Sunday, May 26, 2013

Book Review - Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi

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 am a review junkie.  Not just writing them, but reading them as well.  In fact, about ninety percent of my reading choices are determined by reviews, most of the other ten by e-ARCS or indie requests.  But when I saw Shatter Me pop up in my GR feed, with that absolutely stunning paperback cover and hooking synopsis, I didn’t even check reviews.  I just added it to my must-have TBR list, confident I’d love it.  My favorite GR reviewers weren’t so thrilled by this novel, and after reading it myself, I’m reminded yet again why I put so much faith in their judgment.

It’s because they’re usually right.  Like with Shatter Me.

I have so many issues with this book that I don’t even know where to start, and such a weight of disappointment pressing down on my bookish heart that I don’t really want to.  But of course, I’m going to get my masochist on and do it anyway.

First of all, the characters were a mess.  Seriously.  All over the place.  Juliette especially was a total frigging train-wreck, and not in the intended mentally instable, lonely way.  First of all, the chick acts damn useless considering her hands are literally a lethal weapon.  She lets Adam do most of the work while she whines about how scared she is and how unhappy she is and how much she wants Adam to touch her.  In fact, most of her thoughts are based around a guy’s hotness.  What does she do while running for her life?  Stops to fantasize about kissing Adam.  Creepy sadistic total a-hole Warner threatening the man she “loves” is the perfect time to notice the gloriousness of his body and redness of his lips and beauty of his eyes.  Like, are you freaking kidding me?  I’m not even going to get into the textbook case of insta-love because the other issues with the “romance” in this book were just so much more horrendous.

Which brings me to the boys of Shatter Me, Adam and Warner.  Adam is such a Good Guy that it begins to get a bit nauseating, while Warner is just about the best example of an evil villain I can think of.  And yet, Unravel Me promises a love triangle between Juliette and those two.  Um…how?  Warner isn’t even a “bad boy”, he’s a trigger-happy sociopath with too much power.  But wait, I forgot.  It’s Juliette we’re talking about.  His pale green eyes and rock-hard body are so much more important than that time he tried to kill her boyfriend.

The actual story is the most contrived, predictable thing you can imagine.  It is impossible to overstate this.  Nothing, nothing, shocking happens in this book.  If you have read a single dystopian novel in your life, you’ve read the plot for Shatter Me.  Which in itself is almost impressive, considering how unique the book seems after reading the synopsis.  The character interactions are numerous and repetitive, consisting of Juliette and Adam confessing their love to each other and remembering their school days a half dozen times, and Warner asking Juliette to touch him while Juliette notes how evil and sexy he is another half dozen times.  It does a really crappy job of masking the fact that a couple hundred pages go by in the middle without anything really happening, and by the time it does pick up for the ending, I was so frustrated with the rest of the book that I didn’t even really care.

There were a few very small good things about this book.  Firstly, the writing style.  So many people complain about it, but personally, it was actually the only thing that made it stand out even a tiny bit for me.  Sure, there were a few too many bad metaphors, a few choppy paragraphs, but for the most part the unconventional prose added the only real depth this story has.  The first fifty to a hundred pages weren’t utter crap.  Things actually happened, Juliette was actually interesting, and Adam wasn’t a total cliché of a love interest yet.  But the rest of the book was just so god-awful that the strengths of the beginning exist in my mind as nothing more than a short note in my notebook.

Originally, I was going to rate this book 2.5 stars, but after reliving the novel through this review, it doesn’t even deserve that.  I’m going to be generous and give this one 2 stars.  Disappointed doesn’t even begin to describe how I’m feeling right now, considering how high my hopes had been going in to this one.

Shatter Me - 2 out of 5 stars


  1. This is going to sound awful, but I'm so happy to have found someone else who disliked this book! It seems like almost all of the bloggers I follow loved the romance so much, they were able to set aside every other issue.

    Personally, I could probably get behind this series if Juliette grew a backbone. Unfortunately, it's more of the same in Unravel Me.

    1. You evil person! Nah, just kidding. I'm a bit of a book sadist, too. Love seeing someone with the same unpopular book opinion as me haha.

      I don't know if I'd love it if Juliette weren't such a horrible protagonist, but I definitely wouldn't have hated it so much. She was just awful! Chick can stop her captors with a single touch, and she cowers behind Adam while she fantasizes about him and the guy chasing them. Like, come on! Who does that? Without a doubt, she's what ruined the story for me. Ugh.

      Thanks for the Unravel Me warning. I was thinking about maybe possibly giving it a shot, but I should probably let this series die in my mind and focus on the better books on my TBR list.


As you may or may not know, life is eating up way too much of my spare time right now, so pretty please don't hate me if it takes me a few days to get back to your wonderful comments. I read each and every one from my phone, and they always make my day. <3