Title: The Retribution of Mara Dyer
Author: Michelle Hodkin
Series: Mara Dyer #3
Genre: YA Paranormal/Horror
Received for Review from Audible.com
Summary (from Goodreads)
Mara Dyer wants to believe there’s more to the lies she’s been told.
She doesn’t stop to think about where her quest for the truth might lead.
She never had to imagine how far she would go for vengeance.
She will now.
Loyalties are betrayed, guilt and innocence tangle, and fate and chance collide in this shocking conclusion to Mara Dyer’s story.
Retribution has arrived.
Retribution is definitely an apt title for this book. There was lots of… retributing done. (Yeah that’s totally a word.)
From the opening chapters, there’s a new brutality to the story. I was part shocked, part delighted by the dark depths Hodkin took Mara’s character to. It was gory and at times horrific, but felt completely understandable given the character, her unique abilities and the circumstances she was in.
Mara’s pathway to darkness also posed a lot of interesting moral questions – was she justified in what she did? Part of me wanted to say yes, absolutely. But another part of me did think otherwise. That Hodkin managed to keep Mara walking this tightrope so absolutely for most of the novel is a testament to the strength of her characterisation. I never really knew whether to feel sympathetic for Mara, or just hate her. And that’s absolutely a good thing, considering the story and the events that take place in the book.
I also still found myself questioning everything. So much of book one was about Mara being an unreliable narrator, and though she has much more of a clue about what’s going on now, I still didn’t trust anything. Which made the experience of reading all the more nail biting and interesting.
I’ll admit to being a little disappointed by the ending, though. It wasn’t terrible, and I’m not going to go into spoilers, but it felt to me a little like the plot all built to a bad guy exposition monologue that didn’t really explain enough to be satisfying. There wasn’t really the explosive showdown I was expecting in which Mara would have to make a choice about her abilities. She still didn’t seem to have a full grasp of her abilities by the end as I would have expected.
It was almost as if Hodkin wanted to give the fans of Mara and Noah a satisfying ending more than she wanted to wrap up the plot threads. Much more energy and attention was given to their relationship and I just wish Hodkin had let this move more to the background and given the care and detail to the final plot points.
There was a lovely nod back to the first book that made the whole thing seem nicely circular and complete, and I wouldn’t say I felt even as far as annoyed by the ending – it just wasn’t quite up to the spectacular standard of the rest of the series. But endings are particularly difficult and subjective things, and I’m sure there are many people out there who loved it.
I listened to this novel in audiobook format. Narrator Christy Romano was perfect for Mara – I really loved her performance, and thought her voice was just right. There were sections of the book narrated by Noah, though, and Romano did the typical peg-on-the-nose plummy British accent, which did make me giggle a bit (even though I do actually talk like that…) I’m pre-disposed to find Britishisms in America fiction funny, because they are often so exaggerated, and this was definitely the case here, in both writing and voice acting. I’m pretty confident though, that there will be plenty of swoony listeners. I’ve heard our posh British accents have strange effects on people across the pond.
Audible have kindly provided a clip for you to listen to below:
Overall, this was a really enjoyable listening experience, just not quite as spectacular as I hoped it would be. It feels unduly critical, but with the bar set so high in the first two books, I just felt like this wasn’t quite to the same astronomically good standards. Still definitely a 4/5 read this, enjoy this book, though.