Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Audiobook Review: The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer

The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer (Mara Dyer, #1)Author: Michelle Hodkin
Narrator: Christy Romano
Series: Mara Dyer, #1
Released: January 21st 2014
Publisher: Audible Studios
Length: 9 hrs and 40 mins
Buy: Audible

Mara Dyer believes life can't get any stranger than waking up in a hospital with no memory of how she got there. It can. She believes there must be more to the accident she can't remember that killed her friends and left her strangely unharmed. There is. She doesn't believe that after everything she's been through, she can fall in love. She's wrong.

Sometimes, a book you least expect to like takes you completely by surprise. Sometimes, even though you respect their opinion, you disagree with some of your most trusted friends. For me, this is one of those times.

The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer wasn’t at all what I expected. I was warned about the love interest, about the heroine, about the plot and about the romance itself. I was told that the story makes little sense, that the romance is forced and unbelievable, that the love interest is just another version of Edward Cullen and that the heroine is simply too unmemorable, and occasionally even too stupid to live.

I must say that I respectfully disagree.

The fact of the matter is that I found the plot to be compelling and absolutely addictive; well planned, well written and incredibly suspenseful. Mara is a completely unreliable narrator, a detached, slightly unhinged, completely broken girl who hallucinates more often than not. We can’t be sure what we’re seeing, not when we’re seeing it through her eyes, and like her, we must question everything, from her friends and family to her sanity.

In addition, it must be said that I actually like Edward Cullen, and strangely enough, I rather like Noah Shaw as well. His previous romantic entanglements made me uncomfortable at first (as they were meant to, I’m sure), but as I learned more about him and witnessed his devotion to Mara, I started genuinely liking the boy.

It was actually Mara, not Noah, who gave me pause more than once. She came perilously close to the very definition of anti-heroine on several occasions, in a way that truly put me on edge. However, despite my discomfort (or possibly because of it), I appreciated Hodkin’s excellent characterization, her insightfulness and her willingness to take her characters to pretty uncomfortable places, well beyond the limit of morally and socially acceptable behavior. Mara wasn’t the only one who questioned her sanity. I questioned it constantly and there were moments when I thought she really should be put away, for her own safety and the safety of others. This is Michelle Hodkin’s true strength – she makes us love and fear a single character, be understanding and understandably wary at the same time. Mara is not a heroine in the traditional sense, but it’s quite easy to care for her nevertheless.

This story’s only true flaw, in my opinion, is that it doesn’t offer any sort of explanation for Mara’s apparent hallucinations. I’ve developed a very thick skin when it comes to cliffhangers, but at least some answers would have been most welcome. As is, I was left with hundreds of questions, very few answers, and a deep sense of dread that will likely stay with me for days to come.

Christy Romano narrated the book beautifully and added so much to the experience. Her pacing is a bit faster than normal, but it suits this story perfectly, and her voice only amplifies the overwhelming tension of the story. Mara’s emotions, as well as her strange detachment throughout the story, were clearly reflected in Romano’s voice. In addition, she did a fairly good job with Noah’s accent – she didn’t sound native, not quite, but even in that she was more than good enough.

After the crushing cliffhanger we were left with, I have no choice but to continue the story right away. Please excuse me while I go hide in the darkest, quietest corner of my house with Freya (my phone) and headphones for company.

A copy of this book was kindly provided by the publisher for review purposes. No considerations, monetary or otherwise, have influnced the opinions expressed in this review.


  1. I am glad you reviewed this today. I am finishing the audio book myself today and I have many of the same feelings you do. I put this series off for a long time, but I am strangely addicted to it. Such a creepy, weird little read and I rather like Noah as well. I am a bit disappointed that there is no explanation for the hallciunations but at least we can dig right into the second and third books. I was thinking it was just me, but I also find the narration a bit fast, it almost seems like it is on the sped up pace.

  2. Okay if both you and Heidi are giving this your approval then I know I need to read it. I too have been putting it off because of the negative reviews I have seen. I really want to read this now!

  3. I'm glad you enjoyed this one. I think I gave it a similar rating once upon a time, but have yet to pick up the second book. I hope the rest will be just as memorable for you, Maja. :)

  4. I heard the same things BUT now you have me curious about this one. I hate the sound of that ending so I'll have to make sure the next one is quickly available when I read/listen to this one.

  5. I do hear it's good, well everyone has told me so

  6. I'm absolutely going to check this out on audible. Thanks so much for sharing!

  7. I adore that you've named your phone Freya!!
    I've wondered a lot about this series and I think that after your review and now that the trilogy is over, I might just have to binge read it! (YAY for no waits in between cliffhangers!).

  8. I read this one way back and I honestly can't remember much about it other than the fact that I didn't like it. Now that I've grown as a person and as a reader, I reckon I would have a much better experience with it. I've heard from friends that the series only gets better, so I might have to go back.
    I'm glad that you were able to enjoy this one so much, Maja.
    Lovely review!

  9. Oh I loved this book so much! And I'm glad you liked it too :) I really don't understand where people see a resemblence between Noah and Edward Cullen, but well...
    It's true we don't get much answers in this book but I actually loved how everything was tangled and so mind-blowing. Book 2 was great too, but sadly I was quite disappointed with book 3 :(
    Oh and btw, I love your phone's name :D

  10. I was warned away from this novel as well, but now I'm thinking that that might have been a mistake. Cliff hangers are NOT my friend, luckily book 2 just hit shelves this past October, so it's all good. Wonderful review, Maja!

    Carmel @ Rabid Reads.

  11. I've been seeing a lot of mixed reviews for this book but you have me convinced that I need to bump this up my TBR list! I was so tempted to buy a hb the other day because it was on sale at my bookstore, but I decided against it, now I am totally regretting that!

    Lovely review, Maja <33

  12. I was in the same situation as you, Maja. Most of my friends didn't like this book that much, but I couldn't stop reading. (I have nothing against Twilight - it's still one of my favorites).
    Great review!

  13. I know very little, in fact close to nothing except for the unreliable narrator. I'm glad that I wait for this series to be done so I can finally read it. I'm so curious about this creepy story.

  14. I read this book before the reviews had come in (one of the first people to read it EVER actually) and I'm glad. I was absolutely blown away. I LOVED it! And I loved the second book even more. It messes with your head cause you don't know what to think or believe. But I adored Noah and totally did not understand when people disliked him. Anyway, your review makes me happy!

  15. I have listened to the entire series on audio and really enjoyed Christy Romano narration. I loved the unreliable narrator and adored Noah despite all of his complications.

  16. I never would have guessed this to be your rating for this one either! This is one I mentally shuffled into the pile with Hush, Hush and Fallen. lol Might have to rethink that one and seek out the audio!

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