The Retribution of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin
Hardcover, 470 pages
Published by Simon & Schuster
Publication Date: November 4, 2014
Rating: 3/5 Stars
Synopsis: 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.
A gripping, horrifying, and a messy end to the trilogy. By my own rating guide standards, I want to give this book an extra half of a star because of Mara and Noah, but I just can't. If I'm completely honest with myself, the only reason I liked this book was because of Mara and Noah. Through all of Mara's searching for the truth about Noah and their ending, I loved every minute of it. As for everything else? Not so much. I felt like the plot was trying to be suspenseful and take you on all of these twists and turns, but I found most of it very predictable. The writing style is haunting and at some points really beautiful (the Mara and Noah parts). The horror scenes freaked me out so much that I had to put the book down and contemplate whether or not I should put it in the freezer. I mean this in a good way, because it's supposed to be scary and unpleasant but in general I found the plot to be lacking. The hunt for clues and resolution in this book just seems so easy. Too easy. Easy to the point of sloppiness. Which left me feeling unsatisfied with the wrap up of the book. All of the Mara and Noah parts are great and make it worth it to stick it out, but you won't catch me saying that I was in love with this book.
1) Mara's search for Noah is exactly what I wanted out of Lauren Oliver's Pandemonium. I find it extremely heart-breaking and wonderful. In general, as I've already mentioned, anything including these two was just great. Loved it.
2) All of the horror scenes, specifically while Mara is going nuts are so scary. It kind of reminded me a lot of The Madman's Daughter by Megan Shepherd. While she's losing her mind and struggling with her powers and her psychosis is very chilling and creepy.
HUGE SPOILERS. I'M BASICALLY GIVING THE ENTIRE BOOK AWAY, SO IF YOU DON'T WANT TO KNOW, DON'T READ ANY FURTHER. OTHERWISE, READ AT YOUR OWN RISK.
1) So Mara, Jamie, and Stella. Three supernatural teenagers travel around the East Coast, stealing cars, using Jamie's powers of persuasion to talk people into letting them stay in nice hotels and giving them plane tickets for free, leaving dead bodies in their wake. Sounds easy-peasy, right? Wrong. The sad thing, it's written in an easy-peasy way. Need a getaway car? Boom! Jamie has used this powers to convince someone to give up their expensive convertible. Hungry and need a place to sleep? Boom! Jamie has secured three hotel suites by talking. Need to fly to New York? Boom! Jamie has convinced airport officials to give them tickets and get through security no questions asked. What about the parents of these three teenagers you ask? Oh well, Jamie took care of that too. He just used his powers to convince them that them being away was normal. And at the end of the novel? When Mara has to deal with all of the crimes that she committed, the people she's killed, the explanation to her family? Guess how it's fixed yet? And for everything that Jamie can't fix, it just left open for you to ponder how that's going to work.
2) There is literally no explanation as to why Noah never attempts to find Mara. I was expecting to find him half-dead, after a bunch of torture and experiments. But no, he was just with his rich father the entire time. We get a tiny mention in his POV that he isn't himself until he sees her but we're given no full explanation as to why that is. So while his girlfriend is traveling around, being half-dead herself, trying to find him, he's just sitting around with his father without looking for Mara at all. All I have to say to that is, wtf?
3) All of the twists and turns of the book I found to be predictable. Who was behind everything? What was their purpose? Who was related to whom? And so on. There were so many clues and hints that it took away from the suspenseful parts of the plot.
4) Anyone like the Romeo and Juliet ending? Well this has the same ending except how both of them come magically back to life with pretty much no explanation other then they manifested. Whatever that means. There is next to no explanation as how they both die and magically come back to life. Especially when being together apparently shortens their life expectancy ><
5) Can anyone explain to me what were in those damn capsules? And answer basic questions such as what were their function, why they were in her stomach but not in her stomach, and why the hell was Mara the only one affected that way?
6) There are a lot of references to big books and movie franchises, that it makes me cringe. Is it realistic that teenagers would be making these references all of the time? Yes. Hell, I'm not a teenager, and I pretty much recite movie and book quotes at every chance I get. What's my problem, then? The author references big names such as Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, X-Men, and a lot of others to the point that it feels like the reason she did this was to evoke the feelings that those franchises gave us to cover up for her botched up plot.
In general, this book had so much potential. The writing style is great. There was an interesting and unique plot in place from the first two novels, but it just didn't fully carry through to this one. Its main saving grace is the couple, and that's the only reason I've given it 3 stars.
1) "I held my breath as I read poem after poem that Noah had written for me--the old Velveteen Rabbit one, a new Lolita one, and even the terribly filthy Dr. Seuss one. My hands shook and my throat ached but I didn't cry. I couldn't. I felt angry instead. If he could have been with me, he would have been, which meant he couldn't. I would make whoever kept him from me pay" (190).
2) "I would go anywhere, with anyone, to see the girl I loved again. Obviously" (338).
3) "I know now. You are what happiness means to me. And I would rather have today with you than forever with anyone else."
I can tell she wants to believe it, and I pray that she does, because I don't think I can stand to lose her. I can't let her go. Not yet. I take her face in my hands. "We will do this while we can, and when we can't anymore, I will remember the feel of your mouth on me and the taste of your tongue and the weight of your hands on mine, and I will be happy" (438).
4) "Stay with me," I nearly growl, trying to bite back my desperation, my fear that she'll slip away. I never want to stop looking at her from here. "Stay."
They flutter open--she's still here, still her. "I need to hear you," she begs in that voice, and I can't refuse her, not anything, not now, not ever. But the words that come aren't enough for this. For her. So I speak in a language she doesn't know.
Je t'aime. Aujourd'hui. Ce soir. Demain. Pour toujours. Si je vivais mille ans, je t'appartiendrais pour tous. Si je vivais mille vies, je te ferais mienne dans chacune d'elles.
I love you. Today. Tonight. Tomorrow. Forever. If I were to live a thousand years, I would belong to you for all of them. If I were to live a thousand lives, I would want to make you mine in each one" (453).