Mara Dyer knows she isn’t crazy. She knows that she can kill with her mind, and that Noah can heal with his. Mara also knows that somehow, Jude is not a hallucination. He is alive. Unfortunately, convincing her family and doctors that she’s not unstable and doesn’t need to be hospitalised isn’t easy. The only person who actually believes her is Noah. But being with Noah is dangerous and Mara is in constant fear that she might hurt him. She needs to learn how to control her power, and fast! Together, Mara and Noah must try and figure out exactly how Jude survived when the asylum collapsed, and how he knows so much about her strange ability…before anyone else ends up dead!
The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer left off with Mara thinking she saw Jude, her ex boy-friend who supposedly died, and turning herself in to the police. The Evolution of Mara Dyer takes place right after that with Mara being committed into a mental hospital. Nobody believes that Jude is alive, which can only mean one thing…Mara has to be insane.
After convincing her family that she does not belong in a mental hospital, she agrees to drop out of school and join a day program for troubled teens. There she finds old friends, and her love, Noah. Noah is the only person who believes that Mara is telling the truth about Jude, and together they work to unravel the mystery and prove that Mara is not insane.
Let’s backtrack to the first book in the series, The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer. I remember thinking that the book was good, but I was annoyed at how little was actually revealed during the book. I really didn’t understand what was going on with Mara. Was she insane or could she really do the things that she claimed to be able to do? There was no clarification in the first book, and it really put me off. I was really excited to read The Evolution of Mara Dyer, because I wanted those secrets to be revealed….or at least some of them. I wanted some sort of clarification to make the books worth it.
Unfortunately, The Evolution of Mara Dyer was even more confusing than the first book. I got about halfway through the book and then I stopped reading it because absolutely nothing was revealed. I am not going to invest almost 1,000 pages into a series when nothing is going to be explained or when no hints are going to be dropped my way. The whole purpose of reading a book like this is to get clues to figure out what the heck is going on with Mara Dyer.
I’m a person who craves romance and hot boys in my young adult books. Some authors do it well and some authors don’t. I can’t stand Noah. I liked him a little bit better in the first book, but I hated him in the second book. I found him to be kind of creepy and very controlling of Mara. Likewise, I didn’t like Mara’s character either. Granted, I wasn’t in love with Mara in the first book, but she annoyed the hell out of me in this book. Reading about someone who is deemed insane is a very uncomfortable thing to do because that person is going to be very awkward and timid around other people. Also, everyone is going to walk on eggshells around that person. So that was basically what was going on the first 300 pages of the book. I couldn’t stick with it. I tried so hard to finish the book, but it was just a waste of my time.
Because I wanted to know what happened at the end of the book, I asked for spoilers. Don’t worry…I’m not about to tell you guys anything! The ending is very shocking, and I’m really glad that I did not stick with the book. Also, it didn’t sound like anything was really revealed…and the ending is a MAJOR cliffhanger! Now, I don’t know about the rest of you, but I HATE cliffhangers. It’s part of the reason that I sometimes wait for an entire series to be out before I will read it. Michelle Hodkin is a fabulous author, but I can’t read an entire series that doesn’t let me in on what’s going on. I’m sure the third book will explain everything. But I’m also sure that a reader will have to invest about 1500 pages with no idea of what’s going on, only to be enlightened on the very last chapter. That’s not my kind of book.
There are a lot of fans of this series, so I would encourage everyone to look at other reviews before deciding that this review is reason enough not to read the book. Not to mention that I am extremely picky. Like I said before, Michelle Hodkins is an amazing writer. I only wish I could write as well as her. Unfortunately the series just was not for me.
Publication Date: October 23rd, 2012
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Teaser Quote: “Don’t tempt me. Now, what are you wearing?”
“A hoodie and drawstring pants too, I guess.”“Anything underneath?”
“I don’t typically walk around without underwear.”
“Only on special occasions.”
“Christ. I meant under your hoodie”
“You will love him to ruins.”
“I hate that I never managed to persuade you to watch Buffy. It’s a flaw in you, Mara.”
In New York Times bestselling author Rachel Caine’s “thrilling”* Revivalist series, Bryn Davis finds out that making a living can be rough if you’re already dead…
After dying and being revived with the experimental drug Returne, Bryn Davis is theoretically free to live her unlife—with regular doses to keep her going. But Bryn knows that the government has every intention of keeping a tight lid on Pharmadene’s life-altering discovery, no matter the cost. Thankfully, some things have changed for the better; her job at the rechristened Davis Funeral Home is keeping her busy and her fragile romance with Patrick McCallister is blossoming—thanks in part to their combined efforts in forming a support group for Returne addicts. But when some of the group members suddenly disappear, Bryn wonders if the government is methodically removing a threat to their security, or if some unknown enemy has decided to run the zombies into the ground…
I was a big fan of the first book in this series, Working Stiff, so I was really excited to read this book. Unfortunately, I don’t have much good to say about it. It was really boring throughout the entire thing, I didn’t feel any connection to the characters, and I was quite frankly grossed out.
The main character, Bryn, grated on my nerves from the very first page. I didn’t overly love her in Working Stiff, but I never exactly disliked or even hated her. I couldn’t stand her in this book! She was annoying and whiney, and I just could have done without her. I also didn’t fall in love with the romance between Bryn and Patrick, which is really interesting since I loved them in the first book. I don’t know if it’s because I couldn’t stand her or just because of the writing style, but I was really let down.
If you are really grossed by gore and blood and all that nasty stuff, then this is not the book for you. Don’t get me wrong, I like The Walking Dead and a little bit of action and nastiness in my books, but this was just disgusting. I’m sorry, but I don’t want to read about someone’s eyes getting scooped out (yes, that really does happen.) It was nasty on a whole different level, and I was not okay with it. I feel the need to wash my eyes out right about now.
