In many ways, The Evolution of Mara Dyer is a better book than its predecessor. It’s certainly a more mature work, free of the usual genre tropes. WhiIn many ways, The Evolution of Mara Dyer is a better book than its predecessor. It’s certainly a more mature work, free of the usual genre tropes. While The Unbecoming was emotionally challenging, The Evolution takes things a step further as our uncertainty and fear for Mara reach a whole new level.
After a horrible, terrifying event, Mara wakes up in a psychiatric hospital. Her family doesn’t believe her, and rightfully so. Mara has a history of PTSD and hallucinations that occasionally caused her to hurt herself horribly. However, while their lack of faith is certainly understandable, we can’t help but wish that someone, especially Mara’s mother, would finally listen to her. Her experience in the hospital leaves her (and us) with a horrible taste of betrayal in our mouths. Reason goes out the window when everyone but Noah turns their back on poor Mara.
Once again Hodkin shows her excellent sense of pacing and her ability to build tension to almost unbearable levels. Mara’s story is infinitely creepy, with danger lurking from every corner. No one but Noah can be trusted, and even Mara’s brothers have to be kept in the dark. Mara is the most unreliable of narrators, and fully aware of it. She often doubts the events around her, even as they’re taking place. The uncertainty doesn’t help matters, especially when she’s in danger and frozen because she doesn’t know whether the peril is real or hallucinated. Her constant questioning was painful and realistic, although occasionally frustrating.
The only thing I didn’t enjoy were the flashbacks of Mara’s (well, someone’s) life in India. They were so randomly thrown into the story and they were terribly disruptive. I didn’t really see the point, but hopefully their significance will become clear in the third book. As it is, I found it hard to concentrate during those chapters.
I didn’t know this before, but Christy Romano was chosen by Michelle Hodkin herself to narrate these books. Apparently her voice reminded Hodkin so much of Mara that she invited Christy to borrow her voice first for the trailer, and then for the audiobooks as well. The audiobook is truly of the highest quality. It’s quite obvious that a lot of time and effort was put into it. After the story, the audio version includes an interview between Hodkin and Romano, which gives us a chance to learn more about both the writing and the audio recording process.
We are once again left with a horrible cliffhanger, but there’s finally hope for Mara as well. Hurt beyond comprehension and separated from everything she holds dear, Mara is finally finding the strength to stand up to her enemies. There’s a true fighter somewhere in there, and I believe that she’s finally waking up. We’ll just have to wait and see.
I’ll be starting the final book as soon as possible. I don’t see how things could possibly end well for Mara and Noah, but I have faith in Hodkin, and I certainly have plenty of faith in Mara.