REVIEW: Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi a.k.a. a “WAIT. WHAT?” novel
TITLE: Shatter Me (Shatter Me #1)
AUTHOR: Tahereh Mafi
PUBLICATION: Published October 2nd 2012 by HarperCollins
GENRE: YA > ROMANCE | Scifi | Dystopia
PAGES: 340pages (Paperback)
BLURB FROM GOODREADS:
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.
First of all, I want to apologize for my bookish friends who adored this book, I tried. REALLY TRIED. But I’ve never been so wrong about a book before and the struggle is just so real..
Before continuing though, I want to say this: Shatter me is a terrible first book in a series that may be really good. I wouldn’t even say that I don’t understand why people loved this because I DO (i think). But I do think that it’s not for everybody. This is me the first half:
There. That’s my meme representation of myself.. And here is why it came to that.
Plot. It doesn’t have any. Let’s move on. ….kidding! There is, of course. It’s poorly executed though. I personally think that this book would be better if they’re in a YA contemporary romance genre. And I just noticed something, this is from my experience and I don’t know if you’ve had a similar experience but most of the time when I ask some people who loved Shatter Me what the book is about, I get more raves about the love triangle. Maybe I should have taken that as a hint already. And I can’t even believe that some mentioned that if you love Hunger Games, this should be your next read.
Don’t even compare it. Although this novel has a dystopian setting and has been marketed as such, the world- building of the novel isn’t fully thought out. There are a couple of paragraphs mentioning the problems of the world and the government that now controls it, but they feel hasty, like they were added at the suggestion of the editor at the last minute. I would definitely call this a romance novel that happens to be set in a future society.
Characters and Romance aspect. Let’s start with Juliette, our heroine and the narrator of the story. Well, to be completely honest, I wanted to smash Juliette’s head in with a baseball bat. See? See what Juliette is doing to me?!
She’s always surprised, startled, gasping, choking and aching. Aching in her joints, stomach, skin, eyes, eyelashes and there’s always something in her throat like a reptile or cottonballs and her jaw is always dropping on the floor. Sometimes, it’s even dangling in her shoelace. Oh and she says things like this:
“They locked me up with a boy. A boy. Dear god. They’re trying to kill me.”
Stuff like this too:
“He was wrong. He was SO wrong. He was more wrong than an upside-down rainbow.”
“Every organ in my body falls to the ground.”
“My mouth is sitting on my kneecaps.”
“Every night there are sounds I don’t hear.”
“I’m blushing through my bones.”
“Warner thinks Adam is a cardboard cutout of vanilla regurgitations.”
“I’ve acquired a full time job choking on the weakness of my limp body.”
I swear, Juliette is making me a violent person. And probably my favorite:
“Hate looks just like everybody else until it smiles. Until it spins around and lies with lips and teeth carved into the semblance of something too passive to punch.”
I tried to symphatise, to even put myself in her shoes, I even considered the possibility that maybe she is crazy. You know, legit crazy. But no.. she still think properly at some point in the book. As a character on the brink of being driven insane by loneliness and starvation for human touch, she had a lot of potential . Again, not executed very well. I understand her actions at the first few chapters, but when she came out of that cell she’s been holed up into, I was expecting some character development. Like, c’mon Mafi! Just some, leave your metaphors for a while and focus on Juliette. But in the end, I still haven’t got any. And if you’re talking about this being a character development, I’d say NO.
“I grab the gun from Warner’s limp hand and slam the butt of it into his face. I’m stunned by my own reflexes. I’ve never held a gun before but I guess there’s a first time for everything.
I point it at Warner’s eyes. “Don’t underestimate me.””
WOW JULIETTE, Y SO SCARY. Also, this girl always makes things hard for herself.
“My jaw falls off”
“A steam engine hits me in the face”
“My head is a piece of pavement and I’m being trampled to death”
“My ears snap off”; “My mouth is sitting on my kneecaps”
“My jaw is dangling from my shoelace”
— all of which, I believe, translate to “I’m shocked.”
“I fall off a ladder holding a paintbrush dipped in red”
“I melt into Pink Play Doh,”
— I’m pretty sure she’s just embarrassed. But that’s Juliette for you. Making every single emotion she feels overly dramatic. Oh and nice to know that Play Doh still exist.
“I always wonder about raindrops.
I wonder about how they’re always falling down, tripping over their own feet, breaking their legs and forgetting their parachutes as they tumble right out of the sky toward an uncertain end. It’s like someone is emptying their pockets over the earth and doesn’t seem to care where the contents fall, doesn’t seem to care that the raindrops burst when they hit the ground, that they shatter when they fall to the floor, that people curse the days the drops dare to tap on their doors.
I am a raindrop.
My parents emptied their pockets of me and left me to evaporate on a concrete slab.“
In short, It’s just raining guys. It’s just raining.
Juliette is supposed to be this tough chick, but I’m greeted with a weak and whiny heroine. For someone with a lethal touch, that’s kind of pathetic. I don’t think I would’ve minded that too much in the beginning if there’d been any character development throughout the book, but by the end she hadn’t changed much at all. Adam is no different. He’s too purrfect for my taste and a total bore. He’s the kind of character who just exist because of the main character. He got me at the first few chapters, he got me swooning and all but Juliette ruined him for me, the way she describes Adam is plain disgusting and smutty and it turned me off. I won’t say anything more, I’m just done. Oh and this how Juliette and Adam’s conversation most of the time
“Why do you love me?”
“I’ve always loved you!”
“But why? I’m a MONSTER.”
“Because you’re good and perfect and lovely !”
“What? No! I’ve KILLED people!”
“I loved you the first time I saw you!”
Now Warner, is a completely different story. Not because I like him or I’m swooning over him, but because he’s a mean and crazy and he made me scared a little. I still don’t know if he’s a genius or a lunatic.. BUT I’M ROOTING FOR HIM. I hate that he’s inlove with Juliette who is a whiny, emotional wreck who just never seems to grow a pair and rise above.
The most frustrating and hated thing about the book is the writing. I adore Mafi, I really do. At first, I thought that the strike troughs are very unique and I was actually excited for it. But then it got annoying and I wasn’t enjoying anymore. Then I found myself asking.. WHAT IS THE ACTUAL PURPOSE OF DIZZZ. And I’m a big fan of prose and poetic writing but metaphors are effective if they’re done well, and in the hands of a masterful writer they can be nothing short of glorious. That just isn’t the case here. They’re distracting, over-used, and, in many cases, downright nonsensical. They make the entire book feel melodramatic, like a creative writing class gone wrong. I know I’m a horrible person because of this but ever since I’ve read this book and I’m feeling down, I read some passage from the book and have a chuckle. It’s just too much, you know? To the point that it doesn’t make sense anymore.
“I saw enough to see what I couldn’t see in the darkness.”
“Sometimes it’s safer being cut by a butcher knife than being scratched by a random scrap of metal.”
“My heart is a stick of butter, melting recklessly on a hot summer day.”
“He drops kisses down my throat like ecstasy.”
“My stomach is a flimsy crepe, my heart a raging woodpecker, my blood a river of anxiety.”
“I can hear our heartbeats in the silence between us.”
And I love you guys, but to those who are asking if I will continue the series, I’m having second thoughts about it. I’m glad you guys enjoyed this, really.
THAT IS ALL.