Friday, December 2, 2011

Shatter Me

Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi
HarperTeen, 2011
342 pages
YA; Paranormal; Dystopia
3.5/5 stars

Source: Received an ARC through Amazon Vine.

I was so nervous starting this book because while I am thrilled for a blogger achieving her dream of publishing a book, I was also nervous of what I would do if I hated the book (I don't want to be mean!) Plus since it drew comparisons to The Hunger Games and X-Men, it had a lot of hype surrounding it. For me that meant anticipating a story containing a mix of dystopia and paranormal, which has not worked well for me in the past (see Possession). Similarly my opinion of this book is mixed. I didn't like most of the characters, didn't quite understand the setting, and struggled with some of the language but the end really picked up.

Our main character is Juliette, who has been imprisoned for years in various jails after accidentally killing a little boy with just her touch. Understandably this has led her to conclude that she is a monster, especially as her parents had only reinforced that idea during the time she was with them before captivity. She's hurt, lonely, and confused.

One day a new prisoner is introduced into her cell; he is named Adam and they actually used to know each other in earlier years. While he ends up being a soldier for the ruling government, it turns out that he's been in love with her for years and is the first person to be able to handle her touch. Honestly, he seemed a little too perfect but their passion does light up the page.

The last main character I'll mention (since the other two I'd like to note are spoilers) is Warner, a power-mad commander with daddy issues who wants to channel Juliette's powerful touch for his own ends. Although Warner is definitively not a good guy, I found him electrifying and even when he scared me (I felt the only thing stopping him from raping Juliette was his fear of dying from touching her), I wanted him to stick around because at least he's an exciting character, especially in comparison to Juliette and Adam.

Then we have the setting, which seems to be a dystopic one, headed by the controlling Reestablishment. I didn't get a good sense of the world, which on the one hand is appropriate as Juliette has been isolated for so long and doesn't know that much but on the other hand is disappointing to me as a reader of dystopians. I like hearing how the former government failed and how the latter government stepped in; I want to know specifics of how they control and punish the people.

Another point of difficulty for me was the writing style. It is heavy on metaphors, mentions shades of red a lot, and contains many phrases that are struck through as can be seen on the ARC cover. I guess some people will love this but others, like me, will not.

Lastly a spoiler section, which relates to events of approximately the last third or less of the book, which was definitely my favorite section. Juliette and Adam escape from the compound where she is kept and connect with Adam's sweet younger brother as well as with rebels. Those rebels are what have probably drawn the X-Men comparision as some of them have powers just like Juliette. I can't wait to learn more about them. I also loved the younger brother James, who was so adorable but who I am terrified will end up dying, and Kenji, another "mutant" like Juliette-playful but serious when necessary. I also like him more than Adam.

Overall: An intriguing debut with a writing style that is likely to split audiences, with a love story that will capture people, and with enough good books to have me interested in the sequel.

Cover: Is this a HarperTeen book? Then it must have a pretty girl in a dress...although actually I don't really like this dress as white gowns always make me think bridal.


  1. Oh my gosh, phew! *wipes forehead* I'm really glad you didn't hate this one, B! I just ordered my copy last week and it should be arriving soon, and I am SO excited to read it!! I'm a HUGE fan of Tahereh's blog (she's so funny!!) and I've been sucked in by the hype! ;)

    I've heard a lot of controversy about the writing too! Phrases that are stroked out seems so different, but I'm really intrigued as to where the author takes it. Hopefully I'll be on the positive side of the spectrum!

    Awesome honest review as always, B! :) And yes LOL I know!! Almost all HarperTeen books have pretty girls in dresses, but I have to admit that I just LOVE them!!

  2. Juliette does sound like Rogue from X-Men. I am not sure if I will read this. I just ordered a copy for my library so I may check it out sometime next year. Thanks for your review!


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