Review: Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi

shatter me tahereh maxi
shatter me tahereh mafi

Title: Shatter Me  
Author: Tahereh Mafi  
Series: Shatter Me #1  
Genre: Dystopia, Science Fiction, YA  
Publication date: November 15, 2011 
Rating: ★★½ 

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.

Someone picked up the sun and pinned it to the sky again, but every day it hangs a little lower than the day before. It's like a negligent parent who only knows one half of who you are. It never sees how its absence changes people. How different we are in the dark.

I did not hate this book. I started out thoroughly disliking it but it picked up somewhere along the way. Not enough to make it good. Still enough to keep me interested in the rest of the series. There is potential here. I like the premise.

I’m awfully late to this party. Four years to be exact. That’s how long ago it’s apparent conclusion, Ignite Me, was released. It’s not like I never wanted to read this. All the rave reviews intrigued me. I think at some point I just really needed a break from dystopian fiction and so I put this on hold. Until further notice. Clearly only until the author decided to breathe life back into it and publish another chapter. Better late than never is what I say.

But as it turns out Shatter Me and I didn’t really hit it off. For a lot of reasons, actually.

I did not enjoy the writing style. The idea is that we find ourselves literally in the MC’s head. And that’s not a bad thing. If it weren’t completely overdone. The endless repetition of words annoyed annoyed annoyed annoyed me. Not at first. But it was just used way way way way too often. Same goes for the crossed out sentences. The concept was interesting, would have been fascinating had it not been so over-present. I didn’t care for the overload of metaphors either. A lot of them felt misplaced and therefore pretentious.

Don’t confuse stupidity for bravery, love.

However none of it was as bad as the portrayal of the characters. With the exception of a few meaningful moments, I just could. not. stand. Juliette. Her stupidity and foolishness annoyed the hell out of me. With her history and trauma’s I feel like she should have been interesting, but instead she felt like such an immature child all the time. She constantly acted like she had everything and everyone all figured out. Ehm yeah not I didn’t like Adam any better. Honestly I liked him even less. He was such a stereotypical “good guy” it was insufferable.

And Warnerwell. I did not go into this book unbiased. I ruined that possibility by waiting so long to start reading. Obviously I knew about Warner. I couldn’t possibly not know about Warner. Or be anxious to meet him. He was the only thing in the book that kept me somewhat hooked. But I feel like even with him there were all the right ingredients and it still tasted somewhat sour. Not because he wasn’t likable, I mean thank god he wasn’t likable just yet. I don’t know… he just wasn’t compelling enough. Yet. Perhaps this too was overdone, wasn’t balanced enough.

Even the actual child was too young… Hah, not kidding! Adam’s brother James is an eleven-year-old and I consider myself somewhat of an expert when it comes to children that age. They are not ‘little’ anymore. You can’t just scoop them up when running for your life. They will not just fall asleep in your arms. I dare everyone who thinks otherwise to run a mile carrying one. The first thing you’ll notice is their kicks and screams, telling you they can use their own legs just fine thank you very much.

I think my main issue with the book is that it promises a lot of things and just doesn’t deliver. Potentially good ideas are handled so obviously. Most things are too easy, nothing is truly surprising. The characters are too one-dimensional, the plot and characters lack foundation and seriously p.r.i.o.r.i.t.i.e.s. The romance was the main drive of the story and it was just so cheesy. Blahblahblah… *yawn*. I just don’t see why life-threathening situations should be accompanied by endless make-out sessions. Or by Juliette being dumbstruck by how “hot” her boyfriend truly is. Like sure, obviously that is the most important thing when running for your life.

As I said, I’m still hopeful for the rest of the series. Basically this book feels like it’s just a set-up for bigger things. Like the best is yet to come. Which may be why it focuses mostly on a romance I don’t ship, lacks foundation and feels inexperienced and incomplete. I missed authenticity and there were a lot of character inconsistencies, especially in the beginning. But it had some good parts. I did not hate this. I am optimistic. Bring on the rest.

And please please please please give me more Warner.

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