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Thumbs Up to THE EVOLUTION of MARA DYER by Michelle Hodkin

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TITLE: The Evolution of Mara Dyer (Book 2 of The Mara Dyer Trilogy)

AUTHOR: Michelle Hodkin

PUBLISHER: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers

LENGTH: 544 pages

SUMMARY: (via amazon.com) The truth about Mara Dyer’s dangerous and mysterious abilities continues to unravel in this gripping sequel to the thrilling The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer.

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.

REVIEW: There was such anticipation with the release of this book and, overall, I enjoyed it. The first book, The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer ended with such a twisty cliffhanger that I thought I might waste away waiting on the continuation of Mara’s story. When I finally got my hands on the book, I was a little perturbed to find that there is definitely a touch of the “second-book lag” as with many second books in trilogies. A friend commented something to the effect that many trilogies follow this pattern:

1st book=introduce characters, conflict, and (if applicable) begin romantic relationship with steamy scenes and requisite swooning

2nd book=force a metaphorical wedge of some kind between love interests making steamy love scenes reek of longing and guilt, belabor the conflict, throw in a twist and/or new character to keep things interesting, leave readers wondering if 3rd book will be worth it

3rd book=remove obstacles for love relationship, include more steamy scenes,  resolve conflict (hopefully not too perfectly)

Evolution seems to follow this 2nd book template. The shock of the ending to the first book is mitigated by the continuing no-one-believes-me thread in the second book. This seems to become the focus of the entire book but the flashbacks provide much-needed relief from the Mara-pity-party.At times, one wants to shake Mara until her teeth chatter to snap her out of her self-loathing.

However, the introduction of a more established link between Noah and Mara is interesting and adds a new layer to the mystery behind Mara’s and Noah’s abilities. Noah is still blisteringly sultry and frustrating but readers do get a glimpse of his inner machinations that is not seen in Unbecoming. One thing is certain, the mystery will only be solved with Noah and Mara working together. With more sinister forces working against them than they first suspected, as is revealed at the end of Evolution, it will take more than Noah’s money and Mara’s visions to save them both.


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