The Retribution of Mara Dyer, by Michelle Hodkin
Genres: Young Adult, Paranormal, Romance
The villain is the hero of her own story.
I finally have an excuse to use this image:
Warning: Spoilers. Spoilers everywhere.
The road that I have traveled while reading the Mara Dyer trilogy has not been an easy one. Unbecoming was sexist as hell, with slut-shaming and an egotistical douche of a love interest to match, but it was so creepy and mysterious, and overall, addicting. Instead of a book that I loved to hate, it was a book that I hated to love. Evolution started out strong but eventually grew tiring, with too many questions and not enough answers to satisfy. Then came the ending, which was terrible and made me really hesitant to finish the series.
Now that I have, I’m wondering what I ever saw in it in the first place.
For starters, it’s dull as fuck. The story sequence goes like this:
- Mara escapes Horizons with Jamie and Stella.
- Mara, Jamie and Stella go on a darling little road trip that takes up about half of the book.
- Mara starts screaming that they need to find Noah.
- Mara finds Noah, who starts fighting with his dad while Jude drools in the corner.
- Mara and Noah have sex in the worst sex scene I have ever read.
- The end.
So, in the book’s defense, the reason why I may not be able to recollect all of the details is because I was too bored to care.
Retribution is a gigantic mess. I mean that. Michelle Hodkin opened up too many doors, and now it feels like a race to close all of them before the book ends. There are theories being thrown around everywhere to try and connect things, to tie loose ends, and it is a headache to read. In the end, it’s all just garbled, scientific bullshit that sounds ridiculous and makes absolutely no sense. The root of Mara and Noah’s powers – the biggest question in the series, the one that I’d been dying to know – is absolutely pathetic. Supposedly there is a gene that all of these kids have that give them supernatural powers. That’s it. That’s the giant secret. This gene is also what leads to self-harm, depression, anorexia, bipolar disorder, etc. and etc., and I think that’s the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard. It’s never really explained. Hodkin tries, just a tiny bit, but because everything is coming so fast, it’s jumbled and confusing.
There are also a lot of holes in the plot of this book in particular. There is one scene that really pisses me off. It’s near the beginning, when Mara, Jamie, and Stella are on the run, and they hitch a ride with this psychopathic cowboy. They stop to use the bathroom and the guy attacks Stella, who finally decides to say, “He’s done this before. He’s going to kill us.” Do you know why this pisses me off? It’s because Stella can read minds. She can read minds, and yet she didn’t say anything when they were at the bar, didn’t say anything before they got into the truck, not even something moderately helpful like, “Run.” That means that the entire situation could’ve been avoided, but it wasn’t, and rape was used as a plot device in order to make Mara look like a tragic hero when she saved Stella and murdered the attacker.
I could go on – flimsy characters, bland writing, the absolute worst explanation for the connection between Mara’s grandmother and Noah’s mother, one that still makes absolutely no sense to me – but I won’t, because I’m boring myself to death.
Retribution doesn’t feel like a satisfying conclusion at all – although with a spin-off series in the works, it begs the question of whether it was purposeful, meant to drag the story out even further. I read this book for the sole purpose of the spin-off, but after this, I think I’ll pass.
The Mara Dyer trilogy is an absolute waste of time.