectations and surprising me. A pity, because the potential was there.

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