Book Reviews 2014 · Dystopian Books · Young Adult Book Reviews

‘Shatter Me’ by Tahereh Mafi

I have a curse

I have a gift

I’m a monster

I’m more than human

My touch is lethal

My touch is power

I am their weapon

I will fight back

1.5 Stars (Rounded very generously to 2)

*Minor spoilers for the series, but I’m sure everyone has read this anyway*

This book was crap I really hated this book. It is so popular, and going on the hype, I was expecting it to be one of the best things I have read this year. I was so desperate to see what the fuss was about, and this eagerness was only boosted by the fact that this book was a birthday present that did not arrive on time, and I was waiting for it to arrive for a fortnight. When I finally got my hands on it, it did not take long for me to start. I have to say, I was incredibly disappointed.

The book is centred around Juliette, a girl whose touch is lethal, and who is trapped by a group eager to exploit her powers. The blurb contains lines such as “she’s finally discovering a strength to fight back” and the section that I have quoted above in my intro. These give the deluded false impression that Juliette actually develops and grows any vague sense of a backbone in the duration of the book. At the start, she was a pathetic, useless girl who did absolutely nothing about her situation but moan and cry continually. As the blurb gives the indication that she grows as the book progresses, I stuck with it, waiting for that change in her. Things started becoming promising. She met a man who she fell in love with. She escaped her prison cell. What did strong, powerful Juliette do? Cry and moan more. She was truly more pathetic than Bella Swan from ‘Twilight’, and that is saying something. She was labelled as a character who goes on a journey and develops. Yes, she went on a literal journey, but her journey as a character was non-existent (actually no, I take that back – she did change; she got more unreasonable). The rest of the characters were hardly any better. Kenji was billed as the amazing, fun best friend. I found him nothing short of annoying; he seemed so similar to every comedic best friend in every book I have read, apart from the bit where he isn’t actually funny. Or nice. Or a good person. His characterisation was such a mess for me, as there were times when I couldn’t believe that I was reading about the same character that I had been ten pages earlier. That brings us on to Warner. Warner infuriated me no end. His behaviour towards Juliette was inappropriate and perverted. If anyone behaves the way that he does in the real world, then they could be arrested for many, many counts. And yet Mafi bills him as a love interest and ‘desirable character’. Yes, that’s right. There were times when I could seriously see him having the potential to sexually assault or exploit a practically mentally unstable vulnerable character, and Mafi made him look attractive, and clearly paved the way for Juliette, HIS PRISONER, to fall in love with him. What makes me even more flabbergasted is the fact that I believe (I haven’t read the other books though) that Warner gets painted as a sympathetic and loving character later on, and who people end up supporting over Adam. Adam is not the best potential boyfriend in the world, but at least in this book he is a decent human being. Warner absolutely disgusted me, and it is obvious that Mafi is going to manipulate the characters unbelievably to make Warner seem like a better man. I’m sorry, but no way would a man who treated Juliette like he did actually become a viable lover (or anything more than a creepy perv), and down to my initial despair at the character, I can in no way endorse Warner later on in the series. The only character I even vaguely liked was Adam. No, he wasn’t the most interesting, but he was a decent character who was doing the right thing (more than can be said for Warner).

I know that many people see Mafi’s writing style to be unique, but I found it silly and unreadable. The constant metaphors were stupid rather than evocative, often making little to no sense, and the strike-throughs practically every other word were distracting and not nearly as enjoyable to read as I first thought they would be. The idea to write in an uncommon style is to be commended, but it needs to be able to be readable and enjoyable, and this was not.

The concept sounded great- which is where 1 of the stars on this review came from – but unfortunately the plot was non-existent for 75% of the book. I just felt like nothing really went on, besides Juliette whining, crying and lusting after everyone. At the very end, it got a tad more interesting, but it was too little, too late. I had lost all patience with the series, and have no intention of continuing it. Sorry, fans.

Twitter @emmathereader

Tumblr www.snapeisourprince.tumblr.com

Goodreads www.goodreads.com/snapeisourprince

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