Monday, October 31, 2011

Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi

Title: Shatter Me
Author: Tahereh Mafi
Publisher: HarperCollins/HarperTeen
Release Date: November 15, 2011
Pages: 342 pages (hardback)
How I Got the Book: ARC review copy

Shatter Me (Shatter Me, #1)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.

In this electrifying debut, Tahereh Mafi presents a world as riveting as The Hunger Games and a superhero story as thrilling as The X-Men. Full of pulse-pounding romance, intoxicating villainy, and high-stakes choices, Shatter Me is a fresh and original dystopian novel—with a paranormal twist—that will leave readers anxiously awaiting its sequel.


Feared. Unloved. Unwanted. Juliette's life before she was taken away was not a kind one, but her life inside her prison has been no better. Cursed with a touch that can kill, she has not known regular human touch for a very, very long time. Then Adam, a piece of Juliette's past, is thrown in her cell and she discovers she can touch him. She can touch him! As she draws closer to Adam, a war looms on the horizon and Warner, the leader of the sector she has been trapped in, wants her power on his side--and her by his side.

I liked Juliette and Adam--just liked, though. They were not terrible characters and their situations could evoke genuine emotional responses, but they did not go much deeper than that for me and their dramatic declarations of love got old after a while. Warner, that crazy diamond, was the character who was really able to shine in the novel. An obsessive, almost (but not quite) pitiable monster, He is not good for Juliette at all because of what he can do and what he represents, but for the reader and the book? He is very good. Then again, I have a special place in my heart for obsessive characters.

I was aware of Shatter Me's highly metaphorical style before reading, but the volume of it surprised me. Like all readers, I love novels with lush prose that can play around with formatting while doing it well; in fact, one of my favorite novels (Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson) does exactly this. There is one fundamental difference between the two that makes me love one more than the other. The prose of Wintergirls is very controlled and deliberate. Shatter Me also demonstrated such control of its prose, but when it lost control, it really lost it.

You know those demonic little children who run around drawing on the walls with crayons and screaming and jumping on couches and throwing tantrums so bad that the parents have to call in Supernanny? Yeah, that is how uncontrolled the prose of Shatter Me can get at times. It is not drawing on my face with permanent marker, but it does distract from the story it is trying to tell by having so much of that uncontrolled prose appear so often.

Despite the writing's tendency to run away, the content of the story piqued my interest enough that I definitely plan to stick around the the second novel in Mafi's trilogy. It took me some time to really get into the novel, but once I did, I was hooked and couldn't stop reading even if I'd wanted too (and I didn't). The plot, pacing, characters, and writing of the novel weaved a web to capture readers in this spellbinding novel. Check out excerpts and make your own decision!

3 stars! (But it borders closely on fours stars.)

What am I reading next?: Last Breath by Rachel Caine

1 comment:

  1. I totally agree with you about the overuse of metaphors (most of which don't make much sense). I read the whole book and was.. well, disappointed. Too lovey-dovey for me. Wish there were more of that great setting though.


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