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 am late to the game with this book, I know! I’ve actually had the ARC (sent to me by the lovely Trish Doller) for months now, but it just kept falling further and further into my pile of books. Finally, though, I cleared out my review and blog tour schedule for July and determined that Shatter Me would be my first “Me, Myshelf & I” read.
I am really not sure how to articulate how I feel about Shatter Me. I went into the book fairly blind, having not read reviews of it in months. I knew that I would meet Juliette, Adam, and Warner. I knew that Juliette had true power in her touch. I even knew that the prose was somewhat elaborate and flowery. However, I did not know how… alien this book would feel.
I tried to remain very open-minded throughout Shatter Me. After all, Juliette Ferrars, the main character, has been locked away in a tiny cell for almost a year without human contact, and with very little nourishment for the body, mind, or soul. I imagined how I would feel, having not seen the sky or the sun in more than 200 days. I’m sure I would be as, well, crazy as Juliette seems. She lives her life in seemingly random numbers and narrates in run-on and fragmented sentences, using an insaneamount of metaphors and similies. This is where my first big issue with the book comes in. A lot of Juliette’s narration was nonsensical and completely wasteful. There are passages and passages of purple prose that became so thick that I almost ran a cheese grater over my face choked on them.
“Hate looks like everybody else until it smiles. Until it spins around and lies with lips and teeth carved into semblance of something too passive to punch.”
Yet, there were certain passages and sentences that were polished and perfect.
“I’m too poor to afford the luxury of hysteria right now.”
Had Tahereh Mafi stuck to the age-old rule that “less is more”, I think that Shatter Mecould have been a much more powerful, beautiful, poignant read. Instead, I feel it tried too hard to be different that it wound up being rather trite and annoying.
Then there’s Juliette herself. See, she possesses a dangerous power that can kill others with just a touch of her hand. In one of her many moments of self-loathing, she even refers to herself as a Venus flytrap. Again, I tried to put myself in her shoes. I would be completely horrified if I hurt or killed someone because of something out of my control. However, the constant self-flallegation was just too much. And then, when Juliette suddenly acquires a cellmate, Adam, she turns into a bumbling, blubbering, blushing HOT MESS! I am tempted to go back through Shatter Me just to count how many times Juliette blushed, tripped, gasped, or let her jaw “drop to the floor”. Seriously. I get that she was isolated for almost 9 months, but come on! Unfortunately, she was not a character with whom I could really emphathize.
Adam, Juliette’s cell mate and eventual love interest, was not very memorable, either. ManyShatter Me fans adore Adam and think the romance that builds between him and Juliette is sweet and oh-so-hot. As for me? Not so much. Adam was perfectly nice and a good friend to Juliette, but their “romance” seemed like nothing more than teenage hormones on steroids, as they considered ripping each other’s clothes off at the most inappropriate moments. Oh, but wait, Adam had beautifuleyes, right, Juliette? No, really, she spent no less than a dozen sentences altogether describing his eyes. They are beautiful and blue. WE GET IT! How many times can you describe the same two eyeballs?!
We can’t forget about Warner, the story’s protagonist! He is clearly a dangerous guy with an agenda. Warner wants Juliette to be by his side and to harness her powers to get others to do his bidding. However, he also has a very subtle, intriguing soft, vulnerable side. It is because of Warner that I am now dying to read Destroy Me, the novella that is written from his point-of-view. There is just somethingabout Warner that warrants a closer look. He and Kenji, a secondary male character, are Shatter Me‘s saving grace. Warner is mysterious and Kenji is hilarious. Mystery and hilarity in a book that is mostly inane – thank you for that, at least, universe!
Oh, but it gets wor- er, better? Better worse? While the plot has so much potential, and it’s clear that Tahereh Mafi does have talent, things just seem to fall short of the mark. Everything in Shatter Me was a bit tooconvenient. I won’t go into everything that was wrong with the plot, as I don’t want to give too much away for those who have yet to read Shatter Me, but if you’re really curious, read Marg K.’s review on GoodReads.
Overall, I am really conflicted with Shatter Me. To be clear, it is not dystopian fiction. It is a paranormal romance in a dystopian setting. I don’t think it’s the greatest book ever written by a long shot, but it does have some redeeming qualities and characters, and I do believe I will read both Destroy Meand Unravel Me. It is my hope that Juliette really finds herself in Unravel Me and stops being such a helpless maiden. I also hope there’s less of a focus on the romance between her and Adam and a lot more action. I hope I’m not disappointed!