Review: The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin

Publication Date: September 27th, 2011
Simon & Schuster’s Children’s Publishing
Format: Hardcover, 452 pages
Goodreads Summary

Mara Dyer doesn’t think life can get any stranger than waking up in a hospital with no memory of how she got there.
It can.
She believes there must be more to the accident she can’t remember that killed her friends and left her mysteriously unharmed.
There is.
She doesn’t believe that after everything she’s been through, she can fall in love.
She’s wrong.
I’ve been an avid reader for years but had only been active in book reviewing for the last two years. And over that span of time, I’ve learned that sometimes, the most anticipated books does not necessarily equate to the most enjoyable reads.

I know a lot of people were itching to read this book and I was probably one of the few who stood in the sidelines and waited patiently for Mara Dyer’s release. I’ve learned to curb my enthusiasm ever since my fervor eagerness for Starcrossed and Die for Me fell to a crushing disappointment, so there wasn’t much excitement on my end when this book came out.

Slap a hat on me and call me Susie.

I absolutely enjoyed this creep fest of a book and for once, I wasn’t riding on everybody else’s enthusiasm but mine.

I loved the mystery that surrounds the entire story. The guessing game never ends. One hundred percent of the time, I was completely vested in it. So much so that I had to re-think and second-guess myself. Was Mara having delusions? Or was it actually happening? Was it just a product of her antipsychotic pills or was the ghosts of her friends really haunting her? Was it all real? The questions were endless.

Mara is such a beautiful, broken character. The demons that she constantly fought with showed how admirably strong she is. But the ultimate chink in her armor was discerning what was reality and what had become her reality. Little by little, she also learned what she was capable of. Let’s just say that you better not make her angry or she could kill you with a thought.

The romance in this book is a tad over the top. Actually, I should just say that NOAH SHAW is a little over the top. Don’t get me wrong, this snarky, Brit boy is the ultimate hottie in my book. But seriously? Who are we kidding here? I know this is fiction and it is a paranormal book, but try not to kill us with this handsome, smart, multi-lingual, literature-quoting yumminess, who by the way, is richer than Bill Gates. Not only that, he’s freaking BRITISH (yes, I know, I mentioned this already…but come on! British!) – a gentleman when he wants to be and an absolute jerk when he chose to be. I do love him but I think Michelle Hodkin reached her maximum limit for perfecting the ultimate book boyfriend. No joke.

As expected, the initial offering of this series left a lot of loose threads. Don’t expect a tidy ending because you’re not going to get one. There’s not even a resolution, all you’d be left with are a bunch of questions.

Lately, I’ve become a fan of enumerating my grievances…er questions so I’ve got some here.

(a) How did Mara’s ability come to be? Did she inherit some mystical powers from her deceased grandmother? Does her grandmother even play a role in this series? Or was she just a passing thought? Did her ability come from the same souls that haunted her every waking and sleeping moments?

(b) I sometimes found the writing style jumpy. Or perhaps it’s the pacing. Sometimes there’s no smooth transition. An example is when she’d end her chapters in an ominous way and then I’d read the next chapter only to find that nothing really happens to explain why the previous chapter was ended in such a manner. What can I say? I’m a very impatient reader. I’ve never been a fan of foreshadowing that takes place a long ways a way before the conflict and eventual resolution. But hey, that’s just me…and I’m rambling.

(c) I felt like what happened in the asylum was revealed with very little fan fare. Considering it was the catalyst for the story, I had hope for more details. The little trickles of memory or nightmares weren’t enough for me. I was really looking forward to the high priest’s aid in getting Mara’s memory of that night but I was disappointed when the next scene was in Noah’s room. Though, if I may be honest, I was elated as well…*winks*

(d) And lastly, there were too many things going on. The book lack a certain unity that would’ve made this an incredible read. Subplots like: The murdered girl and Leon Lassiter; Noah’s powers/ability; I wish they were all gift wrapped and tied in a nice bow. But sadly, they weren’t.

You know what though? This book is, in a word, amazing. The writing was so natural and pretty, especially the dark, creepy scenes. I was completely into it as soon as I flip to page one. Perhaps it was the intention of the author to leave me in such a daze – thoughts and questions swirling in my head hours after I finished reading – enough to drive me insane. All I can say is, well played, Ms. Hodkin. Well, played. 

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