[Review] The Evolution of Mara Dyer Is Dead In The Water

As much as The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer had me by the seat of my pants, The Evolution of Mara Dyer had me flailing and bailing. Where's The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer was tolerably saturated with Mara's and Noah's mutual obsession, romance dominated and subdued The Evolution of Mara Dyer. Mara made The Unbecoming  but undoes in all Evolution.

I don't care if that was the point. With 100 pages left, I was seriously frustrated and kicking myself for not quitting already. I would've bailed had the action not finally ramped up into climaxing. Then I was stuck with another cliffhanger.

I was resolved to only start the final book, The Retribution, because I came this far. If it didn't pay off, I was abandoning ship early. From 4.5 stars to almost DNF, how pathetic.

Content Warning: Ableism and PTSD from Attempted Rape

Series: Mara Dyer #2
Genre: Paranormal, Romance,
Age: YA
Format: ebook, 528 pgs.
Source: Store Bought
Rating: 2.5 Stars (Almost DNF)
Recommendable?Alone: No, To Get Through The Series: Okay...
CW: Ablist "crazy" talk, PTSD from Attempted Rape,
The truth about Mara Dyer's dangerous and mysterious abilities continues to unravel in the New York Times bestselling 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. In this gripping sequel to The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer, the truth evolves and choices prove deadly. What will become of Mara Dyer next?

The Good The Bad & The Other
Solid Beginning No tension, suspense, mystery, or horror
Plot Twist is good (though took forever to get there and it's obvious for awhile) Mara becomes an oblivious, dumbass, hypocrite and doesn't "evolve" or progress character-wise
Somehow kept me reading despite myself Insta-love is the main focus
Revolves around questions with obvious, common sense answers

Trigger Warning IconYoung Adult IconparanormalRomance IconCliffhanger IconHotmess IconInsta-Love IconProblematic Icon
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And did it poorly, unlike Scooby-Doo. 
It started off great but then turned into this revolving door gag. We learn some basic shit in the very beginning, then instead of following the first book's path of horrific, spine tingling tension, it floundered. It stuck to issues we knew the answer to: the stalker and Mara's mentality, then ran those into the ground and kept digging.

And came up on the other side: emo romance drama over whether the happy couple can kiss without paranormal consequences. Of all the questions to linger on... Not only did I not enjoy dawdling over high school insta-love but the answer was fucking obvious! 

Okay, I know it's "ewww" to think about adults being romantic with each other when you're that age, especially those related to you, but god-fucking-damn. It's not like she wasn't digging into the past already or anything...

Noah does get better in this book, and Mara gets worse. Again, if that was the point, it succeed but the execution was torture. I wanted to shake her and scream over several things. Like the previously mentioned Mr. Fake Name they were trying to hunt down, only this wasn't a blind-spot but a sinkhole.

Mara's treatment of Phoebe and dismissal of her boyfriend is my main sticking point. She became a dumbass hypocrite. Didn't even bother to find anything out about Phoebe before piling on the stereotypical "she's nutso" shit, following the other teens lead, including Jamie's. :(

I was so psyched about how The Unbecoming handled mental health issues from a teen's POV and it turned nasty. I don't expect her to be a saint or buddy-buddy but some fucking introspection and thought would be nice. If she'd noticed that sooner, we'd get somewhere before the climax thus cutting most of the sagging padding and making the whole damn thing a lot more enjoyable.

It's possible for all that to be worthwhile and forgiven, if there was resolution and character progression. But it's a cliffhanger and Mara moves sideways instead of connecting the dots. Disappointing, to say the least. I expected better from her.

Of course, this all sets up for The Retribution of Mara Dyer but it has its work cut out. The Evolution was so long and so bad I was resolved to throw in the towel early if it didn't pan out quick.

What did it to well? Well...impossible to discuss without spoiling something for someone.


2.5 stars: For the beginning, the plot twist and for somehow keeping me reading. If only it wasn't padded and shat on everything that came before it.

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