When I began college, many series I loved went forgotten. My reading tastes also changed. Not only was the Mara Dyer series a forgotten one, but when I thought about it again, I doubted I would love it as much as I did as a teen. Mara Dyer was always too strong on romance and not strong enough on the spooky elements that originally caught my interest. With new Shaw Confessions series out, I thought it appropriate to finish reading one my many long forgotten series, even if I didn’t think I would like it as much.
The Mara Dyer series is difficult to describe in words. It capitalizes on being mysterious, and that makes it hard to summarize without spoilers. Have you ever read on of the book jacket summaries for these books? They never tell you anything. I still don’t know if the Noah Shaw books are sequels or the original series as told by Noah because of this summary nonsense. Describing this book is even harder now because I remember little from the first two books. This is not a good series to pick up after several years of not reading it. It is too confusing for that kind of gap.
Even so, here is my attempt at a summary: Mara is trapped in a scientific research facility for people like her with unexplained powers. Since this facility is more a dangerous jail than a safe hospital, Mara busts out.
As always, this book focuses on two key questions. Is Mara Dyer a reliable narrator? Is Mara Dyer the protagonist of this series, or the unwitting villain?
By the end, my answers to those questions are “maybe” and “she is neither.” If I had recently read Unbecoming and Evolution, I think I would have liked this one a lot more. It answers a lot of questions, including ones I didn’t know I should be asking.
The most important concern of the second book was the weird introduction of the 19th/20th century plotline. In this book, the centuries old Mara is relevant. Though I barely remembered her from then, it was still exciting to understand why she appeared. It was a bewildering aspect of the second book.
Mara, for once, breaks free from her will she/won’t she relationship with Noah and hangs out with some other teens her age. It was nice to see her make friends. And lose some of them. One of them leaves near the end, and we never hear from them again. I am still bewildered by that sudden character exit. I thought for sure this character would return…
Despite being confused by spooky secrets for most of this series, The Retribution of Mara Dyer actually does address many of my concerns. My only regret is that it didn’t do so well. Mara spends most of the book away from Noah, a plot choice that is damaging to the impact received from the climax hinging on their relationship.
I didn’t particularly enjoy reading this book, and only gave it 3 stars on Goodreads, but I have to admit I am intrigued. What would I think of the series now, if I read it from beginning to end? It at least has a good mystery to unravel in the background. Like I said before, however, my tastes are different. I loved Unbecoming of Mara Dyer when it was published, but doubt I would feel the same way now. Since the series is experiencing resurgence, however, it might be time to give it another fighting change. Will a reread be in my future? Maybe…