Saturday, October 08, 2011

Review: The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin

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The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer
Michelle Hodkin
Published September 27th
by Simon & Schuster

Mara Dyer doesn’t think life can get any stranger than waking up in a hospital with no memory of how she got there.

It can.

She believes there must be more to the accident she can’t remember that killed her friends and left her mysteriously unharmed.

There is.

She doesn’t believe that after everything she’s been through, she can fall in love.

She’s wrong.

I think this was probably my most anticipated book in the past months, and I also think that was it’s downfall. You really look forward to a book. Everyone is saying how incredibly awesome it is. Nothing could ever be as good as this book – except maybe Daughter of Smoke and Bone – so how can it possibly live up to my already extreme expectations? Well… not like this.

Mara Dyer – Oh Mara Dyer, you had such an awesome beginning. A mysterious and creepy letter to set the mood. A strange event no one could explain or remember. Mirroring hallways. Disturbing hallucinations. Then Edward from Twilight pops up. Well hello there – I know Mara and Bella sound similar, but sorry, wrong book buddy!

Other than being a 17 year old who speaks several languages, gets straight As without ever paying attention or having to study, has loads of money, an incredibly big house, and no girl who’s ever been able to get under his skin until the new girl arrives – the new girl who falls unconditionally and irrevocably in love with him – he’s very original, right? If this wasn’t enough to convince you, he composes music. That’s right! We’ve got an impostor!

*End rant*

I have a soft spot for thrillers and creepy stories. Always have. My best birthday was when my mom brought me to see Carrie 2 when I was 14 (which was horrible btw, but still, it was Carrie!). So I still quite enjoyed that part of the story. The part where Mara pictures someone dead, and the next day they’re found exactly like she pictured. The part where Mara sits down to drink a glass of water, and what seems to be 5 minutes later, 4 hours has passed. The creepy parts were very well done. I was thus still entertained for the most part. The last 100 pages or so is what pushed me off the cliff. I wasn’t fond of the way it ended, at all. I thought it could have been much more… again… original. I felt like Hodkins took the easy way out. I had so many cool theories and guesses on what was happening with Mara, and they were all worthless. There wasn’t really anything to guess, it was just very plain.

*I guess I wasn’t done*

Now, has anyone ever wondered why we needed to have a homosexual jew, crocodiles, and an abused dog in this story? Or any story? Let’s also not forget the case her father was working on, which was put there as a bonus “twist” to the story, but seemed incredibly out of place and unnecessary. It felt like I was reading several plots/novels all mushed in together to give us this jumbled mess.

I was going to give this one three stars because of the eerie factor and great beginning – it was actually getting 4 before the last hundred pages. But after having written this, I can’t. The bad clearly trumps the good in this book.

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Canadian blogger, wife, mother, coffee lover, and sarcastic at heart! She has had a love for all things bookish since before Amazon and eReaders existed *le gasp*. You can also find her organizing tours and other fun things at Xpresso Book Tours.

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25 Responses to “Review: The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin”

  1. Leanna (Daisy Chain Book Reviews)

    This is one of my most anticipated reads too (it’s not released here until March 2012) but I have to say I’ve been reading quite mixed reviews. I will probably love the creepy parts since I love scary stories, and I’m hoping I’ll like the rest too…

    Thanks for the honest and informative review! πŸ™‚

  2. Ashley @ Book Labyrinth

    I’m glad I’m not the only one who’s not completely in love with this book. I totally agree with you for the most part. The first half of the book was SO awesome, I just wish it could have kept up.

  3. slayra

    Wow. I’d already read a few bad reviews and adding yours makes me both wary and interested. It’s a pity when the author has great ideas but then spoils everything in the end and/or has terribly cliche’d characters.

    It seems that nowadays you simply can’t have a book without the sappy, overdone insta-love and the ‘bad boy’ character. There are so many books that are ruined by the romantic subplot!

    Well, guess I’ll have to resist Mara Dyer’s gorgeous cover art. *sniffs*

  4. Book Crook Liza

    I just received this one in the post yesterday finally and haven’t started it yet – I wonder what I’ll think. After all the excitement and hype I’m going to hate to be disappointed. -.- Hopefully I like it. We’ll see!

    Thank you for the honest review!

    Liza @ Book Crook Liza

  5. kaye (paper reader)

    I loved this one, and the ending was more of an interesting and page-changing shock to me rather than anything else. A lot of people, though, have had an issue with the ending. I saw it as a big puzzle with more pieces being dropped in. πŸ™‚

  6. Amber

    This is one of my favorites of the year. I understand your frustrations–though I don’t agree about the Edward thing–but I didn’t have a problem with them. There is clearly going to be a second novel and I’m pretty sure the last 100 pages will be explained more during that time. I’m honestly still not convinced Mara isn’t living in that insane asylum from the beginning (or in a coma) and this is all in her mind…

    It’s a shame you didn’t love this one but we all have our opinions. Thanks for the honesty!

  7. Kathy Ann Coleman

    Hmm… I was kinda lukewarm about reading this to begin with, but I think this has just solidified it as a pass for me. Too many books, too little time. You know how it is. πŸ™‚ Thanks for the honest and well thought out review.

