Monday, September 10, 2012

Review: Shatter Me

Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi 
Release: November 15, 2011
Source: ARC (Gifted)

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.

Shatter Me is about a girl named Juliette. Her touch is lethal powerful. One brush of skin, and you're dead. 

With power like that, it's no wonder she was locked up. People were scared of her potential gift. 

And then she is given a cellmate--her first real human interaction in 264 days. What follows is a story of good vs. evil, the story of a country on the brink of revolution and, and the story of a girl who has the destructive power to end it all. 

Since the writing is highlighted so often, let me address it first. Taherah Mafi writes in a way that is far from technical. It's lyrical and very poetic. At times, I found it refreshing. At times, the writing was mind-blowing. As people say, though, moderation is key. The first 75-100 pages are filled with similes and metaphors that don't always make sense. This book is/was also littered with strikeouts. And no doubt, there are some out there who will find her writing annoying. 

What Taherah does, though, is rather unique. Through her poetic writing, she somehow draws a picture of a fragile and frightened girl. Her sanity is barely in tact, from deprivation of human touch and human interaction. And as Juliette's fragile mind beings to mend and and she comes to term with her power gift, the poetic writing begins to wan. Strikeouts and similes/metaphors become less frequent. 

So, no, I didn't hate the writing. And though I found it excessive at times, I still found it achingly beautiful. 

I didn't have issues with the characters either. I found Juliette relatable, Warner despicable, and Adam...well...Adam is Adam. My biggest gripe comes from the fact that, after reading the last page, I kept asking myself: what happened? The truth? Not much. Beautiful writing was substituted for plot.  I wish more pages had been devoted to developing the relationship between Juliette and Adam. It was a case of "I've always loved you" romance that didn't really gel with me.

But despite the thin plot and lackluster romance, Taherah does end on a great note! It's not a huge cliffhanger, but it's enough to make me desperate for the sequel. It's enough to make me believe that the second book will be better than the first. The ending promises more action, more suspense, more secrets, and more betrayal! And I have so many questions that I hope will be answered. 

Final verdict? Great writing, great characters, but weak plot. Still, Taherah manages to make me want more. How do you do that, brilliant writer, you?


1 comment:

  1. I had a love hate relationship with the writing. At times I loved it and at times the strikeouts got on my nerves. I think my favorite part of the book was Warner, I have such a soft spot for him! Great review!

    Teresa @ Readers Live A Thousand Lives