Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Review: Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi

Title: Shatter Me
Author: Tahereh Mafi
Genre: YA Dystopian Paranormal
Publisher: Harper
Length: 338 pages
Original Publishing Date: November 15, 2011
Series: Shatter Me #1
Where I got it: Audiobook from the Library
Links: Goodreads Amazon Author's Website

Synopsis from Goodreads: 
I have a curse
I have a gift

I am a monster
I'm more than human

My touch is lethal
My touch is power

I am their weapon
I will fight back

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

Main characters: 3/5

Juliette got on my nerves at the beginning of the novel. Mafi was trying to prove a point about her ability, but it became frustrating to listen to Juliette complain about how she can't touch anyone and be so scared. Luckily, I liked the way that she changed. Juliette became much more strong-willed and I loved seeing her ethical dilemma and how she responded. Yay Juliette!

Adam was sweet and kind and everything, but he was a little bland in some ways. I should say, my audiobook skipped out at one point and I missed the entire section on how he helped Juliette as kids, so maybe that would have helped his complexity. Bottom line, sweet but unmemorable.

Secondary characters: 4/5

At first I didn't think I'd like Warner very much, because of the one-dimensional villain aspect. However, as the novel went on, I found that Warner increased in depth and complexity and I ended up really liking what he added to the plot.

Unfortunately, there really weren't that many other secondary characters, which was disappointing. As much as I liked the weird complexity of Warner, I wanted more from everyone else (aka, more James & Kenji please?).

Writing style: 2/5

There was a lot to like about Mafi's writing style, but also a lot that I really really didn't like. Most of the negative aspects, for me, were due in part to Mafi's execution being over-the-top. For instance, the crossing out of the lines was sometimes too much and got a little distracting, but I did like how it gave me insight into Juliette's mind.

Another example is Mafi's intensely flowery language and metaphors. Her language is beautiful, but when these metaphors are used so extensively and overdramatically, it got old quickly. Also, the pacing of the plot was incredibly slow and I got bored quickly.

Plot: 3/5 
As always, I do my research about what others thought of the book (which I'm sure is controversial). I noticed that some people didn't like the fact that this book was both dystopian and had a paranormal aspect to it. To that, I respond the same as I did to the people who didn't like the genre mash-up of Frozen: you complain that you're tired of the same plot and the same genre, and then you complain when an author wants to change it up? I applaud Mafi for the combination of genres, which I think she pulled off far better than another book I read recently, Under the Never Sky.

However, moving on. As I mentioned earlier, there was a lack of exciting action and some things were incredibly convenient happenings in the plot.

Ending: 2/5

The ending took the story in a new direction; one that I didn't care for. This new direction reminded me of another large franchise of movies that destroyed some of the novelty and uniqueness.

Best scene: When Juliette starts taking control of her power

Reminded Me Of: X-Men 

Positives: Juliette's character improvements, Warner, the unique writing style

Negatives: Juliette at the beginning, bland Adam, few secondary characters, way TOO much of the metaphors, similies, etc., the ending

Cover: I like it. Like, everything about it.

Verdict:  It seems like this book is really divisive, but I felt sort of lukewarm. Props to Mafi for trying something new with the writing style, but it was just overwhelming for me. 

Rating:  5.6 / 10 (3 stars)

Your Thoughts: Have you read it? What did you think? If you haven't, will you be adding it to your TBR list? Let me know!

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