Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi


Book: Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi.

Series: Shatter Me #1
Pages: 338
Publisher: Harper
Publish Date: November 15th, 2011
Source: Library
Date Started: January 8th, 2014
Date Finished: January 11th, 2014
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Other Books Reviewed: Unravel Me, Ignite Me

 

I have a curse
I have a gift

I am a monster
I’m more than human

My touch is lethal
My touch is power

I am their weapon
I will fight back

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 was a bit hesitant to read this book. When I first heard of it, I heard so many good things about it. That it was addicting, the writing style was amazing, the characters lovable and hate-able, and all the things in-between that you expect with a popular book. However, when I started to do some research on this book like other reviews, I wasn’t seeing the same feelings towards the book. People were saying that the style of writing was terrible, the metaphors never-ending, and repetitiveness of crossed out words were annoying. As for myself, I fall somewhere in-between. I can’t quite make up my mind about it. My feelings about this book were on the fence the entire time, and they still remain on the fence.

Shatter Me is about a girl named Juliette. She has been locked inside an asylum for over three years because she has a sort of affinity in which her touch is lethal to anyone she comes into physical contact with. She hasn’t spoken a word since she has been locked up or touched anyone. However, one day, a boy named Adam is thrusted into her cell. Adam changes everything for Juliette. She discovers that there is something more going on beyond her four walls once the government that has been holding her captive decides that she can be used for their benefit. Juliette also discovers that she wants to fight back for her life.

So the first thing I wan to address is the repetitive run-on sentences that are crossed out. Many people found them to be annoying. These sentences mostly appear in the first half of the book. While it made reading to be a bit difficult, I understood the need for them. Juliette has been locked up without human contact for three years because people think that she is crazy. Without any human interaction, your mind can do many things, and one of them is go crazy. I believe that Mafi wanted to show the sort of psychotic side to Juliette with these repetitive sentences. Some sentences were crossed out as a way to show something that Juliette was thinking, but didn’t necessarily say. I thought that was very clever. By the end of the book, Juliette doesn’t use these crossed out sentences because she is changing. It was a different way of showing character development. Juliette doesn’t second guess herself anymore, and thus doesn’t need to cross out her thinking.

Next, the metaphors and similes. This is one aspect that I am going to have to agree with those who disliked the book. Some of them were brilliant and really illuminated the scene and how Juliette was feeling. However, some of them felt unnecessary and there were others that just didn’t make sense to me. It seemed that Juliette used a metaphor for every bit of her thinking. I understand the need, of having to compare usual experiences to something that you are more familiar with, but it just seemed to be overbearing.

The final thing that I want to mention, is the background story. I had a huge problem with this. This story felt more like a series of snapshots rather than a novel to me. I had no understanding of what was going on outside of Juliette’s point of view. This is understandable considering that the book is written in her perspective, but she came across many people who could have explained what was going on in the world in depth. The book offers little tidbits here and there, like The Establishment has taken over the country, people are suffering, and the environment has been destroyed. I feel like these elements here have become the stock of dystopian novels, and so the stakes have been raised. Authors need to delve deeper into a world that sets them apart from dystopian basics. Because of the lack of understanding of what was really going on, deep within the book, I had difficulty staying hooked into the book. I kept waiting for some sort of explanation that really explained the complexities of the world, but it never came. I am going to give the series the benefit of the doubt and assume that these details will come later on.

Overall, I feel as though this is one of those books that you either love or you absolutely hate it. Theres really no walking the fence, like I was. Unfortunately, I’d have to say I’m a little bit more swayed towards the not absolutely loving this book side, but its not enough to deter me from reading the rest of the series. While some details were lacking, my mind is too curious not to read the rest of the series. I need to know why Juliette is the way she is. I need to know what is really happening in this dystopian world. I need to know how she fights back.

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