“The Retribution of Mara Dyer” by Michelle Hodkin
3 out of 5 stars.
“Mara Dyer wants to believe there’s more to the lies she’s been told.
She doesn’t stop to think about where her quest for the truth might lead.
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.”
Spoilers for “The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer” and “The Evolution of Mara Dyer” are present and unavoidable in this review.
This book was kind of disappointing in my opinion. I had known from my sister going into “The Retribution of Mara Dyer” that it was a bit of a disappointment, especially to the die-hard fans who had waited the full two years for Michelle Hodkin to finish it. With the previous two books, I had powered through them and felt thoroughly engrossed in the plot that Michelle had been developing, but with the third book in the “Mara Dyer” trilogy, I felt kind of bored and it was easy to put it down compared to the previous two books. Despite it not being that interesting or engrossing of a book, “The Retribution of Mara Dyer” was still a fast read, and I was able to finish it in a day without a problem. I had expected to not be that enthused by it, but I was still kind of bummed for myself and for the dedicated fans by how this book felt like a chore to get through at times and did not seem to expand much farther than what was already presented in “The Evolution of Mara Dyer.”
I think one of the reasons that “The Retribution of Mara Dyer” ended up being so dull at times was that a hundred pages were spent in the asylum (which I have forgotten the name of) with Jamie, Mara, and one of the other patients, who were all trying to escape. Once they got out, half of the book was them on the run, trying to figure out where Noah was or if he was still alive, and that did make the book feel like it was going by a little faster, but not by much. Jamie definitely became the funny one of the group, and there was one scene in “The Retribution of Mara Dyer” involving Skittles that made me burst out laughing, so I did appreciate those few moments of tamed enjoyment, since Mara was not the most pleasant perspective to be stuck with. Jamie definitely helped me to keep reading, but without Noah in this book, it lost some of its dynamic and appeal which “The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer” and “The Evolution of Mara Dyer” had both possessed because of his presence.
Although the first half of “The Retribution of Mara Dyer” was not the most interesting to read, the latter half picked up a lot and was more exciting, mostly because of the flashback chapters from Mara’s grandmother. I had become less and less a fan of Mara as this trilogy progressed, but the alternating between her perspective and her grandmother’s once every few chapters helped to make me read this book faster and find it more interesting. I also enjoyed the appearance of Daniel, Mara’s brother, later on in this book, and I did appreciate that, despite all of the craziness that had occurred in Mara’s life, her love for her family never changed.
“The Retribution of Mara Dyer” was an okay book, but was a mildly un-climatic ending to a pretty good trilogy. I think one of the things that saddened me the most about these books and how they progressed was that Mara chose to turn into the person whom she had feared she would become when this trilogy started. While reading, Mara reminded me a lot of Juliet Moreau from Megan Shepherd’s “The Madman’s Daughter” trilogy, but in Megan’s books, I had felt engrossed in the story and fascinated by Juliet’s evolution as an individual, whereas I was not as interested in Mara’s story. These two female characters dealt with a lot of traumatizing events that caused some emotional and psychological issues, and I felt like Juliet went to a very dark place for a time, but she came out on the other side a lot stronger and wiser, choosing a better path for her life. My problem with this trilogy’s ending was that Mara went through similar things to Juliet, like getting stuck in a dark place, but instead of climbing out on the other side wanting more out of life, Mara instead seemed to like that she had become the aggressive, darker person whom she had not wanted to be originally. It just made me sad that the promise of a brighter future seemed to be overshadowed by the choices Mara made in this book, and that she was content with seeing the world through a darker perspective.
Overall, the ending of this book and trilogy felt a little bit lackluster and sad because of Mara’s shift and other spoilery things I can’t tell you about, but it also wasn’t a bad ending; it was an ending that left me wanting something more is all. “The Retribution of Mara Dyer” was not the best ending to a trilogy/series that I have read, and I understand the frustration of the fandom concerning these books. All that being said, though, it was still a fast read, and the issues that were strung through the trilogy seeming to be fairly well-resolved by the end of this book. The “Mara Dyer” books were pretty good, they just did not have the best ending.