Review: The Becoming of Noah Shaw by Michelle Hodkin

12:31 AM

The Becoming of Noah Shaw by Michelle Hodkin | Rating: ★★★★☆

"Fate is bullshit. Destiny doesn't exist. If I want a happy ending, I'll have to write it myself."

As a note, an e-galley of this novel was sent to me via Edelweiss by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not effect my opinions in any way.

When the Mara Dyer trilogy ended a few years back, I found myself beyond bummed to say goodbye to these gorgeous and intriguing characters. One might say that I get overly attached to fictional characters, now more than ever, and there's just something about Mara, Noah, Jamie and Daniel that just went straight to my heart and began to weave themselves into my veins.

Plus, the overall creepy vibes and atmosphere the original trilogy possessed was right up my alley. When I heard that Hodkin would be returning to these characters--a new set of novels centered around Noah Shaw--I nearly screamed in excitement. In all honesty, I probably did. Even with that joy, I was a little hesitant and skeptical on how this spin-off would truly work. The Becoming of Noah Shaw is, of course, its own story and a truly intriguing one at that. Michelle Hodkin manages to work right back into her groove and has just as tight of a grip on my heart as she did when The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer came to be.

Because of this, I might be a little biased. It's not secret that followups and spin-offs aren't always the greatest. When Mara Dyer's story ended, we had a specific picture in our head. Each of us imagined a set of details on what happened in the aftermath of the conclusion. We had knowledge from the bits we were served in the finale, but The Becoming of Noah Shaw is allowing Hodkin to return to the roots of the story (the creepy factor, the romance, the angst) and building up a new set of rules in just under 400 pages. All of our beloved characters have returned in all their glory, but the game is changing--and some faces we knew before are rapidly changing in their own secrets and build up.

I'll be honest with you: the story starts off slow. I can't pinpoint what was wrong with the beginning of it, but it just doesn't grip readers quite like the first quarter of The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer. It is not a bad start exactly, it just lacks that extra power that we've come to know from Hodkin. Even the dry wit from Noah, the mystery surrounding his family, the funeral he is attending, and all the new plotlines tangling into the narration didn't make it kick me in the arse like it should have.

Another flaw I found in The Becoming of Noah Shaw was the fact the angst that comes with every last reveal. I'm here for tension and mystery and spine-tingling elements but there was a lot of things that bugged me in how emotions were handled and what we were told. See, there were times when we were told and not shown.

I felt like I had a lot of unfortunate questions towards many things. A lot of characters appearing with little to no backstory or development. Again, during some revelations, I felt like we were only told a bit of what was happening and it was just shrugged off. Perhaps this was only me, perhaps it is a part of Noah's narration I have yet to get used to. I just had some sort of frustration in these moments.

Leo, Stella, Goose and Sophie for example. I felt like the inclusion of these characters to be very, very important.

Sophie and Stella we knew.

Stella being the girl who was (briefly) friends with Mara and Jamie, who escaped their "treatments" with them. She was (basically) an entirely different character in The Becoming of Noah Shaw and while we've already witnessed the changes in everyone, hers was the strongest and I wasn't sure what to think of it. Sophie, we only really knew in passing as Daniel's girlfriend--but now she is in the mix, and revealed to be "gifted" and had known about Mara's abilities this whole time.

Tension, tension, tension. 

Leo and Goose are new transplants into the story. Like Noah can't, I don't get much of a reading on Leo and honestly... don't trust him. There's something charming about Goose's appearance and the fact that he ties into Noah's past and present now that he is living with him and apparently an amplifier.

Despite its flaws, I still found the story to be highly entertaining once it got into its groove about 25% of the way in. I am quite keen on reading more because I have a lot of questions I hope will be answered as the series wraps up. Especially after the last few chapters of the book itself.

Longtime readers of Hodkin know the woman is a pro at giving some serious cliffhangers and this is one of those moments. Because of the way the story ends (so! much! angst!) it's apparent that she is really going straight for the kill with this spin-off and boy, I am here for it.

Overall, it was a really fun read and has all the markings of what readers knew and loved about the Mara Dyer trilogy. A total must-have for the hardcore fans of Noah Shaw and lovers of mystery. I can't wait to read the next book!

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