Review: Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi

Shatter Me
Author: Tahereh Mafi
Series: Shatter Me, #1
Summary: 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 just 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.

Review

This book sat on my shelf for ages. Just sitting there. I would often look at it and think 'I should really read this', but I never picked it up. I always passed it right by and grabbed another. I think the reason behind this is because I was so afraid that all the hype over this book was only going to cause me to be disappointed in it. I've seen so many 5-star reviews, people raving about how amazing Shatter Me is and that Tahereh's writing style is phenomenal and how everyone needs to read it. Well, I'm happy to report that I really enjoyed this book, and there were only a couple of things that I didn't like. 

In Shatter Me, we meet Juliette. A seventeen-year-old girl who can kill just by touching. She has spent the past 264 days within a cell. She hasn't seen or talked to anyone within that time and she's desperate for human interaction. She spends her days writing in her journal, looking out the window hoping to see a bird fly  knowing it's impossible (everyone knows that birds don't fly anymore), and trying to block out the fact that 264 days ago she killed someone by accident. But all she really wants is for someone to talk to who doesn't look at her like she's a monster. Finally she gets her wish when he walks in. At first, she's incredibly perturbed over the fact that they've given her a roommate who is a boy. Why? she asks. Why did they give me a roommate who's a boy? And then she realizes he isn't just any boy, but Adam. A boy she knew in her past. A boy she refused to let herself love. During the time they share a cell, neither mention their previous time together. In fact, it's as if they never knew each other at all.

Then one day soon after Adam's arrival, the cell is stormed by soldiers who take Juliette away, leaving Adam behind. She's sure she is going to be tested again. Poked and prodded. But she's wrong. She finds herself in a room with soldiers and a man who is obviously their superior. A man named Warner, who can't be much older than Juliette herself. It is then she discovers just what it is he wants: power. And he wants to use her as a weapon to get it. She begins to refuse, but then she sees Adam. Her Adam, dressed as a soldier. No longer the vulnerable boy in the cell, but a very poised, strict soldier. It is at this point that Warner orders Adam to stay by Juliette's side at all times and to take her to their headquarters because he is sure that when Juliette sees just the kind of life she can have if only she'd join him she'll no longer refuse.

Juliette was a difficult character for me to like. At some points she seems to be incredibly strong in her beliefs and convictions but in others it's as though she isn't quite sure what she wants. She'll be disgusted by Warner's actions, yet can justify them as well, no matter how horrible they may be. And she's so desperate for a human's touch that it clouds her brain most of the time. Yes, I understand she's went her entire life without ever having the comfort of a hug or a kiss or a touch at all, but it's like that's all she can focus on at times. And there are moments that she just can't believe that anyone could actually want her for anything at all. Again, I understand that throughout her life, no one and I mean no one has ever been kind to her. Not even her own mother. But most of the time, I was pitying her. Her desperate need to be touched and wanted was a weakness for her in some areas. In the end, she started to grow on me, but a lot of the time I found her to be rather annoying. I found the way that a lot of things were marked out to be a little bothersome. It was interesting, yes, but I would've rather just read the words with the lines through them. I know it was supposed to be like a journal type thing where she was marking out what she had originally wrote or thought or said but it was a bit annoying to me.

Then there's Adam. He's had a rough life, and we learn about his past and what he's dealt with as the book goes on. We see the link he shares with Juliette and how he ended up being the soldier who was thrown into the cell with her. We discover what he's went through to get to that point in his life and just how well he can manipulate situations in his favor. He's a tough soldier, but he has his moments of screw ups. Some of which get them into trouble, but most of the time he's able to get them out as well. He's incredibly kind and shows a lot of his vulnerability after Juliette finally realizes that he isn't as cold as Warner.

Warner. I don't even know what to say about him. Most of the time I was feeling sorry for him that he grew up in this world where he thought the only thing worth having was power and the only way to get it was to kill people and show no mercy. He was completely ruthless and his only weakness was Juliette. He somehow thought that she could love him and that he could love her even though he has no idea what the word 'love' even means. Juliette even began to feel sorry for him at times and there were moments when I thought she might even choose to be with him, though clearly it was Adam and to get away from The Reestablishment that she truly wanted. And even though Warner is completely vicious and she was disgusted by him, there was still something about him that made her pity him.

In the end, she made her choice and I agreed with it wholeheartedly but there's something about the whole thing that seems a bit off. I'm not sure yet just what that is but I'm sure we'll get to see it in the next installment, which I'm really looking forward to. I'm sorry to say that this book didn't wow me like I thought it was going to, like it did to several people, but it wasn't a disappointment like I was afraid it was going to be either.


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