The ending of this book was so awful and so disgusting that I skimmed that last chapter. I don’t even know how the ending went down because I was SO grossed out! Nasty! I don’t want to ruin the ending for all of you guys and girls who are going to read the book, but it gets GROSS! I’m talking dead people, zombie chompers, eyeball scoopers, decaying bodies, chewing on arms GROSS. I will not be continuing this series because I don’t even want to see where else Rachel Caine can take this crazy storyline. Yuck!
This stunning debut captures the grotesque madness of a mystical under-land, as well as a girl’s pangs of first love and independence. Alyssa Gardner hears the whispers of bugs and flowers—precisely the affliction that landed her mother in a mental hospital years before. This family curse stretches back to her ancestor Alice Liddell, the real-life inspiration for Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Alyssa might be crazy, but she manages to keep it together. For now.
When her mother’s mental health takes a turn for the worse, Alyssa learns that what she thought was fiction is based in terrifying reality. The real Wonderland is a place far darker and more twisted than Lewis Carroll ever let on. There, Alyssa must pass a series of tests, including draining an ocean of Alice’s tears, waking the slumbering tea party, and subduing a vicious bandersnatch, to fix Alice’s mistakes and save her family. She must also decide whom to trust: Jeb, her gorgeous best friend and secret crush, or the sexy but suspicious Morpheus, her guide through Wonderland, who may have dark motives of his own.
Praise for Splintered:
“Attention to costume and setting render this a visually rich read…”
“It’s a deft, complex metamorphosis of this children’s fantasy made more enticing by competing romantic interests, a psychedelic setting, and more mad violence than its original.”
Going into Splintered I felt mixed emotions. First, I was excited. The cover was beautiful and the book sounded like a fun, joyful adventure. On the other hand, I have never been a big fan of Alice and Wonderland. I think it’s a cheesy tale. Alice and Wonderland is really just some guys adventures of taking pills and being stoned, and…man…it’s just a weird tale. So, I was a little bit nervous to read the book. I actually ended up feeling both emotions….as well as many others….let’s see if I can describe them all in one review.
I really liked Splintered before they entered Wonderland. I thought that the relationships and characters were strong and well thought out. I also really enjoyed the storyline involving Alyssa’s mother. There is something really poetic about a mother turning herself into a nutcase to protect her family, and I really enjoyed watching that relationship. Even without Wonderland being added to the mix, I was always on the tip of my toes, bouncing up and down to find out what would happen next.
I have got to give it up to A.G. Howard for creativity and flat out brilliance! I have read a lot of books in my lifetime, and never have I ran across an author who dedicated so much time to detail. Not only that, but she didn’t screw it up. Howard’s descriptions really made me feel as if I was in the story. Scratch that. I felt like I was watching a movie happen right in front of me. I’ve never experienced that before, and I really appreciated it.
Now let’s get down to the characters. Let’s start with Alyssa. She wasn’t my favorite main character of all time, but she was definitely unique. I loved how she was her own person. She dressed the way she wanted to, she could hear the bugs and plants speak to her, she was just……not your average girl. It was a little creepy to read about how she killed all sorts of bugs. I didn’t find any humor or creativity in that. Instead, I was just plain grossed out. I’m all for animals, and while bugs really aren’t animals…….I wasn’t ok with reading about them getting tortured. It made sense with the storyline….but Alyssa lost some major points for being a bug killer and, well…weird.
Let’s move on to Jeb, Alyssa’s neighbor and secret crush. Jeb also accompanies Alyssa to Wonderland. Yeahhhh…I didn’t like Jeb at all. Infact, I very much disliked him. I found him very controlling, and I really didn’t appreciate how he treated Alyssa like a fragile piece of glass that couldn’t protect herself. Worst of all? Alyssa put it up with it! I judge relationships very intensely in books and in real life. I don’t put up with girls and women who put men before themselves or act like lost little puppets who can’t fend for themselves. That’s how that relationship went, and I did not like it. It may be the feminist in me, but I think that this is something that needs to leave both books and movies. Men are not dominant to women. Women are not weak girls who need to rely on men. For once I want to see a strong, powerful female that demands respect and equality from the men around her.
Morpheus was definitely my favorite character, but I still didn’t fall head over heels in love with him. Honestly, I wasn’t able to feel a connection between him and Alyssa, which made it really awkward since he was supposed to be one of the guys in the love triangle. His character was really cool, and I definitely couldn’t get enough of him, but….the chemistry was lacking.
Before reading this book I had heard mixed reviews due to the love triangle. Some people said that there was too much romance. I wouldn’t agree with that. Actually, I felt that there wasn’t enough romance due to the lack of chemistry between the characters. I wish that I would have seen more from all three of the main characters. Also, I felt that the book was a little long for what it was. It could have been shortened a bit and maybe that would have helped with keeping my attention a bit more.
Overall, I did enjoy this book. Did I love it? No, but I liked it. As I said before, Alice and Wonderland is not something that I usually go out of my way to read about or watch. There was a little bit too much detail for my taste, but I did acknowledge that that detail was amazingly executed. I also didn’t connect with the characters as much as I wanted. Fantasy lovers and younger teenagers should definitely give this book a try.
Publication Date: January 1st, 2013
Publisher: Amulet Books
Teaser Quote: “Tearing down the rest of the world won’t make you happy. Look inside yourself. Because finding who you were meant to be? What you were put into this world to do? That’s what fills the emptiness. It’s the only things that can.”