It's not often that I develop a book obsession, I remember being obsessed with Blatty's The Exorcist to the point of researching all I could about satIt's not often that I develop a book obsession, I remember being obsessed with Blatty's The Exorcist to the point of researching all I could about satanism and the priesthood, and I remember getting obsessed with The Fables series until I started hallucinating that Bigby was real. I loved this book, and I am ashamed to cliche that I devoured it. The pacing is perfect and Jackson Brodie is a very easy protagonist to fall in love with. He's far from perfect and has his flaws, but there's something very human not just about him, but about all of the characters. The best part of the book for me was the setting, Cambridge really came alive in Atkinson's hands. I look forward to reading more of Atkinson's books, especially the Jackson Brodie ones....more
This book made me really angry about teen books. I like reading books aimed at the YA audience and have read some wonderful books in recent years likeThis book made me really angry about teen books. I like reading books aimed at the YA audience and have read some wonderful books in recent years like The Knife of Never Letting Go, but after finishing The Unbecoming of Mara Dyre I'm starting to lose faith in teen fiction.
There were many issues that irked me about Mara Dyre. I found the book genreless, which might not be a bad thing for a book that actually works at incorporating different genres, but I felt that the author was trying to actively try and engage with multiple genres whilst not encompassing any genre-there were aspects of thriller, romance, psychological drama and paranormal and they didn't work well in the hands of this author.
I also found the characters incredibly irritating, not least Mara herself. Although I get that her psychological position in the novel is perhaps meant to be anxious and uncertain and I understand that she is suffering from PTSD, none of these things could excuse the author's portrayal of her as so self absorbed and altogether selfish. She doesn't seen to care about her family much (apart from maybe the end) and there is promising flurries into exploring her relationship with her brother Daniel (Although some of the things that he covers for her or Noah for are unthinkable, what normal brother after hearing about Noah's rep would let their baby sister within 2 feet of such a guy?) but ultimately Mara's selfishness leads to such relationships being flat and unconvincing.
Also, this book was too long. There was a hefty part of the middle that I would have cut and the real action doesn't start until the last quarter of the book. The writing was incredibly clunky and implausible situations just weren't explored-suddenly something happens near the 2nd third of the book that is only really explained or explored further right towards the end. The main story should have been the case that Mara's father was working on rather than central focus on Mara. Also, why did the author use the 1st person? There is no real grasp of the character's voice, or if there is, then the author has created a very unlikeable and pretentious character that readers may struggle to identify with.
I have heard that this book is to be part of a trilogy or series, but honestly, I don't know how this book ever got passed for publishing. I think publishers should be wary of the kinds of books they publish as it seems to me that they have this idea that teens or Young Adult audiences are not intelligent, or that they must read from the 1st person perspective to like a book. I think, and this is true for many YA books out there and on my shelf waiting to be read, that there is a trend in writing from the 1st person and I don't honestly know why. If Mara Dyre had taken on the 3rd person narrator, maybe there would have been more exploration of her character, we could have gotten a better perspective of Mara and other characters alike, and the writing could have flowed much better. It took me a long time to finish this book. I picked it up, put it down and in the end picked up other books (Case Histories by Kate Atkinson-excellent read and Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake-flawed but infinitely better than Mara Dyre) because I really disliked the thought of reading feeling like a chore. For me, Reading Mara Dyre was disappointing and anger inducing. I would not recommend it. ...more
An incredibly frustrating read, and although I didn't hate it, I wanted to punch each and every character in the face at least once throughout the novAn incredibly frustrating read, and although I didn't hate it, I wanted to punch each and every character in the face at least once throughout the novel-Nora and Patch I wanted to punch several times.
I know it isn't because of the paranormal premise of this book. I have read paranormal books before and actually enjoyed them. This was my first taste of fallen angels (if you don't count Skellig), and I felt the Fitzpatrick wasted a great opportunity for discussion points and exploration of themes such as religion, spirituality and angel lore.
Something other people have also picked up on is that Nora starts out as a very studious person who has high hopes of working towards a scholarship to a top university. I hated that all this was forgotten as soon as Patch entered the scene (something that sets Perfect Chemistry apart from other high school romances and one of the reasons I liked it so much was the emphasis on education and making it to university).
The characters were very flawed in their detailing-I get that Patch is meant to come across as mysterious, but not to the extent where you have virtually no back story. Many questions popped into my mind about him which should have been answered to give his character more shape.
I felt the dialogues between characters, especially between Patch and Nora were weak and cloying. I think to aid the pace of the action, Becca Fitzpatrick forwent the need to develop character and dialogue just to keep up with the storyline.
Not sure I will be carrying on with series.......more