Book Review: Mara

Mara

Title: Mara
Author: Veronica Bane
Release Date: August 23, 2013
Publisher: Black Hill Press
Pages: 107
Format: e-book

Synopsis: For years, Mara Tucker has used her power of manipulating flames to punish those who have done her wrong. But things are changing in the town of Jericho. Rampant disappearances have forced Mara to seek out others with special powers. In a story that confronts the violence and turmoil of adolescence, Mara and a group of other ‘unusuals’ like her grapple with new alliances and the villains pressing in all around them.

My rating:
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Characters: Mara, a surly 17 year old girl with a dark past is the main character. The novel is in her point of view. Other important characters include a group of teenagers in her town – Miles, Alex, Terry, Miyuki, and Chris – Mara’s sadistic older brother, and the equally sadistic, pathetic town leader working with a man known as The Stranger to carry out a sick, angry agenda. Due to multiple instances of abuse in her past, Mara is angry and harsh, and it was hard for me to warm up to her because of her abrasiveness. However, as I read on, I gained more understanding and sympathy toward her, as well as wishing I could kick her brother where it hurts. He didn’t make as much of an impression in the book as I’d hoped he would, but Bane is working on a sequel so that may contain some closure with him.
Plot: Mara has escaped her cruel, abusive brother to a town called Jericho to stay with her uncle. She has the power to create and manipulate fire but has tried to gain control over it and live an average life. Seven years later, she discovers that not only is she not the only one who possesses special powers, but there are at least 2 crazed adults who will stop at nothing to eliminate any person with powers. She and the other teenagers must band together and prepare to fight if they want to survive. The plot is fast-paced and was able to hold my attention from beginning to end. There was a lot of action, paranormal and realistic, but also dark themes found in a few contemporary novels. I think it could have been drawn out a little more but since it is a novella and there is a sequel, it is of sufficient length.
Writing: Bane’s talent and passion for this story and its characters are apparent. The book was full of rich vocabulary and vivid descriptions. The dialogue was very realistic as well. Her character development and event sequence were on point. I would recommend Mara to any fan of YA and NA, whether paranormal is your thing or not. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and will definitely be reading the sequel.

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