Book Review: The Evolution of Mara Dyer (Mara Dyer #2) by Michelle Hodkins

After the addictive story in book one, this installment of the Mara Dyer trilogy left me wishing for more. It was undeniably creepy…but little else.

3/5 stars

cover the evolution of mara dyer

My spoiler-free review of the first Mara Dyer book can be found here

Amazon Description

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?

My Review

Once again, the main thing I can say about the Mara Dyer books is that they are dark and creepy. Jude stalking Mara was genuinely scary. It was written well, giving the reader the feeling of being crept up on and spied on. This book will make the skin between your shoulder blades tingle. I read part of this book at home alone and it scared the crap out of me, not gonna lie.

The catch 22 Mara faced–she can’t get anyone to believe about Jude because talking about it only makes her look crazier–was frustrating and gripping. I empathized with the impossible situation Mara was in, and I forgave her for actions that I would usually see as stupidly reckless from a different character. Mara is a survivor, and I respected her character for her emphatic determination to fight and stay out of mental hospitals. It broke my heart when the people around her started to doubt her. The story was written in such an “in your face” way that I couldn’t help but feel for Mara; we were trapped in the story together.

Unfortunately, the main selling point of book one–Noah–became annoying in book two. Noah was obviously keeping secrets, putting unnecessary stress on Mara by making her worry about their relationship. While he was my favorite character in the first book, I just wanted him to go away in this book. Mara could handle herself, and Noah was just serving to present drama that the story didn’t need.

Without the veil of Noah’s swoon-worthiness, the romance between the two of them was reduced to stereotypical Instalove. While I expected their relationship to develop and deepen in the second book, it ended up stagnating, stuck on reiterating the fact that Noah loved Mara more than anything and that he would do anything to keep her safe. I still didn’t understand why Noah was willing to throw his life away for Mara. When their relationship refused to have any depth, I started to give up on the romantic subplot. It was a good thing that the book was so scary, because otherwise, it would have absolutely nothing going for it.

The Evolution of Mara Dyer has one major plot problem: nothing happens. There was no clear plot arc or sense of cause-and-effect. Looking back on the plot, there were no stand-out scenes or sense of rising action. The book lacked forward momentum and honestly could have been half as long. There continues to be nothing about the Mara Dyer trilogy that sets it apart from the rest of the paranormal pack–and there was a reason I stopped reading the paranormal genre.

The Evolution of Mara Dyer can boast of an addictive plot and a haunting darkness. It kept me reading, and I want to know what happens next. The ending of book two was just surprising enough that I need answers, and I want Mara’s character to get a happy ending. Despite my complaints, I want to find out what happens in the last book.

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