Review: Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi

Review: Shatter Me by Tahereh MafiShatter Me by Tahereh Mafi
Series: Shatter Me #1
Published by HarperCollins on November 15th 2011
Pages: 340
Format: Paperback
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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 honestly have no idea how to write this review because I’m not completely sure how I feel about this book. So many people love this trilogy and have been telling me it’s a MUST read. I was told to expect an epic story with great characters and lots of swoons. While Shatter Me has an interesting concept and Tahereh Mafi is a gorgeous writer, I wasn’t completely sold. The pacing was a bit slow, the writing style takes some getting used to and I didn’t realize how heavily-focused it was on the romance. While I usually don’t mind that kind of thing, I was under the impression Shatter Me would be more about the world and the Dystopian society and it just kind of caught me off guard.

Juliette was an interesting character… I’m not really sure how I feel about her. She was one of those characters where I didn’t really like her but I didn’t really dislike her, yet I have no idea why I feel that way. She kind of sat around and let things happen to her; she didn’t do much to improve her situation or take control, but she sure whined a lot about not wanting to hurt anyone – which was admirable of her, don’t get me wrong. I know her mind was broken from all those days of solitary confinement, but once everything started happening and plans went into motion, you’d think she would try to snap out of it and fight. She definitely came into her own by the end of the book, though. It was obvious her fractured mind was finally starting to piece itself back together and I think her character development is going to thrive in book two!

I’ve heard many things about Adam and Warner and so far, all those things are right. Warner seems psychotic and Adam seems too good to be true. Right now, I don’t really trust Adam. I know he’s supposed to be the “good guy” but I have a feeling he’s keeping some pretty dangerous secrets. Even though Warner is the “bad guy,” at least he’s (mostly) upfront about his intentions. Adam just had moments where he was very cagey and evasive. I also feel like I’ve heard/read somewhere that he has a big secret. I’ve mostly avoided seeing spoilers for this trilogy, but I’ve seen some conversations on Social Media and I’ve read the synopsis for all three books, so I have some idea.. But Warner’s just like, “Yeah, I want to use your power against the rebellion. I like you and you fascinate me. What do you say?” I’m sure he has some ulterior motives we don’t yet know about, but for now, he’s still much more upfront than I suspect Adam is being. But Warner can be soooo sick and twisted, so that’s a big negative against him!

KENJI! OMG I LOVE KENJI!!!!!! No, seriously. Kenji is amazing. He’s hilarious and so, so cocky and full of himself. And yeah, so is Warner, but Warner is cocky in an evil bastard kind of way, whereas Kenji is cocky in a hilarious, goofy way. Hands down, he’s my favorite of the guys, though I’ve heard he’s not part of the love triangle, sadly; he’s just a good friend/brother-type character. But that’s cool. If Juliette doesn’t want him, I can have him all for myself ;) Also, the twist at the end and the big reveal regarding Kenji?!? Too freaking cool!!!!!

Another character who deserves a quick (and short) shout-out is James. He was adorable and funny and so cute. He was like this innocent, comic relief who had no idea how mean and dangerous the world could be; yes, he knew to a certain extent because he was living in it, but he was also shielded from much of it, so he wasn’t tainted by how cruel people could be.

As for the rest of the book… Mafi has an intriguing writing style. On the one hand, it’s clunky and stilted and takes a long time to get used to. Every time I put the book down for extended periods of time, it took me awhile to get back into it. But at the same time, her writing was gorgeous and beautiful. I don’t think I’ve ever read a book with such a conflicting writing style. But I’ve heard the writing style gets better – that it reflects Juliette’s character development; as she becomes a little more whole, less fractured, there are fewer strikethroughs and her thoughts become more focused and centered.

Like I said, the pacing was pretty slow, though the book was a fast read, overall. If that makes sense. The middle section of the book lagged and didn’t seem to have much purpose. Honestly, the whole book felt like it was just meant for world-building and character development. It was like Second Book Syndrome but with book one! The ending was pretty epic, though, and picked up a lot. It has me excited for book two, especially since I’ve heard each book gets better and better. The whole twist at the end was just… epic and completely not expected. I’m definitely intrigued and can’t wait to see what happens next.

Overall, while the writing was beautiful and the characters were intriguing, Shatter Me was just an okay read. It was so difficult trying to get used to the writing style, it actually distracted me from the plot itself. And while I don’t mind love triangles and books that focus on the romance, I also didn’t expect that of this book and it’s really thrown me for a loop. I expected it to focus more on the world – which definitely seems horrible, bleak, cruel, dismal… – and I’m hoping it still will as I move forward with the trilogy. And yes, I’m definitely still planning to continue on with the trilogy. I’m actually currently reading the first novella, Destroy Me (which I’ve been told is a must). I’ll have to take a short hiatus (to read some review books) before I read Unravel Me, but I’m definitely going to try to read it soon, while Shatter Me is still fresh on my mind!

And yeah, I definitely recommend this book. I’ve seen mixed reviews, but those who love it? They love it beyond what words can express and a book that has such a loyal following deserves a lot of love! I’m also already excited to see what Mafi does next, outside of the Shatter Me world! Her strange, beautiful writing is hypnotizing and I’m eager to see what her next book world will look like.


4 thoughts on “Review: Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi

  1. I’ve heard people have mixed feelings on this first book and the second book is what solidified their love for this trilogy. Hopefully it’ll get better for you in Unravel Me? I’m excited to meet Kenji ;)

  2. MEREDITH!!!!

    Your review is bang on to what I thought when I read this book like three years ago ;p

    I had issues with the writing style because it was a little strange but eventually got the hang of it. I LOVED the characters you shouted out and *sigh* Warner [you’ll have to keep reading!] also, if you continue the series, read Destroy Me. Trust me, that one has SO MUCH insight to Warner. It’s awesome.

    Great review.

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