Review: Shatter Me (Shatter Me #1) by Tahereh Mafi

Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Format: Kindle ebook
Publisher: HarperCollins (November 15, 2011)
How I got this book: Bought
Links: Amazon Goodreads

Blurb from Goodreads:

“You can’t touch me,” I whisper.

I’m lying, is what I don’t tell him.

He can touch me, is what I’ll never tell him.

But things happen when people touch me.

Strange things.

Bad things.

No one knows why Juliette’s touch is fatal, but The Reestablishment has plans for her. Plans to use her as a weapon.

But Juliette has plans of her own.

After a lifetime without freedom, she’s finally discovering a strength to fight back for the very first time—and to find a future with the one boy she thought she’d lost forever.

My rating: 2/5 Stars – Not good. I did not like it.

Review:

I decided to try this book because of reviews that lauded its unique writing style.  The writing is indeed intriguing, especially in the beginning.  At times, I wasn’t sure whether to call it brilliant or ridiculous, but either way it drew me into the story.

Unfortunately, I became completely fed up with this book about halfway through.  The main character Juliette has practically no agency and is constantly pushed around by the male supporting characters.  I understand that she’s borderline insane (a mindset that is wonderfully embodied in the strange, frenetic writing at the beginning), but it’s not until the very end of the story that she finally gets herself together enough to actually do something.  For the vast majority of the book she is simply reacting to Warner’s antics or being dragged around by her crush Adam.  When she does finally take control of the situation in the last few chapters, it was too little, too late – my opinion of the book had already taken a nosedive.

Juliette’s relationships with the two male leads are also seriously problematic for me.  With Adam, Juliette’s condition feels like an excuse for the pair to be intimate without having to establish a real, emotional connection based on non-physical interaction.  While the author does try to show that Juliette and Adam have had a connection since childhood, it’s not enough to convince me of their undying love for each other.  Instead, their childhood memories just make Juliette seem like a saint and Adam a lovesick puppy.  The antagonist Warner, on the other hand, is more than a little rapey.  He won’t take no for an answer, and the idea that he might be turned into a sympathetic character, perhaps even a future love interest, is sickening.

The parts of Shatter Me that I didn’t hate were lackluster.  The worldbuilding isn’t anything to get excited about, and the final X-Men-style revelation completely failed to grab my interest.  Overall, I give this book two stars for the creative writing at the beginning, but there were just too many other issues for me to enjoy it.

2stars

Reading Order:

  1. Shatter Me
  2. Destroy Me (novella)
  3. Unravel Me – expected publication February 5, 2013

Also reviewed at:

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About Lesley

I love big dogs, ravioli, and all things nerdy. Books are my crack.
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