Saturday, August 17, 2013

REVIEW: Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi

Title: Shatter Me
Author: Tahereh Mafi Website Twitter Facebook
Publisher: HarperCollins
Release Date: November 15, 2011
Pages: 352
Buy It! amazon
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Summary from Goodreads: 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.

First Thoughts: As I am a sucker for strong female characters in unique dystopian stories, of course I loved this book. Even if the story wasn’t as good as it was, the poetic writing style alone would make this a must read - it’s just so unique!

I know I tend to talk a lot about characters when I review books, but I’m going to change it up a bit and talk about the writing first. The writing style used by Tahereh Mafi is so unique and out there that is deserves more than a side note at the end. It’s told through the first person view of Juliette, and wow, do you get some insight into her whacked out mind. This poor girl is on the verge of insanity due to years and years of inhumane treatment and, yet, as the reader, you see her holding onto her sanity by an about-to-tear thread. Mafi does this through an almost lyrical, poetic style of writing. She uses strikethroughs, she purposely breaks the grammatical norms of sentence structure, and she plays with repetition, metaphors, and similes. I got a very Laurie Halse Anderson Wintergirls feel from it. To be honest, it took me a little bit to get used to the style. I found myself rereading and pausing to check meaning often in the first few chapters. After a while, the writing and story just flowed and I was entranced by the style.

I really enjoyed Juliette’s character, mainly due to the fantastic insight into her soul (again, the writing style), but I have to say my favorite characters were Adam and Kenji. Adam is one of those good, I mean truly “look into his heart”, good characters. Too often I feel like characters possess deep dark secrets, making it hard to decide if they are good or evil. Adam, although he has his share of secrets, always has the best intentions for goodness in mind. How can you not like a boy willing to risk his life in raising his younger brother? He actually reminded me a lot of Peeta from The Hunger Games, in that it’s really hard to not like him. Kenji, on the other-hand, was the comic relief. Mafi wrote him so well. He was definitely not a main character, but he was there to lighten the mood whenever the story got a bit too intense. I also liked reading Warner’s character, not because I like him, but because of how sadistic he seemed. He is legit crazy and yet, it almost seemed like even though he enjoyed his power-hungry moments, he didn’t really want to enjoy them. Each character brought his/her own feel to the book, which I felt added to the power of Juliette’s story.

I will say this story took a little bit of time to build up. It wasn’t until the second half of the novel that the pace and action really picked up. I was okay with the pace because the first half was all about the characters (my reading gold). I can see some readers struggling to get into the story, just like some did with The Hunger Games. I encourage readers to stick with it, because the story itself is well worth it. Plus, based on the ending I have super-high hopes (never a good thing) for the second book.

Final Thoughts: Shatter Me is right up there with Matched and Cinder, but not quite at the Divergent/Delirium/Legend level for me. I really liked it, but it’s not all I can think about for days after, like the latter.

Who Should Read It? Fans of the uber-popular dystopian, paranormal trend, which I am a HUGE fan of, should definitely read this. Like I said before, if you liked Divergent, Legend, Delirium, Matched, Cinder, etc... you need to add this to your list; you won’t be disappointed.

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