Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Review of The Evolution of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin

The Evolution of Mara Dyer (Mara Dyer, #2)
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?

(Summary from GoodReads) 

Frankly, Michelle Hodkin’s debut, The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer, was kind of a hot mess.  Her prose was overwrought, and she made the mistake of trying so hard to keep her first book mysterious that her plot was unsatisfactory.  Hodkin managed to clean up the prose for book two, and while I got answers to some of my questions, I was unsatisfied with where the plot went.

The Evolution of Mara Dyer had decidedly better prose than book one.  Hodkin tightened things up overall, wrote better descriptions, and did a better job with similies and metaphors.  It still felt the editing could have been stronger, but at least there was some improvement.

Mara’s family is a bit more fleshed out in this story, although at times the roles her immediately family played got a little agitating.  Her relationships with them and with Noah all seemed to go in repetitive circles at times.  Noah Shaw got a bit more of a personality in this book, and that was a relief, because the first book seemed to focus largely on how swoon-worthy he is.

The pacing and overall plot in this story were much more nicely done.  Hodkin still threw the reader a lot of surprises and curveballs, but they were more believable this time around.  She presented new questions and left some unanswered, but clarified enough that her world improved.

Unfortunately, The Evolution of Mara Dyer went kind of downhill in the last 100 pages.  Once I reached this point, I was reminded of what I disliked about The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer: the poor pacing and the sheer batshit craziness of it all.  However, this portion of the novel did create a nice set-up for book three.  

I haven't gotten a lot of satisfaction from reading these books, although I suspect I'll complete the series so I can learn what happens.  It is, however, nice to see Hodkin gradually improve as a writer.  Even though these aren't the books for me, I'll be curious to see what she writes in other genres.

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