Thursday, July 10, 2014

Series Review: Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi

Series Description:

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.

My Thoughts:
I originally picked up the first book because of the cover. I love those covers. So beautiful and original. And the first book was so well done that it completely lived up the expectations I had from the cover. 

So at first Juliette is crazy. I mean, she's basically in solitary confinement in an insane asylum, so yeah she's a bit crazy. It made for an incredible writing style, let me tell you! It's so urgent but it felt like effortless reading. It was just the way I would have thought it in my head. I found myself imagining the author sitting at a laptop writing this in English class because it's clear that she was an English major from the way she plays with language. The imagery was so imaginitive. Well done. It's what made me fall in love with this series.

Aside from the writing style, there is nothing unique about this series. At all. It's a post-apocalyptic dystopian set in the future what-used-to-be United States. With X-Men-like characters. And a love triangle. And a comedic side-kick/best friend. And lots of crying. So. Much. Crying. Why do these characters cry SO MUCH? Argh. 

Juliette is the protagonist. Like I said, at first she's crazy. She doesn't have any friends, her parents abandoned her, she's depressed and lonely and her mind does weird stuff. Hence the amazing writing. But as she gains confidence and makes friends she gets super-duper emotional. The love triangle is painfully dramatic. And then she loses most of her craziness only to become a power-hungry megalomaniac. Oh, and the writing, somewhere in the middle of book two, loses all originality and becomes depressingly average. 

Adam, the first person Juliette speaks to in almost a year, is cute, kind and protective. Of course they immediately connect with each other. But it's so painfully dramatic. All of it. At first I loved the heroic Adam but he got annoying pretty quickly with his possessiveness and drama. 

Warner is basically the second person Juliette meets. I admit that I mostly liked Warner throughout the entire series. He wasn't flat, but he was a constant character; One of those people who knows who is and is what he is no matter what. I like those kinds of people. He wasn't necessarily a good person--he was arrogant and ridiculous--but I appreciated the way he was presented. And while he was dramatic he wasn't quite so over-the-top as Juliette and Adam.

Kenji, of course, was great. He was the perfect comedic foil to all the drama going on. I actually did laugh aloud at some of his comments and antics. I really liked Kenji. Secondary characters were decent but not very developed. 

I did appreciate the way Juliette, as a character, grew and changed over the series. She found out who she was and what she wanted to be, which is great and all. Juliette not being crazy should be a good thing, right? But I felt that the writing suffered for it. The writing style made these books so unique that to just lose it somewhere in the middle felt so wrong. Once in a while I'd catch ghosts of that amazing writing style from the first books but it was very sporadic. And the love scenes were, shall we say, intense. This is supposed to be YA. I would not classify these love scenes as YA. And then it all ended too quickly. And maybe too happily. I want a nice epilogue telling me what happened to everyone and how things turned out in the future, you know? This isn't my story. I don't want to have to make up my own ending. I want it nice and spelled-out for me. 

So overall, I mostly liked it. Juliette's emotional progression was satisfying. I actually felt proud of her for finding herself. These were could-not-put-down kinds of books. I highly recommend reading the first book just to see that amazing writing style. The other two books, you could pretty much do without reading but once you start on this series you'll want to read them all. Quickly. So maybe don't start reading them? I don't know. 

Sexual Content: Heavy (the first book is much tamer than the third, maybe a moderate rating)
Language: Heavy
Violence: Heavy
Drugs/Alcohol: Mild (I think. I don't remember much alcohol use beyond medical purposes)

Shatter Me: 4/5 acorns
Unravel Me: 3/5 acorns
Ignite Me: 2/5 acorns
Whole series:

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