“The Evolution of Mara Dyer” by Michelle Hodkin
4 out of 5 stars.
“The truth about Mara Dyer’s dangerous and mysterious abilities continues to unravel in the New York Times bestselling sequel to the thrilling The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer. 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?”
Spoilers for “The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer” are present and unavoidable in this review.
Wow, this book was mildly crazy. The ending of “The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer” was a massive sized cliffhanger, almost a canyon in itself, and I was grateful that the second “Mara Dyer” book was already out so that I did not have to wait a year or more to figure out how and why Jude was still alive after the asylum collapsed on him, his sister, Claire, and Mara’s friend, Rachel. I feel terrible for the poor readers who had to wait for “The Evolution of Mara Dyer” to come out just so they could find out why Jude was still kicking. I hate to say it, but sometimes it’s really nice to jump on the bandwagon later on in a series or trilogy!
“You will love him to ruins.”
For some reason, I absolutely loved the prologue to “The Evolution of Mara Dyer,” and I liked the fact that it added a lot of interest to this book and kept me wondering as a reader where this haunting prologue might connected to the rest of Mara and Noah’s story. It was also an interesting thought that if Noah stayed with Mara that he would die or be ruined in one way or another; it is the truth as old as time that, if you really love someone and you know you are holding them back, then you should let them go. It’s a little fatalistic and despairing, but I thought it was a compelling touch to Mara’s already gritty story.
As interesting as Mara story was getting in this book, I still wasn’t the hugest fan of her as a heroine. I liked the parts of “The Evolution of Mara Dyer” when she and Noah worked together to figure out their abilities and why they had them, but the sections of Mara all alone were not the most interesting. I did find her struggle with her destructive tendencies to be interesting, and again, that aspect of Mara’s story was the idea of whether someone could be considered good or bad based off of what they were born into, or if it was about the choices they made that turn the into something other than who they wanted to be. I found her emotional struggle that played off of that idea to be as fascinating as it was sad, but I think my problem with not caring for Mara too much as a heroine was that I always wanted to know more about the other people around her.
Noah was great in “The Evolution of Mara Dyer” and he really stepped up to the plate as a hero in this trilogy. Noah had felt dynamic and well-developed in “The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer,” despite Michelle Hodkin keeping her cards hidden concerning him at times, but it was great to get to know a little bit more about Noah and his mother’s past in “The Evolution of Mara Dyer.” I did wish that I could have gotten a little bit more Noah Shaw time in this book, but the parts that I did get with him were great and very interesting. I also really liked how he totally bonded with Mara’s brothers even more in this book.
The secondary characters like Mara’s brothers and her friend, Jamie, were still great, and the eeriness Jude’s elusive presence brought to this book added to its addictive quality. Between Mara being labeled crazy by those around her (and occasionally herself) and Jude turning out to be creepier than first thought, “The Evolution of Mara Dyer” was definitely grittier than “The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer.” I liked that Michelle Hodkin kept the pace of this book going by adding chapters here and there from the perspective of someone other than Mara, who had lived in India long before this heroine’s story ever began. Those chapters were very interesting and they added a lot to the back story of this entire trilogy.
Overall, I liked “The Evolution of Mara Dyer” a lot, and I enjoyed the fairly crazy ride it took me on. My sister had read Michelle Hodkin’s books quite a while ago and she had told me a bit about them, but even knowing the things I did, I still felt the suspense of certain scenes, and I still wanted to know exactly how Mara and Noah came to be the way they were. I loved Noah and I was happy that he was in this book a lot, and I liked that Michelle revealed a few more secrets about him and Mara and their connection with each other. I also loved Mara’s family, especially Daniel, but there were certain moments when I felt a little bit sad and outraged by how Mara kept getting stuck in that awful Shady Glen place, or whatever it was called, because of everything that was happening to her and going on in her life. I didn’t love Mara as a heroine, but I would not wish for anyone to have to go to a place like that! I also liked seeing how the story of Mara Dyer developed and evolved in “The Evolution of Mara Dyer” as certain things came to light, but Michelle Hodkin still kept her cards close, and there was still a lot left to wonder about when the cliffhanger ending hit. It was quite possibly more painful and crazy than even the ending of “The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer.” Yeah, I am very grateful that all of the “Mara Dyer” books are already out…