The Unbecoming brought mystery, intrigue, and what felt like something different. The Evolution was a drag where characters ignored the obvious and the story became tortuously formulaic. The Retribution had some great elements again from the beginning and ended in a standard foreseeable clean way. It had the best and the worst elements from the first two installments, which landed it right in the middle: 3 stars. Enjoyable to a point, but I was relieved it was over.
Content Warning: Attempted Rape/Murder, Gruesome Horror Violence
The horror and suspense came back in the beginning
Enjoyed Mara, Jamie, and Sophie's road trip adventure
Finally the story went somewhere, we got answers and resolutions.
Ending: Quick & Clean. Perhaps too much so but I'm glad it's over TBH
Liked seeing Noah's perspective
The Bad & The Other
I don't feel right cheering on such a destructive couple. We've got plenty of those around cough Are they going to stay together? That's clear but it's not heartwarming or sweet
The Puppeteer Reveal: Obvious and Not Shocking
Obvious and clunky character swap
Mr. Mystery Magic Black Man's (description only used to point out the trope and keep from spoiling his name) explanation on why he freaked out over Mara in the first book isn't enough for me, it doesn't work.
The Retribution does bring back the psychological thriller aspects and gruesome horror. And I fucking loved it. I was hooked again from the beginning and it kept getting better. For awhile.
I enjoyed Mara, Jamie, and Sophie's traveling adventures. They were focused on figuring out the mystery and have a good dynamic going on. It was interesting and they were finally (and literally) going somewhere with the story.
However, as soon as they reach their destination, Sophie is no longer useful, and she's tossed aside. I'm sorry, she leaves over moral outrage that makes sense but isn't likable. Given how everything else is drawn out, it's quick and felt more like character swapping. Someone else did just join the crew right before hand…I understand why she didn't fit in the story anymore, but it made me sad and it wasn't gracefully written. It was obvious and forced.
The final plot twist I was coming from a mile away. It could only be xe, there wasn't any other option or possibility. I was surprised however that revenge wasn't brought up as a possible motive of theirs, not even a passing remark. Not that I think that was main reasoning or anything. However, it was my first thought and felt like the characters were missing something again by not bringing it up.
The ending is solid and nicely wrapped up. Perhaps a bit too nicely since they don't face consequences. There has to be something more coming at them, or at least Mara. But honestly, it's not like I really want it to be dragged out again so it's a wash.
I'm glad it's over and it wasn't bad in the end but it's hard to say I'm satisfied. I had such high hopes after The Unbecoming so anything less stings of disappointment. The Retribution takes away the pain, but doesn't stop the jab.