Book Review: Mara (Unusuals #1) by Veronica Bane

Layout 1Title: Mara (Unusuals #1)

Author: Veronica Bane

Genre: YA Fantasy

Age Group: Young Adult

Rating: 4 stars

Purchase: Amazon

Review copy provided by Enchanted Book Promotions in exchange for an honest review.

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.

Mara tells the story of a group of teenagers, Unusuals, who’ve just begun to learn about their powers and abilities. Mara is the main character, and other notable characters are Miyuki, Chris, Alex and Miles. Mara’s past is riddled with dark mysteries, from how she escaped her home to how she fled away from her brother. She’s a little on the dark side as far as teenagers go – she’s tough, not afraid to fight anyone who stands in her way, but she’s also quite depressed, and blames herself for a lot of things that happened to her. She hasn’t had the easiest childhood, and the effects of the abuse follow her today.

It was hard to sympathize with Mara at first. I thought she’d gone through something bad in her childhood, but had no idea was. It was only when it was made clear, that I began to truly feel sorry for her.

Mara and her friends each control and element. Mara’s element is fire. She’s spent her whole life hiding her abilities, but when the other members of her group tell her they have similar abilities, she begins to realize she’s not the only one with certain powers. But when a loner is forced to work together, things start to get hectic fast, and Mara has to fight against her own nature and learn to work with others. Especially when some people, led by a mysterious fellow named The Stranger, are out to get them. When her brother returns to town, Mara will have to overcome her fears fast, before he damages her even more than he already has.

I mentioned before how hard it was to like Mara at the start, but her bad girl – attitude grew on me as the book progressed. By the end, I liked her more than all the others. She’s not afraid in the face of a challenge, and she won’t go down without a fight, two qualities I like about people. The secondary characters were okay as well. Mara’s brother was evil, but still very intriguing. The Stranger is still a mystery, and I’m eager to read more about him and find out who he is. Miyuki was okay, although she did act arrogant at times. Chris and Miles were okay, but they didn’t leave a lasting impression.

Overall, this book was a great read. The plot had a few original elements that I enjoyed, and the characters were overall quite enjoyable. A good start for this series of young adult fantasy novellas.

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