Book Review: Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi

Title: Shatter Me
Author: Tahereh Mafi
Published: 2012
Genre: Young Adult Dystopia

Synopsis: 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.

My Rating: Red-StarRed-Star 1/2

oh fucking hell. There is no doubt in my mind that Mafi can compose beautiful prose, there are many lines in this book that are poetic in nature the problem is that the poetic prose cannot save the absolutely bland main characters from their own boring existence.

Our heroine Juliette is BEAUTIFUL – did you catch that because every male that lays eyes on her is hypnotized. Juliette also has not looked at herself in a mirror for 3 years and has absolutely no clue as to her beauty. In Juliette, Mafi gave us one of the most bland, pathetic, weak, clueless girls I’ve read in YA, she almost dethroned Bella Swan. She literally sits around feeling sorry for herself and her predicament, her survival instincts are at 0% and I grew so frustrated with her because her power gave her the potential to be a badass but that’s not capitalized. I had to sit through 300 pages before Juliette finds any resemblance of reason for living. This is the girl who has the power to kill and torture with a touch but of course she’s unsure about everything and the only time she wakes up emotionally is when she’s confronting Warner which were the only scenes that I enjoyed her in but I think that had to do more with Warner than Juliette.

Then we have our dashing by-the-numbers hero, Adam. He comes in as Juliette’s savior:

hairflip_by_dreamworks_charming-d5qduik

He’s smart, he’s strong, resourceful, he wants to protect her, because he loves her we don’t know why he loves her other than she’s so good and sweet and pure and all this other shit give me a break. I understand that they formed a connection as children but this obsession that everyone has with Juliette starts becoming comical. I did not like Adam at all mostly because he constantly underestimates her abilities and enables her weakness and codependency. I also read an entire book have little idea about him as a person other than small bits, it became frustrating and I developed a sort of ennui towards him and his well being. Also, Juliette is constantly describing his eyes in the most ridiculous poetic fashion – girl they’re trying to KILL YOU let’s talk about this ocean-blue eyes at another time, OK??

Then we have Warner who is a classic villain and probably the most interesting character in the novel because we know there’s a backstory there but we don’t see it there and his instability makes him unpredictable. He earned the full 2 stars I gave this book because when he was in the scene I was interested in where Mafi was going. He’s also in love with Juliette, in case you didn’t fucking realize it already, he’s hypnotized by her beauty and determined to have her want him which leads to some seriously uncomfortable scenes and they’re uncomfortable for this reason: Warner pushed Juliette to spark. She had gumption when she confronted him and it was the only times I was rooting for her. In the beginning of the book I was confused because I thought Warner was the love interest.

Speaking of love-interest, this is a teen romance book set in a dystopian world. Let’s be clear because this is not a dystopian novel. Now, I’ve seen this executed correctly – The Book of Ivy was an example, but this one failed because our heroine was so incredibly pathetic. Unfortunately, for me, the lovely prose could not save this book was being incredibly boring.

Mafi ends this book open-ended and I know there’s 2 other books. Now, I’ve heard the series improves dramatically and those people who you think you know will change and that slightly interests me but I’m not going to be running to pick up the next book. I’ll keep it in the back-burner and might read it later.

Overall – cool for teens that might love that romance lovey-dovey save me save me aspect.

 

 

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