Despite the fact that I really disliked the way Hodkin ended the Mara Dyer trilogy, I was excited to see more from the characters and try to wrap my head around what happened by the end of the last book of that series. While this book did those things, it just felt a little lacking to me on some level.

Hello everyone!

I'm back with another review, today it is The Becoming of Noah Shaw by Michelle Hodkin.

The story follows the infamous Noah Shaw, as well as Mara, her brother Daniel, and a few other characters, as well as new ones. After the death of his father, Noah just wants to get away from everything he did and stood for. But, of course, his father has the last word, leaving Noah as the sole heir to his corporation and a trunk full of his mother's things. As he tries to understand who his mother was, he and the rest of the group are soon swept into disappearances, and apparent suicides, of others like them. Mara has always been the one person he could trust, but maybe the time has come where she really will become his downfall.

*Trigger warnings in the book for self-harm and suicide* (side-note: the book actually does include a trigger warning notice, which I can't quite decide if Hodkin was being genuine about, given the way it was written, but it's there nonetheless)

I'm not sure if it was because this book was told from Noah's POV but I immediately felt like it was very different from the first trilogy when I first started reading it. I seem to recall the MD trilogy to be much more descriptive and suspenseful. Perhaps part of that is also due to the subject matter of the books as well - there is much less tension and mystery in this book.

It's hard to separate this book from the original trilogy but I think it should be done because it is a much better book, in my eyes, if you don't think about the books that came before it. On its own, it is a solid book, but compared to MD, it seems slow-paced and a bit unnecessary. It feels like one of those short stories that are supposed to link old and new characters in a companion novel because, compared to MD, not a lot happens.

To be fair, it's nice to have some downtime from the craziness that was the MD trilogy. BUT, I think, at least until I read the next book in this series, this book seems a bit pedestrian. Only one or two strange things happen and I never felt fully invested enough in the story to care all that much. And honestly, I'm a bit sad about that. It wasn't that this book was bad, it just didn't push the boundaries like MD did - and that's perhaps why comparing the two is detrimental to this one.

Aside from plot issues, I felt like I didn't know these characters. Noah was less charming and brasher, Mara less of a real character and more of a sultry figure who could have been anyone. It seemed like many of the characteristics we saw developed in MD fell away in this book.

HOWEVER, all that being said, I do plan on continuing this series because I have hope that Hodkin can pick up where this one left off (i.e. the interesting part) and write the 'real' next story - like I said, this one just felt like a bridging short story and I'm excited to see the other side of the bridge (can I be done with this analogy?)

Overall, not as good as I was expecting and hoping for but I'm staying positive for book two!