Nov 20, 2014

Review: The Retribution of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin

Title: The Retribution of Mara Dyer
Author: Michelle Hodkin
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Publishing Date: November 4, 2014
Pages/Format: 470, Hardcover
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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.

Book in One Word: EXPLETIVES.

So here's the deal. It's extremely difficult to talk about this book without being spoilery, but I'm going to try. However, if you haven't read this book, please read at your own risk. And if you haven't read The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer or The Evolution of Mara Dyer, read those reviews instead (here and here), because you shall be spoiled.

I read the first two books in the Mara Dyer trilogy the summer before The Retribution of Mara Dyer was supposed to release, but then the date kept getting pushed back and my gosh, I JUST WANTED TO KNOW WHAT MARA'S RETRIBUTION WAS, OKAY. But then the book was finally here and I read it and...It's been almost a week since I finished the highly anticipated finale to the Mara Dyer trilogy, and I'm just now writing my review (and a horrible one at that, because I know I'm going to forget something and this just will not ever be a sufficient review). Why? Because I don't know what to write! It was...not what I expected. Then again, I didn't know what to expect because, hello, this is the Mara Dyer trilogy, where the sky is green and the grass is blue and we just have to go along with it. This series is full of fuckery, and in Mara's retribution, it's still there...but there's also more. We finally learn (possible spoiler) what in the hell is up with Mara Dyer and get some answers. But please note, I said some.

When we left Mara Dyer at the end of Evolution, she was stuck in the hands of some crazy ass evil doctor people and was told the boy she would love to ruins, the one and only King of the Asscrowns Noah Shaw, was dead (and was extremely smart for not being stupid and believing it). As Retribution begins, we're still at Horizons, and Mara is...sedated? Drugged? Crazy-seeming? I don't even know. But then shit happens, and the story just...goes places. There is, of course, death. And witty lines. And lots and lots of blood. Gosh, that's all I can say without going all spoilery crazy.

The Retribution of Mara Dyer does three things that I would like to mention. Here's the one that's not a spoiler: it feels different from the rest of the books. Maybe it's a series finale thing, and knowing it's the last book, because lots do this (but not all do), but the feel is just so different from the rest of the series. It almost doesn't fit. I don't know if it's a bad thing, but it's a thing. Now, here are two big pretty spoilers, so skip to the next paragraph if you don't want to see them. What seems to be a requirement at some point in a series? Why, the two love interests must be separated for a long amount of time, of course. And guess what, THAT TOTALLY HAPPENS HERE. And by a long period of time, I mean the majority of the book. It was kind of pulled off, but still; it was over three hundred pages before Noah Shaw returned, and when he did, I don't know that he was even there for a hundred pages. In a book that's supposed to be more of a romance (according to the acknowledgements), that's kind of irksome. And I guess I also had all these ideas of Noah saving the day, so... Now, what's another thing that tends to happen in series (mainly trilogy), and typically in the last book? Bow chicka wow woooooooooow. And since this is a Michelle Hodkin book and it is Mr. Reputation Noah Shaw, you know it's excellent. (I'll stop now, before I sound like a dirty perv.) (But I'd also like to add that it's maybe not suitable to read while you're anywhere near people, like your mother.)

I don't even want to mention characters in the book because of how it could be spoilery, because really, this is one of those books you need to go into knowing as little as possible. And that just makes writing this review even harder, because CHARACTER and CHARACTER and THING and THING. I know, I'm so vague. (Though I'll give you a hint and say that Mara's lines are fantastic and Jamie is freaking hilarious and Daniel is still one of my favorite bookish brothers and I liked the addition of Stella and a lot of the other characters can basically go fuck themselves.) But something that kind of bugged me, and that could be a spoiler, is that we don't get all the answers. (What in the actual hell, not-flashbacks flashback things?) Hell, I don't even understand the answers we did get. (But there's this thing with a hero and a dragon and OH MY GOSH.) And when the book ended, I was like WHAT, because of something you will see when you read it, and also, noth everything was answered and WHAT WHAT WHAT. Also, if this helps any:

I, surprisingly, devoured this book. I didn't get the chance to start reading it on its release day (I wasn't finished with my stupid Evolution reread, and I had to read a book for book club), but when I did finally manage to scrounge up the courage to pick it up (finales are scary, and also, that one book I shall not name has me freaked out for series endings for forever), I finished it in less than twenty-four hours. I am not a fast reader. This is not a thin book. But yet, I read this book relatively fast, and sacrificed some sleep and possibly my need to eat so I can survive. But seriously, how could I NOT devour this? The only reason I really put it down was because I fell asleep, but there are few places to put this book down. It just keeps going and hits with you this and this and makes you make these ridiculous noises so your mom thinks you're crazy, and makes you swear a LOT in your head because, well, fuck. Though really, you can't expect any less from a Mara Dyer book.

I am not saying goodbye to this series, because even though it's not one of my favorites and I don't think I love the books, I do not want to say goodbye and I do not believe it's over. Because there are so many possibilities for more stories after this, and you can't just be done with these kinds of character, this kind of story, and this kind of stories. So no. I will not say goodbye. Until next time, Mara Dyer. I can't wait to see what shit you fuck up next.

Did I like it? Yesss.
Did I love it? I had a book hangover thanks to it, so possibly?
Would I reread it? This is likely.
Would I purchase it? Already did, of course.
Who would I recommend it to? Oh dear gosh, people who don't mind stories of insanity that ensue much profanity and have excellent (also insane) characters.


  1. Interesting... though I'm glad I didn't bother continuing with the series if there are still unanswered questions. I read the first book a little while ago, and I wasn't all that impressed.

  2. I feel sad every time I read something about this book, for two reasons: the series is over, and the last book was disappointing. I'm glad to see you seem to have enjoyed it better than I did, because for me it fell flat. I loved Unbecoming and Evolution to pieces, but not Retribution. Maybe I had too high expectations? That's possible too.
    I am satisfied with the answers I got though. Sure there still are a few unknown things, but overall I liked the final.

  3. I didn't LOVE this book either :( I didn't like all the unanswered questions and all the confusing sciencey things. I didn't like how I felt the ending was SPOILER: okay they're together but A. she's going to continue to hurt people and B. She's basically prophesied to kill Noah and stop him from using his gifts to help other people. Well that's just great. He could save millions of lives, but he won't because you love him. Awesome.

  4. Oh and you are SO right. This book felt completely different from the other 2 books and yes I still read it really fast and couldn't put it down :)


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