Update + Book Review: “Shatter Me” by Tahereh Mafi

Well, yes, so it’s been awhile. I’m not quite sure why I stopped, especially because I’ve read over 60 books, so it’s not like I stopped reading. I somehow got out of the groove, and it’s time to get back into it. I will try to do the books I’m currently reading, but I might go back and do some that I’ve finished since I was last posting. I started this blog with language training – which I’m back in now for Portuguese – but I’m going to stick to my book review and travel review format. I’m not traveling as much, so they’ll be older reviews.

Okay, so, I just finished today “Shatter Me” by Tahereh Mafi. If you’ve read my reviews before you know that I typically do whole series – and since I’m NOT doing the whole Shatter Me series…well, you should see where this is going. I’ll start with the plot summary and then my analysis.

PLOT SUMMARY: **SPOILERS***

Juliette Farrars is locked in an insane asylum. We aren’t sure for what, but we know it’s bad, the asylum is terrible, and she’s been in there for three years. She suddenly has a roommate, someone from her past. We find out that this is Adam and that Juliette has an ability that if someone touches her bare skin or she touches them bare skin to bare skin, she can cause them tremendous pain and potentially kill them. She hasn’t spoken to anyone in three years and is an incredibly broken person.

The Reestablishment breaks her out of the asylum and takes her to their leader. The Reestablishment is in control of this dystopian world. They are incredibly authoritarian and violent. This isn’t a nice dystopian future, this is the ugly kind. People are starving and dying and cold. The Reestablishment has all the power and controls the people through fear. We find out that Warner – the son of the leader of the Reestablishment – wants Juliette and her powers for himself. He wants to use her ability to control even more people out of fear. She doesn’t go along with it because she hates her power and what it can do. Warner wants her to torture people for information in exchange for living a plush life. Juliette never wants to harm a soul.

She finds out that Adam is immune to her powers and they confess their love for each other. Adam isn’t part of the Reestablishment and he’s not Warner’s man like Warner thinks. He’s there to find Juliette and escape. So, they escape. However, during the escape, Juliette finds out that Warner is also immune to her touch. Adam and Juliette escape and head to his “house” where we meet his little brother, James. However, the next morning, a “friend” of Adam’s from the Army (with Warner) shows up at their door, Kenji, wounded. He had been tortured for information and someone dropped him off at Adam’s door. The trio + James plan to flee, but are too late. They’re chased, splitting up into two groups: Kenji and James hide back at Adam’s house and Adam and Juliette try to divert the attention and get away. They’re caught and Adam’s shot. Juliette thinks he’s dead. Warner is with her, having realized he’s immune to her ability. He wants Juliette and has been essentially stalking her for years. She seduces him, gets his gun, and shoots him, fleeing. She finds Adam, punching through a steel door to get to him. They escape, along with Kenji and James, to another facility of rebels called “The Omega.”

While there, we find out that there are other people with special abilities (flexibility, electricity, healing, invisibility, etc) and the Omega is going to fight against the Reestablishment. Juliette – strapped in a skin-tight purple suit – feels like a superhero rather than a monster.

 

THOUGHTS:

I did not particularly care for “Shatter Me.” This mainly, for me, had to do with Juliette’s “voice” and the author’s writing style. I did writing role-play and this kind of reminded me of someone of the role-playing styles I would see. Highly dramatic. Lots of run on sentences and repeated words and phrases. Sudden short sentences. I really enjoyed it while she was in the insane asylum or when she was describing kissing Adam…but it was the whole book. 300+ pages of this style. It got a little better towards the end, the less that Juliette felt outcast/alone.

I get it. I do. The style is because Juliette is fragmented and broken and feels like a monster and not safe in her own skin. I guess I felt like I was beaten over the head with it. It was difficult to get into the book, honestly. It was a quick read, mostly because the chapters were so short. But the constant cross-outs of what Juliette wanted to say and the tone of the book just made things so obvious instead of letting the reader kind of figure things out for themselves.

It felt a little too obviously superhero-y at the end too. And I have a feeling it’s going to end like most of these “Bad government v Rebels” dystopian futures end, like the Matched series, where it isn’t as perfect as it seems. Maybe not. I probably won’t know because I’m unlikely to finish the series.

There was a lot of talk about kissing and while the description wasn’t bad, it just felt like a lot and it didn’t advance the plot. Honestly, I didn’t feel like a lot necessarily happened in the book in general. I left out a few things in my plot summary, but those are the big points and it’s not a lot. It just didn’t keep me engaged. I liked Juliette – even if she is a bit of a Mary Sue with her fantastically beautiful looks and all the men wanting her – because she was broken and I feel like that might speak to people. I like the message: we are not monsters, we deserve to be loved. It was all just so…painfully beat over the head.

Plot: 2.5/5
Style: 2.5/5
Rating: 2.5/5

Have you read the series? What did you think about it? Let me know in the comments below!

Next Up: Red Queen

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About ambfso

Currently in Portuguese language training. Next post: Sao Paulo, Brazil