The Unbecoming Of Mara Dyer is one of those books that you either love or hate it. A bunch of reviewers I trust have given this book 1 star, while other reviewers I trust have given this book 5 stars. Mara Dyer is definitely an odd book and I definitely can see why there such a divide in opinions. I'm definitely the odd man out because I definitely enjoyed reading Mara Dyer but at the same time it annoyed me so much.
Mara Dyer is marketed as a paranormal novel but that's not entirely true. Most of the book reads like a contemporary romance, there are only little sprinkles of paranormal aspects spread out through this 450 page book. The bulk of Mara Dyer's paranormal components are part of the book's conclusion and came way too late in my opinion.
Since Mara Dyer is the new girl at school, she suffers from not knowing anyone. She immediately gets on the bad side of the stereotypical mean, popular girl. There was really nothing special about her and she was so memorable that I forgot her name. I expected there to be some sort of paranormal fight between Mara Dyer and "Mean Girl". I wanted Mara to show "Mean Girl" that isn't okay to pick on other people just because they're different, that being different is okay or something cliche like that. I guess I kind of hoped that "Mean Girl" had some sort of ulterior purpose other than making Mara's school feel kind of generic.
The other supporting characters are kind of weak and felt a bit pointless. I kind of liked Jamie but he started to annoy me towards the middle of this book. I felt like Jamie didn't have much of a purpose, other than to warn Mara about Noah. You know about that friend who doesn't like the paranormal love interest and has to warn her friend that he is bad news. I'm way too familiar with this characters and I have seen it in so many paranormal books including Twilight. The other supporting characters didn't really stand out to me and they weren't anything special.
The best thing about Mara Dyer is definitely Mara and Noah's relationship. Mara and Noah's relationship was slowly and realistically developed. Thank you Michelle Hodkin for not including insta-love or a love triangle! I loved reading the banter between Noah and Mara, it made me laugh a few times. Their relationship slightly veered to the cheesy side but I guess that's a typical thing for a romance subplot.
Noah Shaw, thou are truly awesome! Noah definitely was my favorite character throughout this novel and he made The Unbecoming an entertaining book. He had a great sense of humor and Noah's dialogue is by far the best in the entire book. Noah definitely reminded me of Jace Wayland from The Mortal Instruments and that's definitely a compliment in my book. Even when Shaw was acting like a jerk, Hodkin still managed to make him an appealing character which is a very hard thing to accomplish. One thing that really bothered me about Noah was how much of a wastrel he was when it came to money, he didn't think at all before spending boatloads of cash. Maybe it's because I was raised frugal but Noah's irrational use of money kind of bothered me. Other than that, I loved the way Hodkin developed Noah Shaw and brought him to life.
Mara Dyer was definitely an entertaining book but I definitely feel like it could have been condensed a bit. I would have liked to see more paranormal aspects throughout the novel instead of having them most clumped up in the end. The ending of this book was definitely written well and it had this compelling effect on me. I didn't want to know what was going to happen next, I desperately needed to find out how everything was going to end. The ending was kind of a cliffhanger and it made me want to read book #2 immediately. I'll hold off on reading book #2 for a little bit, I really do hope it's more paranormal than Mara Dyer was. The Unbecoming Of Mara Dyer, in my opinion, was kind of disappointing and I hope The Evolution Of Mara Dyer is a stronger novel.
-Noah Shaw is one of the best bad boy characters I've ever read about.
-The ending is such a cliffhanger and it makes you want to read the next book.
-The dialogue is definitely humorous and I chuckled a few times.
-I liked reading about Noah and Mara's relationship and it was definitely developed well.
The first part of this book and the second part of this book read like almost two separate stories to me. The first part is mainly about Mara dealing with her PTSD, which is pretty understandable and quite interesting. It’s well-written, intriguing, and emotional. The second half, when the paranormal part of this book starts to play in, is fast-paced, adventurous and even though it sets a really great creepy mood at times, is much less emotionally compelling. I think I liked the first half of the book more, even though I knew the paranormal was going to creep out at any moment.
I have to say, the characters in the story get two thumbs up for being interesting. At times, I really felt for Mara(mostly at the beginning of the book, though). As the story went on, Mara became a little more unlikable, but the supporting cast of characters are all really great. The thing that really gets me about this book is that I don’t find any of the characters particularly likable or nice, but I’m still interested by the story. It takes good writing to pull that off, so I give total props there.
Normally, I don’t like the bad-boy romance and get frustrated with the main character, but since I don’t particularly like Mara, I buy the romance of Noah and her together. It’s not exactly a healthy relationship, but it’s more believable than many romances I’ve read lately. My feelings on the romance could be summed up as, “It’s OK. A little overbearing at times, but tolerable.”
The main thing that makes this just a 3 star book for me is the plot, and further, the pacing. The plot itself is great. I mean, it’s a really great and intriguing idea. However, the book’s pacing is so sporadic that it really takes away from the plot often. The middle of this book dragged much longer than it should have. Ultimately, I think the Unbecoming of Mara Dryer would have been a much better book if it had been more tightly edited.
Final Impression: At times, The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer was a really great read, but at others, it lagged quite a bit. Ultimately, I think the story wasn’t sure what it wanted to be, and ended up feeling like two different stories being told, in which I much preferred the first half. 3/5 stars.
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