Thursday, December 1, 2011

Shatter Me

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

His touch is scorching my skin through the layers of fabric and I inhale so fast my lungs collapse. I’m caught in colliding currents of confusion, so desperate so desperate so desperate to be close so desperate to be far away. I don’t know how to move away from him. I don’t want to move away from him.
I don’t want him to be afraid of me.

Seventeen-year-old Juliette Ferrars has spent the last three years imprisoned. Because of her unique ability to kill a person with a single touch, The Reestablishment has taken her from her non-caring parents and locked her in an asylum where she hasn’t seen another human being or spoken out loud for 264 days. She would know - counting is what she does to stay sane.
I’ve been neglected abandoned ostracized and dragged from home. I’ve been poked and prodded tested and thrown in a cell. I’ve been studied. I’ve been starved. I’ve been tempted with friendship only to be left betrayed and trapped into this nightmare I’m expected to be grateful for.
One day the door of her cell opens and a boy steps inside, a boy Juliette knows very well. The two of them have trouble trusting each other at first, but just as they manage to form a weak bond, Warner, one of the leaders of The Reestablishment comes to take Juliette away, determined to turn her into a powerful weapon. Warner’s obsession with Juliette and the fact that she’s literally untouchable are the only things keeping her alive. Forced to choose between dying and killing other people for The Reestablishment, Juliette will do anything to find a third option, one that includes the boy she’s always loved.

I had no trouble picturing the world Tahereh Mafi created. In fact, when I try to think about what’s coming, that’s pretty much what I see. (I’m not exactly an optimist.) Terrifying soldiers in grey uniforms, grey concrete under a grey sky. Food rationing for everyone except for the privileged few. This is where I think she did an excellent job.

Ordinarily, I view decorative writing as something worthy of admiration. People like Maggie Stiefvater open up new worlds for me, or at the very least add colors that my eyes, until that point, refused to see. But there’s a huge step between poetic prose and beautiful-sounding nonsense, and I’m afraid Mafi crossed the line quite a few times. There were sentences that just didn’t make any sense, no matter how lovely they sounded. On the other hand, there were parts that simply took my breath away, and I loved how innovative and bold the writing was as a whole. All the repetition gave it an interesting rhythm, and the striked out text helped us understand Juliette’s inner conflicts.

I can’t wait to find out what these characters will do next.

He’s wrong he’s so wrong he’s more wrong than an upside-down rainbow.
But everything he said is right.


  1. I went back and forth with how I felt about the writing too. At times, it just became tedious, and yes a bit nonsensical. I'm not always a big fan of lyrical writing, I prefer the prose to be a bit more straightforward so I just figured I was missing some poetic nuance of what she was trying to say, but it seems quite a few other people such as yourself felt the same about some of the passages. I still thought the book was rather exciting though and I look forward to the next one too!

  2. Donna, I puzzled over a few of those sentences and I concluded that she just got carried away. Still, I prefer that over an author who refuses to even try. There are too many authors who refuse to even think about improving their writing: they just throw in a love triangle instead and think that teens are too young and too stupid to notice the difference.

    The story was surprisingly good, wasn't it? I fell in love with the worldbuilding. And I really want to know Warner's story.

  3. Great review. I completely agree with you about Warner - I would love to know his story. He was a bit of a strange character for me. Most of the time I couldn't stand him, but towards the end I almost started to think we wasn't so bad.


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