Mara by Veronica Bane
*I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review*
High schooler Mara Tucker can create and manipulate fire, for years using it to harm those who have hurt her in some way. She thinks that she is the only person out there who can do what she does, but she is about to be proven wrong. There are numerous “unusuals” living in the town of Jericho where she has lived for years with her Uncle. At the same time she discovers that she is not alone in having special powers, teenagers start going missing in Jericho. Mara and her allies begin to wonder if they could be among the next to disappear.
Mara begins with a strong prologue that immediately drew me into the story. I’ll always read a prologue, but it’s rare that I find them adding all that much to the story, beyond being an info dump of a back story. I was thrilled to see Mara’s prologue contain a healthy mix of action and intrigue that provides a partial background to the main character through showing and not telling.
After the prologue, the story follows a slower path leading up to Mara discovering that there are others like her. It isn’t overly slow, just after the prologue you notice the pacing change quite easily. It’s necessary though, as it is during this time that you learn who that Mara is not the typical main character, she’s the quintessential anti-heroine, and you catch glimpses of what happened to make her that way. She’s abrasive and has a hard time making friends, but there was just something about her that made me want to know more about her. Once she begins to team up with others like her (or in a couple of cases not like her), the pacing picks up and I couldn’t put the book down. Mara’s allies enhance the story and make what could have been an okay book with out them a highly enjoyable book. My favorite by far is Miles. He’s kind, smart, and out to prove himself an asset. How could you not like that? I also enjoy how a few of the chapters are devoted to following around the story’s other characters. As a reader, you know what’s going on with individual members of the main group while being kept in suspense of who is responsible for Jericho’s teens going missing and the reason behind the disappearances.
Overall, Mara skillfully blends heavier issues with great action and believable teenage attitudes. The plot contains a healthy dose of the paranormal within it’s contemporary setting. I was satisfied with the ending, but I truly hope that Veronica Bane continues the story of this group. The ending does leave room for a sequel and I would definitely read it, be it another novella or a novel.
Thank you for sending me this book Veronica, I look forward to reading more from you!