The Evolution of Mara Dyer: A Review

On reviewing this novel, I've not read any other reviews but those that two of my goodreads friends who have provided short insights on the novel--both of which contradict with each other: one gave it five stars, and the other two--like I usually do just so I could pick something up as to how I might begin with my review. Either way, I wrote this one right after I finished the novel--so I wouldn't forget and that my feels (and opinions) are still intact and not influenced by anything.

(Loong review under the cut. [With minimal spoilers]) + tweaked book reviews format

What do you think is under the title?
ev·o·lu·tion  n.
   a. The process of developing.
   b. Gradual development.
  • I think it could be talking about how we see Mara change in the duration of the novel. Both [somehow] physically and as a character as well. [spoiler alert!]

In general: (didn't like it, okay, liked it, loved it)
  • Meh....

I don't think I'm gonna tear the novel piece by piece then proceed to talking about them. This is a sequel, so if you've come to read this review, it's clear that you have an idea of the goings-on in the series so far. Yes, so.
  • Like I have stated in my goodreads 'review', this is one of those novels where you're just stuck between giving it a one or a five, this is biased in a way, obviously--since I just finished the novel and still am seething with feelings--hopefully, though, I'll be able to figure them out after I talked about it.
  • Anywaaaay, this novel sort of let me down. I loved the first novel a lot (regardless of the times it scared the shit out of me during the midnight) and I so looked forward to be reading the sequel, but it didn't really satisfy me. Not that I disliked it or hated it, no. It just wasn't my cup of tea.
  • It still got its beautiful writing, seeping sarcasm, witty conversations, cheesy more like frustrating romance, and the famous paranormal/freaky/thrill ride; but this is more serious. It makes sense--that it's more serious, I know, because you're supposed to focus on the plot itself and building the world up for its conclusion, but for some reason this novel just confused me more than ever. I really have hope for The Retribution of Mara Dyer, though. I have a feeling that this is going to answer the questions we have built up in our curious little minds whilst taking this adventure with our protagonists.
  • I've been spoiled on this one. I've read a lot [of reactions] about what's gonna happen with Noah long before I dove in to the series so there was so much panic when I got to the part where things got very intense and scary that I had this urge to scream 'no' at the top of my lungs and hurl the book down the pool (but screw me, I could never do that. It took me long to save up for this and I really wouldn't want to damage any more books.).
  • Maybe I'm not going on this novel part-by-part, but let me tell you that one of the reasons why I find this novel (and trilogy so far, actually) so interesting is because the narrator is unreliable. There were so many times--especially in Evolution--where I really started to doubt Mara and think she's crazy. (Which of course you won't fully buy yourself because she is the narrator and whatever we do, what she sees and thinks are what we do as well--most of the time, anyway.) Especially the whole Jude thing which I most certainly didn't buy until it scared the fuck out of me when we got [some] answers.
  • Let us talk about Noah Shaw. Remember when I said in my Unbecoming review that I thought he's a Gary-Stu? I still think that. The only difference is that I am starting to see him in a different light. There were instances in this novel where I thought his being-Mara's-boyfriend phase is starting to fade because of everything they're facing, but goddamn, how wrong was I. Now that I think back to it, I think I felt for the romance here that in the first book. Reading through his "journal" was absolutely insightful--if anything. I fell for his thoughts and the way he weaved words to form them. (The word beautiful is not enough to describe Hodkin's writing, I swear.) It also made me realize just how much he loves and cares for Mara. And it made me ache. For a reason I don't really know. He loves he so much it's something you'd either reciprocate or run away from.  Overall, I still think he's a Gary-stu-ish kind of character, but he is starting to make sense for me.
  • I just also have to take note of this line in the synopsis where it says that Noah's got a few secrets of his own. I think it had not been made clear in the novel and that I wish we'd been able to unravel some. The boy's gotta open that box of secrets sometimes and share some with his girlfriend. Really. (Or is it a part of the many reasons why he frustrates a lot of teenage girls? And yes, I mean it in every way you can think it.)
  • A lot of my friends said that this is creepier and scarier than Unbecoming. I believe them. There were less scenarios wherein you just jump out of your skin like there were in the first, but the "scary" scenes in this novel are to linger in you and make you think about them. (You know, if they're somehow related to the bigger picture and the third novel or really just meant to freak you out a bit.)
  • Let us talk about the ending. I think it's starting to set the stage for the final novel already. I mean, everything still is jarred and unclear, but I have a feeling that this is going to give us a clue on Mara and how she plans to run things in the future (aka the third novel). Clearly, there will be so much in store for us in the Retribution.

Quotes you liked:
“Everyone is a little crazy. The only difference between us and them is that they hide it better.” 

 “I’ll walk forever with stories inside me that the people I love the most can never hear.” 

 “Sometimes, the biggest secrets you can only tell a stranger.”

Make a three to five song playlist for the novel:

Rate it by stars/rubber ducks:
2.5 ducks. It's not really my cup of tea.

Would you recommend it?
  • Sure. Yes, if you've already read the first novel and is reluctant to get to the second. (It gets more intense and mysterious, you know.)

Last words:
  • I promise, I didn't not like this. I just really didn't feel the novel.
  • More Noah!! (Because this is irrelevant in the review but I have to let it out, anyway.) There's this one scene where he does a "do-over" of Mara's birthday and had a own tailored for five grand and all those stuff--it made me ache for him as well. (Actually, I think "feel bad" is a better way to put it.) Not in the way you might be thinking, but whilst reading, he sort of grew on me and I started to want to know more about him and appreciate him as a character. No biggie. I just think he's too... precious. I can see how much he loves Mara and it's a depressing thing to see. I ship them, yes. But sometimes I can't help but think that maybe she doesn't deserve him--that he doesn't deserve anybody at all. He's too perfect. I mean he has his equal share of flaws, but  I don't know, I think when he gets so invested in something, he'd do anything to get it. And I think that's what's gonna kill him (or as we put it, his fatal flaw). And yes, I don't believe that he's dead. He's Noah fucking Shaw. He doesn't just die. Come on.
  • COVER THEORY! I've been wanting to talk about this since I've gotten spoiled on Noah and now that I'm done with the Evolution, I can now freely speak of it. Click here to see/read it! (And then maybe talk to me about it, if it's not much trouble for you.)

So, yes, I guess that's about it for The Evolution of Mara Dyer.

'Til next time, bye!


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