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LynneStringer

My Journey in Writing

My name is Lynne Stringer and I love writing! Of course, that’s not all I love. I also love reading books, especially ones that take me out of the every day and into a new world. It doesn’t have to be a completely imaginary world, either. Anything with fascinating characters and interesting storylines will do. My first young adult novel, The Heir, was accepted for publication by Wombat Books and released on 1 June 2013. It is the first book in the Verindon trilogy. It’s so exciting to have a real copy of my book in my hands.

SPOILER ALERT!
The Retribution of Mara Dyer - Michelle Hodkin

I struggled with whether or not to give this book three or four stars, as it does have serious problems, however, other elements fascinated me. It was a difficult decision to make.
There are definitely some plot problems, or perhaps unresolved issues would be a better way to word it. And here I will get into detail.
For a start, in spite of Jamie's gift, I can't accept that all that happens in the book can just be swept under the carpet so these kids can go on with normal life (or as normal as it gets for them). For a start, David Shaw wanted Mara dead so his son can live to his full potential. There's no evidence that he did what he did just to help Mara manifest completely. In fact, he seems clear in his desire for her to be dead, so that his son can shine the way his beloved late wife wanted him to, so David's disappearance from the story doesn't make sense. He should be just as determined to see her die now as he was before.
Not only that, how did he get away without the police finding out he was there, especially if there was a hospital setup for Daniel? Did Jamie really talk all the police out of discovering that? Or did they just not find that room? Hard to believe.
Events at the end notwithstanding, there is a treatment centre filled with dead bodies and at the very least, are the loved ones of the staff and other patients really all not going to say, 'Hey, where have they gone?' Something will have to be discovered. Will Mara's and Jamie's parents really not ask why they don't have to go back for continued treatment? Will they not seek Dr Kells out? It's all a bit too neat in suggesting that these things will not be issues just because Jamie will talk anyone out of caring about it. There would surely be enough people in law enforcement who would become interested who would ask questions that wouldn't go away.
Also, the revelations of what was really going on was reminiscent of reading the much-maligned Allegiant, although admittedly, not as bad. But I was still saying to myself, 'Really? This is the reason for all of this?' Not to mention at times it was difficult to understand why it was such as issue and why there is such as assurance that Mara will be the death of Noah. Just because Lenaurd says so? And the story seemed to boil down to 'With her you won't be all we want you to be!' So it seemed little more than the story of parents disappointed in their child, although taken to a murderous degree.
However, I will say this in its favour. It was fun and entertaining, and I enjoyed the complexity presented in the argument about who is a villain. I have always been fascinated by the idea of self-justification, and how even the worst people justify their crimes, and this is a theme that is present throughout the entire book. It is there from the moment Dr Kells weeps as she is about to kill Mara, because it's such a disappointing outcome for her, to Mara's own decisions about who it is okay to kill, to the youths at the subway who, when faced with their own deaths, still justified their vulgar behaviour, to David Shaw deciding that honouring his wife by saving his son from 'the monster' was worth threatening the lives of innocent parties, to Lenaurd who, in spite of admitting even he doesn't know everything, still insists that Noah is better off without Mara. All fascinating things.
That, in the end, is what kept me hooked. I will be thinking about this book for a while and I may read it all again just so I can work through it all. Whatever its faults, it was one hell of a ride.