Book Review: The Retribution of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin

15768409The Retribution of Mara Dyer (Mara Dyer #3) by Michelle Hodkin
YA Romance, Supernatural/Paranormal, Suspense, Mystery
Paperback, 472 pages

**Review may contain spoilers for The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer (my review here) & The Evolution of Mara Dyer (my review here)

Mara, Jamie, and Stella – after surviving the events of book 2 – go on a journey to find Noah (supposedly dead), Abel Lukumi (supposedly responsible for everything wrong with them), and the truth (supposedly complicated and out of this world). But Mara is not the same person she was since her Unbecoming and nobody can be sure if she’s changed for better or for worse. But there is one thing she knows for sure: Noah is alive and she will do whatever it takes to get to him and get her revenge on those who hurt him, her, and others like them.

It’s very challenging for me to put into words just how I feel about this book because I feel so many different things – shocked, frustrated, intrigued, and utterly confused. There are so many aspects that I really enjoyed about this installment and a few that have sort of left me just a little dissatisfied and puzzled.

Hodkin has wonderfully maintained humor throughout her entire trilogy, despite the darkness that both premised and  inevitably permeated the narrative. Her characters are as snarky as ever and their banter popcorn worthy. Jamie, undoubtedly, is the hero in this case as he knows exactly the right and wrong things to say to alleviate the heaviness of every situation.

Hodkin’s books are pretty dialogue heavy, which makes the reading go by fast. Personally, I prefer these kinds of books because I’m more interested in the social interactions between characters than fancy descriptive passages.

I found that Mara’s evolution is most evident in this installment than the last one. She expresses quite antihero – almost villainous – qualities that might scare readers and have definitely scared those around her. There were many times when I didn’t like Mara, even though I understood her anger and rage in particular instances. We all knew Mara had a dark side and here, she really toes that line where she could completely give in and become the exact person she hates.

In trilogies that contain stories centered on romance, the second book is usually when the leading couple spends the most time a part – whether they were separated or have “broken up.” It was sort of a strange sensation that this was the case for the third book. I both admired and was annoyed by Mara’s blind faith in her certainty about Noah’s mortality. I really wanted her to reunite with Noah, but I was glad for their time a part because I believed it important for Mara to be able to find herself before fitting herself back with Noah, which is why the whole “second-book-apart” idea is totally logical to me.

Numerous characters’ pasts are revealed and analyzed here along with many of those truths Mara and her friends have been seeking. But it is messy and complex – I still haven’t quite wrapped my head around it all, even after re-reading portions again and again. Regardless, it’s all unique and engaging. I guess I should consider myself lucky there will be more books that might further my understanding of why Mara and her friends are the way they are.

I was fascinated by Hodkin’s integration of “archetypes” in her story which really does make you think about what it means to be born with a purpose and to live or die for someone else. Mara and Noah both struggle to come to terms with not only what they are, but why they are the way they are.


Verdict: A really thrilling and dark conclusion to the Mara Dyer trilogy that continued to grip me, even when I was frustrated and confused. There are enough loose ends to warrant further installments, though I’m still trying to decide if I really want more books!…But I couldn’t just not buy The Becoming of Noah Shaw, which is the first installment in The Shaw Confessions. Also, it is probably my favorite cover of all of Hodkin’s novels.


It’s absolutely stunning!!

Since I’ve basically plowed through the Mara Dyer books, I’ll take a break before moving onto the latest book.




2 thoughts on “Book Review: The Retribution of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin

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