Monday, October 31, 2011

Review: The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer

Title: The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer

Author: Michelle Hodkin

Rating: 2.5/5 stars 

Part of a series?: First in series
Goodreads Summary: 
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.
2.5 stars

There's this new T.V. show airing that's getting critical acclaim right now. It's called Homeland (I believe it's airing on Showtime). It's part suspense, part thriller, part awesome (I saw the pilot--really good, although I haven't had time to continue with the series). The gist of the show is that an CIA agent gets a tip from one of her sources that an American POW in Iraq has been "turned" into an enemy against the U.S. by Al-Qaeda. At first she doesn't believe her source because she had no idea there were any living POW in Iraq. But a few months later, a recon mission turns up an army sniper who has survived imprisonment by Al-Qaeda for a year(s). The man is welcomed back into America as a hero and icon for the War of Terror. Now you might wonder why I'm starting this review off by telling you about this show. Well first off, the T.V. is great because you don't know if the agent is right or wrong about her instincts when, over the course of each episode, she pops MANY anti-psychotic pills that she hides in her vitamins. So is the agent crazy or is the sniper really plotting an attack on American soil?

The thing about Homeland is that it's perfect for T.V. Suspense + Live Action = Great Show. And I felt like The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer could've been like Homeland. For most of the book, you have to wonder if Mara is actually off her rocker or actually seeing things. But unfortunately, that's about as far as my praise can go...

The book jumps between bipolar schizophrenia and true-blue-paranormal-blah. As much as I tried to enjoy the confusion-causing "mystery," I couldn't decide if this book was supposed to be a paranormal, bump-in-the-night story or simply a tragic tale of a girl gone crazy over killing her friends. What made this conundrum even worse was the half-hearted explanation we get at the very end. Now, I know what "mara" means because of Rachel Vincent's Soul Screamer series, and I had a feeling that her name would have some sort of connection to what was happening to her. But only because I knew what a mara was did I understand why Mara happens to kill things when she gets emotional. The thing about a paranormal book is that you know for sure that the person with the powers probably isn't 100% human. I suppose the fact that Mara didn't even broach the topic of her humanity could be a sign that Hodkin was trying to keep things as realistic as possible...but nahhhh...I'm reluctant to give Hodkin the benefit of the doubt.

As for Mara's hottie boyfriend, this is where the story goes from "Um. Okay. Great. I'm lost." to "Zzzzz...wait. He has magic?". Noah is so cookie-cutter, I want to gag. He's super rich, flirty, hot, multi-lingual, intelligent, alpha-male-ish, etc. The cherry on top is that he's had sex with probably every girl in school, used them for a week or two, and then threw them away like "used condoms." But Mara has to be the one girl he decides he's really in love with. That itself was a sketchy, facepalm move on Hodkin's part. Why can't authors get some originality??? But then...there was this one scene were I literally LOL-ed.

Remember that scene in Harry Potter 7.1 where Ron comes back to Harry and Hermione after leaving them. He tells them that he found their campsite because the Deluminator's glowing light orb called out to him in Hermione's voice then entered into his chest, telling him where to go. Hilarious! And so in this scene, Noah confesses that HE TOO HAS POWERS! He has visions of people dying and can heal the wounded. And he had a vision where he heard Mara's voice before he ever knew she existed. And when Mara came to school, he heard her and had to chase her down because Mara just called to him in his soul! Okay well the last part about the soul was a half-lie, but you get how cheesy the whole thing was.

I was feeling very...allusiony today. So anyway, the book was just bizarre. Mara's powers get little to no explanation aside from that she kills people when she PMSes, and Noah apparently isn't too Gary Stu either because he can heal people...yay. I'm disappointed because the cover was so gorgeous...


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