I got my copy of Shatter Me for my birthday this year, and finally got around to read it after hearing massive hype surrounding this entire series.
SHATTER ME by Tahereh Mafi
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 colour.
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.
I love the title of SHATTER ME, but I don’t see how it relates the the characters or plot of the novel. Don’t get me wrong, I like the title (and it was the title/cover combination which mostly made me want to read SHATTER ME) but it didn’t tie into the content of the novel as much as other novels, such as NEVERNIGHT or THE BOY WITH WORDS.
The cover for SHATTER ME is absolutely beautiful – I love the theme and metaphor of the flying bird throughout. The blue colours are well matched to one another to create a complimentary cover, and the visual poetics match the poetics of the narrative.
Of all the aspects of a novel, plot is one of the most important things for me to enjoy a novel. I began absolutely loving the novel and read around 70% in a couple of hours. However, the second half felt rushed in parts: many things were skipped over, especially with Warner, which I recognise may be addressed in subsequent novels but I would have liked more development towards. I felt as though the novel could have been split into two, with the ending location being explored in a subsequent novel. The poetic narration which I felt made this novel unique was lost during most of the action or dialogue moments, but from the sampler of the next book, the style returns. At some points this made the narration feel a little inconsistent.
Warner seemed a little flat which may be something which is addressed in subsequent novels, but I didn’t really feel any connection to either him or Adam. I would’ve liked more information about their backstories in order to identify and connect with them on a greater scale. Warner’s arguments were very circular and he didn’t seem, to me, to have a great motivation. I didn’t mark this officially down on my review because it may be something addressed later in the series.
In terms of rating, I gave SHATTER ME a 3.5-4* and an 80%. SHATTER ME was super readable and I loved the poetic style of narration, but there were a few issues I had with the narrative and pacing of the plot which dropped the rating from a firm 4*.
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