  8. Andrea

    Wow! This is the first non-glowy review I’ve seen for this. I’m scared of overly-hyped books. Love this review. Very funny, & honest. Great job!

  9. Kate

    You got further with this one then I did. I must admit I actual quit it after about 100 pages and nothing happening. From what I read, Hodkins is an gifted writer. 100 pages didn’t feel like 100 pages, but still nothing was happening. Glad to hear that I wasn’t missing much.

  10. Anna

    Okay so I’m really sad that you didn’t enjoy Mara Dyer, but I’m really really excited to read it anyways. I just have to. I need this book to live up to the hype for me. I’m sad you didn’t like it though πŸ™

  11. Giselle

    Thanks for the comments and compliments! If you haven’t read it yet don’t let this discourage you. Plenty of people have loved it. I just didn’t find it very original except the creepy parts that quickly took a back door to the romance.

  12. The Literary Darling

    I am in the middle of reading this one. So far I completely agree with you! I loved the beginning, but now I’m kinda like wtf? I’m over the lame “I’m so smart, rich and handsome, but I never have to comb my hair or try really hard to get anything in my life” We can’t all be Edward Cullen! I lmao reading your rants because I am definitely thinking the same thing! I hope it doesn’t completely suck for me because I’m still enjoying it…just wondering why the romance had to take center stage?

  13. Aeicha @ Word Spelunking

    This is a very well written review and quite funny…although I have to disagree with you completely. I won’t bore you with my thoughts though ;). My review can be found HERE for anyone interested.
    I do have to say, and I’m not judging here,you may want to be careful with your whole “the homosexual jew isn’t needed in any story” sentiment. You probably didn’t mean for it to, but that could come across a bit insulting and homophobic. Also he wasn’t homosexual, he was bisexual, there’s a big difference.
    πŸ˜‰ Aeicha

  14. Giselle

    Aeicha: It’s not just the jew by himself. It’s the jew, a crocodile and abused dog ALL in one story. If someone gets touchy feely about that they may not want to read my reviews since they’re often full of sarcasm and I’d offend them eventually anyways.

  15. Aeicha @ Word Spelunking

    Giselle: I don’t think I was very clear, I apologize. It wasn’t your opinion on the fact that all 3 of those things in one story is too much that I was really commenting on. You have every right to that opinion and I’m sure many would agree with you. I was simply referring to the way you worded said opinion. I only meant to point out that referring to Jaime only as the “homosexual Jew” may come across as slightly offensive and prejudice to some, not that I think you meant to be offensive at all.
    Jaime was actually one of the minor characters that intrigued me most. Besides him being bisexual and Jewish, we only really learn little tidbits about his mysterious and rumored unstable personality. I’m curious to hear your thoughts on him and his character as a whole. I didn’t talk about him in my review, but I probably should have :/

  16. Giselle

    Yeah I understand what you mean. Most have seen it already though so I won’t bother changing it now. I didn’t find his character particularly intriguing he was the necessary “friend” who warns the protagonist to stay away from boy #1 haha. I think I just had too much hope for this book to begin with. I wish it would have concentrated more on the paranormal side of the story and not the romance.

  17. Lauren

    Aww, that’s too bad that you didn’t enjoy this book as much as you hoped and wanted to. I’ve been hearing a bunch of mixed things about this one so I’m not really sure how I’ll feel about it. Thanks for the review though! πŸ™‚

  18. Bibliosaurus Text

    Your review echoes some of my suspicions I’ve had from reading other people’s reviews and hearing Hodkin speak at BEA. Still bought the book, though, so hopefully I’ll have a good time reading it if I go in expecting the worst.

    Great review, by the way. You mentioned things that didn’t work for you, and backed those up with solid reasons and evidence. I wish more reviews were this informative!

  19. Jennie

    I agree with you so much. I couldn’t stand this book at all. I think my least favorite part was the romance. I just couldn’t get into it. I really liked Mara’s power, but it wasn’t shown as much as I would have wanted to see it.

  20. Truly Bookish

    LOL, this made me laugh! I will not call Mara a DNF yet but I had to stop reading it for a while. I may get back to it later but I can’t deal with the sterotypical characters right now. I may get back to it later. Maybe. Great review, BTW!
    Truly Bookish

  21. The Lovely Getaway

    haaaaaaa! OMG I love your review πŸ˜€ I just literally laughed at loud at your witty sarcasm… “Then Edward from Twilight pops up…” haaaa! Loved your rant.

    I’ll admit that although I very much enjoyed the story, I wasnt a big fan of the ending. I hated it… I too think the author just decided to take “the easy way out”. I seriously turned the last page and said, “That’s it?” I thought my book was defective and missing chapters. Even went to the local B&N to check other books. I know, I’m lame…. *lowers head in shame*

    I heard the author did a “one time” live chat where she talked spoilers and whatnot, but I wasnt able to tune in due to work πŸ™

    Alas, I’m so sorry this is so long. Forgive me? Either way, GREAT flippin’ review <3

    Diana @ The Lovely Getaway