Book Review–Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi

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This is the 2nd book from my 114 in 2014 Reading Challenge.

Picture Source: Goodreads.com
Picture Source: Goodreads.com

Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi
Published January 1st,  2011 by Harper

 

Juliette hasn’t touched anyone in exactly 264 days.

The last time she did, it was an accident, but The Reestablishment locked her up for murder. No one knows why Juliette’s touch is fatal. As long as she doesn’t hurt anyone else, no one really cares. The world is too busy crumbling to pieces to pay attention to a 17-year-old girl. Diseases are destroying the population, food is hard to find, birds don’t fly anymore, and the clouds are the wrong color.

The Reestablishment said their way was the only way to fix things, so they threw Juliette in a cell. Now so many people are dead that the survivors are whispering war – and The Reestablishment has changed its mind. Maybe Juliette is more than a tortured soul stuffed into a poisonous body. Maybe she’s exactly what they need right now.

Juliette has to make a choice: Be a weapon. Or be a warrior.

 

——

 

I’ve been really wanting to read this one for a while. It sounded so interesting and I admit I am a sucker for pretty covers.

That being said, this was a hard book to get into. The main reason was not because of the plot, characters, setting, or any of that. It was the writing!

First we have Juilette, the main character, obsessed with using numbers in her thoughts. Then there’s times when she wants to say the truth but doesn’t. The strikeout text worked wonderfully for books like Wintergirls, but in this, it just didn’t work. And then, as if the numbers and the random strikeout isn’t enough to make reading difficult, the author throws the entire story into a machine that spits out massive purple prose.

I don’t mind a bit of purple prose. Sometimes it’s actually quite beautiful. But then there’s this:

“I always wonder about raindrops. I wonder about how they’re always falling down, tripping over their own feet, breaking their legs and forgetting their parachutes as they tumble right out of the sky toward an uncertain end. It’s like someone is emptying their pockets over the earth and doesn’t seem to care where the contents fall, doesn’t seem to care that the raindrops burst when they hit the ground, that they shatter when they fall to the floor, that people curse the days the drops dare to tap on their doors.”

A LOT of Juilette’s thoughts are like this. My brain almost exploded from the sensory overload and strange pictures I was getting from some of this prose. It almost made me stop reading.

Thankfully the story is interesting, as are the characters. It’s the only thing that saved this for me. Basically Juilette is special, in a bad way–if she touches people with her bare skin, she ends up killing them. After trying to help a child and accidentally killing him in the process, fourteen-year-old Juilette is locked up in a very dreary place where she doesn’t speak or interact with anyone for a really long time.

When she is seventeen, she is given a cell mate. A MALE cell mate. One that she soon discovers she has an odd, sort of adorable, history with. One who she isn’t sure she should entirely trust. And in her falling apart world, the powerful want to use her as their personal weapon.

I liked Juilette’s POV, minus all the purple prose and strikeout words and obsession with numbers. The parts I liked best was when she was in love lust with Adam, her cell mate. I felt bad for her situation, especially when she recounted her childhood. I loved that she was essentially a strong, kind of stubborn yet selfless character. I think she was a bit too selfless at times, but I have known people who were like that so I can’t say it’s totally unrealistic.

Adam was a great love interest who kept things interesting. I also liked Kenji, despite some of this comments. Adam’s little brother is adorable and the bad guy, a controlling prick named Warner, was fun to hate, yet I also couldn’t help but feel a bit sorry for him at times. Not enough to support what he was doing, though.

The setting of the book was interesting, though sometimes hard to picture. This story is set in a falling apart world that also has some futuristic elements. The world building isn’t bad, but a lot of things are left unexplained. But since this is a series, hopefully more of that is answered later on.

The romance in this was pretty good and reminded me of my first love. There’s a lot of lust, but also a lot of sweet moments. I’m not sure whether I like the plot twist concerning Adam and Juilette though–it borderlines speshul snowflake–but I liked that Warner was similar. Though now I really want to know why Adam and Warner are both able to do what they can when it comes to Juilette.

Anyways, overall I liked this. I did not care for the writing. As much as I want to see what happens in the next few books, I’m cringing a bit at the thought of having to return to the writing. I’m hoping that it will get better as I go on.

If you like dystopian books with interesting characters and a steamy romance, it’s probably worth checking out. But don’t say I didn’t warn you about the purple prose!

 

3stars

 

jncname

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