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.
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! Common sense. 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 do well? Well...Yay for Jamie.
2.5 stars: For the beginning, the plot twist and for somehow keeping me reading. If only it wasn't so pointlessly drawn out and shat on everything that came before it.