Thursday, December 20, 2012

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Title: The Evolution of Mara Dyer
Author: Michelle Hodkin
Series: Mara Dyer, book #2
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: October 23, 2012
Source: purchased
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Mara Dyer once believed she could run from her past.

She can’t.

She used to think her problems were all in her head.

They aren’t.

She couldn’t imagine that after everything she’s been through, the boy she loves would still be keeping secrets.

She’s wrong.

In this gripping sequel to The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer, the truth evolves and choices prove deadly. What will become of Mara Dyer next?

Even two weeks after reading this book, I'm still at a loss as to how to describe my reading experience.  I want to just focus on how the book left me reeling, for risk of spoiling anything from this book or the first in the series.  But I need to discuss this book with someone who's already read it so we can properly freak out over the mind#$@% that is The Evolution of Mara Dyer.

The second novel in the Mara Dyer series was creepy.  It was thrilling, romantical, and ultimately, it was over too quickly.  That's saying a lot because this book came in at 527 pages long.  But I read every page quickly, with a rapid pulse and barely breathing.  So, if you're wondering if it was better than The Unbecoming, the answer is a resounding YES.  I loved the first book, but The Evolution expanded upon everything I loved about the first novel by ten-fold.

Where this novel lacks subtlety, it more than makes up for in completely over-the-top creepiness.  I, myself, can get on board with either type of creepy.  I'm less likely to have nightmares after the in-your-face scary because it's rather obvious, but it's that subtly psychological crazy stuff that can cause me to have a complete melt-down upon waking.  That's because it sneaks up on you, catches you off guard and then scares the bejeezus out of you.  I think The Evolution has plenty to appeal to both types of horror fans.

I had my suspicions about what was happening to Mara throughout the novel, but not knowing whether Mara was a reliable narrator or not made it difficult to give them any credence.  She hardly knows whether to believe herself.  But Noah, he believes Mara.  And the fact that there's something different about him, as well, led me to believe that I could trust him as Mara does.  I don't know if that's the right call yet, but he seems to legitimately care for this girl and wants to help her.

That being said, this second installment, while it's there, is a little lighter on the romance and more plot-driven than the first book.  So much happens in the span of 527 pages.  So many surprises.  So many possibilities.  So much of the surreal.  Case in point:  dolls that seem to move of their own volition, a murder of crows dropping from the sky dead, multiple stints in a psychiatric ward.  Obviously, Mara's life is far from normal.  And it just keeps taking a turn for the worse.

Enter the crazies.  There's Phoebe, a fellow out-patient at Mara's treatment facility who just likes messing with Mara's head for the sake of it.  And he dead or not?!?  Oh, and Jamie's back...and a fellow out-patient.  And we get to meet his sister...the one that Noah supposedly defiled.  All of these characters, while secondary, add a certain je ne se qua to the story.  There's something significant about each of them, and I don't just mean in relation to that cliffhanger of an ending.  But it's hard to put my finger on, you know, because I didn't particularly like or dislike any of them.

Speaking of cliffhangers...what a doozy!  It was equal parts expected and unexpected, but it was fitting.  I'm just glad there is going to be a third novel.  Maybe the story could have been chopped down to only make two books, but then there wouldn't have been nearly enough crazy.  And the crazy makes this story.  I'll definitely be biting my nails until the next book is released.

Favorite quotes:

"I wish we could make out in your bed."
Noah sighed.  "As do I, but I'm afraid we have a ritual burning to conduct."
"It's always something."
"Isn't it though?"

"The pages are worn, well-read, and I skim through them.  I wonder if it's possible to know someone through the words they loved."

And this one I don't particularly love, but I did love how easily I was able to conjure up the image based on the cringe-worthy description:

"Dr. Kells leaned back in her chair and crossed her legs; her nude pantyhose crinkled over her knees like a second, artificial skin."  ---  Ewwwwww.  Also, I hate pantyhose.

Rating:  Photobucket


  1. LOVE this review! I totally agree, Evolution is better than Unbecoming, in my opinion. This book was a total explosion.

    The psychological creepy stuff gave me shivers. That scene where Noah tells her that she got the doll back? NOOOOOOOOOOPE.

  2. I know it's probably bad that I'm reading the review for the second book when I STILL haven't read the first book. Been meaning too, though! Love your review and can't wait to read the amazing creepiness :)

  3. OMG it's better than the first?!?! Gah, I need to find time to read this ASAP! I'm kinda excited about the extra creepiness, not even gonna lie. LOL Great review! :)

    ~Sara @ Forever 17 Books

  4. Cripes, Jen! I still haven't read the copy of Mara Dyer 1 I got last Chrustmas?!? What is wrong w/me?! So glad you loved this. I'm so pumped to finally start the series!

  5. I liked this more than the first book. And I agree, creepiness in books either needs to be subtle or WAY over the top. And I kind of love authors who are unafraid to really go for it in the creepy department.

    Okay, when I have a chance I must email you to discuss cliffhanger..

  6. I completely and totally need to read the first book.
    Happy reading,
    Brandi from Blkosiner’s Book Blog


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