Friday, March 8, 2013

Review: Unravel Me by Tahereh Mafi

Unravel Me
Author: Tahereh Mafi
Series: Shatter Me, #2
Blurb: tick
tick
tick
tick
tick
it's almost
time for war.

Juliette has escaped to Omega Point. It is a place for people like her—people with gifts—and it is also the headquarters of the rebel resistance.

She's finally free from The Reestablishment, free from their plan to use her as a weapon, and free to love Adam. But Juliette will never be free from her lethal touch.

Or from Warner, who wants Juliette more than she ever thought possible.

In this exhilarating sequel to Shatter Me, Juliette has to make life-changing decisions between what she wants and what she thinks is right. Decisions that might involve choosing between her heart—and Adam's life.

Review


Okay, I'm going to do this review spoiler free and then after I've reviewed the book I'm going to go into spoilers, such as quotes and other things. If you haven't read Unravel Me yet, you can read the review but I highly suggest you skip the quotes. There WILL be MAJOR spoilers. And I'm talking MAJOR.

Short Summary:

Juliette Ferrars has finally found a safe haven at Omega Point, but she's feeling more alone than ever. She's having trouble adjusting to being underground, and everyone she passes in the hallways shy away from her, afraid she'll kill them with her lethal touch. Their leader Castle is trying his best to make Juliette feel at home by assigning Kenji as her training partner to help her harness her gift and learn to control it. Warner is getting closer to finding her now more than ever and Juliette, along with the other residents of Omega Point, are preparing for war. Adam has now discovered why Juliette's touch has no effect on him, but the consequences of his gift are almost more than he and Juliette can bare. In Unravel Me Juliette must make some very difficult decisions, even if they break her heart.

What I liked:

Oh I was so excited to enter back into the world of Juliette. Even though I have a love-hate relationship with the girl, she has definitely grown on me, especially after reading Unravel Me. Tahereh Mafi did an amazing job at growing her character throughout the course of the book. In the beginning she is a very weak, naive, and self-pitying little girl and by the end she is a strong, more confident woman who knows what she wants and what she has do to to keep herself and the ones closest to her alive. I was pleasantly surprised by her at the end, which is a huge contrast to how I felt about her at the beginning of the book. If I were able, I would have jumped in the book and gave her a firm slap across the face and told her to snap out of it. I was also very pleased with how her relationship with the other members of the resistance unfolds. At first she's stuck in a corner and can't seem to figure out how to get out of her depression. She doesn't talk to anyone at all and it troubles her that she doesn't get to see Adam as much as she would like. By the end, the people of Omega Point all love her and she's created friendships with several of the others. I won't go into any more details right now about the other relationships she strikes up but I will below in my spoilers section. I also loved all of the metaphors and descriptions that Tahereh used. She really makes you feel the moment just by describing how Juliette feels about the situation. Tahereh paints a very pretty and vivid picture and I think that's what makes Unravel Me so easy to fall into and emotional. So, so emotional.

What I didn't like:

And now I must talk about the few things that I didn't like about Unravel Me, which isn't a whole lot but I definitely need to touch on it briefly. As I said before, I have a love-hate relationship with Juliette. In Shatter Me it was definitely more of a hate than a love and at the beginning of Unravel Me, I was definitely feeling the hatred flowing off of me in waves. The girl is just so damn frustrating at times. I just want to shake her (even if touching her is a huge risk to my life, I would gladly take it just to knock some sense into her). She sat around for two weeks. TWO WEEKS moping. For no apparent reason. She make absolutely NO EFFORT whatsoever to get to know anyone who lives in Omega Point, even though at the end of Shatter Me she met a few people who I thought were going to make great friends for her. Instead (and it says this in the book) after the first day she was back to her old self. Pitying herself because she can't touch anyone and they all stare at her like she's going to kill them, like she's a monster, and being underground without a window to see outside makes her feel locked up again and claustrophobic and she never gets to see Adam, the only bright thing in her life and because of all of this she can't do anything but sit in a corner in the training room crying and crying and feeling sorry for herself. It made my blood boil. And not in a good way. But then Castle assigns a training partner to her: Kenji. And he is the PERFECT person to get her out of this crazy funk she's in. It's because of this that I started to really like Kenji. In fact, if she could touch him without killing him, I would probably be rooting for him to be the one she ends up with. And the way that things have been going, I wouldn't put it past Tahereh to shake things up and find a way for them to be together. I feel like the other thing I didn't like will be very difficult to explain without spoiling a few things for you so I guess I will leave you with this one little sentence to ponder for those of you who haven't read it: SHE CAN'T KEEP HER HANDS TO HERSELF. For those of you who have read it, I'm pretty sure you'll know what I'm talking about. If not, I will definitely explain in my spoilers section.

Conclusion:

Keeping up with my whole liking-the-sequel-better theme I seem to have going on (this is the second sequel I've read in the past month that I've liked significantly better than the first), Unravel Me will do just that: unravel you. You will be torn apart at the seems, your heart and jaw will fall to the floor. You'll be a hot mess by the end and long after. I assure you, your heart will feel like it's bleeding and beating out of your chest. You WILL have sweat on your brow from all the hot and steamy scenes and you will NOT be able to stop thinking about it. Talk about emotional overload. I really loved Unravel Me. LOVED IT. And Adam. And Warner. And Kenji. And did I mention Warner??? TOO MUCH HOTNESS in one book. Tahereh Mafi can just keep the hotness coming. I won't mind. Really. I won't mind at all. ;)


I rate this book:


The Shatter Me Series

Novella



Spoiler Time
This section is for me to freely discuss what I loved and didn't love without spoiling the book in my review for those who haven't read it yet. If you've read Unravel Me, please continue on. I would love to hear your thoughts on these things as well. If you haven't read Unravel Me, please skip this section!!


Thoughts on Juliette's relationship with Adam:

First of all I have to tell you that I really loved these two in Shatter Me. I fell hard for Adam and I despised and I mean DESPISED Warner. Even if I could justify Juliette with Warner at times, my heart was still with Adam and I loved them together. Now? PSH. Their relationship is so unhealthy it's not even funny. They rely far too much on each other for happiness and it was actually making me sick for them to be together. There was too much desperation and dependency. Here is just one example:
"Juliette," he says, so desperately, catching me around the waist as I back away. His eyes are shut tight. "Please," he says, "tell me what I'm supposed to do. How am I supposed to feel? It's one shitty thing right after another and I'm trying to be okay--God, I'm trying so hard but it's really freaking difficult and I miss"--his voice catches--"I miss you," he says. "I miss you so much it's killing me." . . . "You know," he says, his voice rough with emotion, "I've never had anything like this before. I can barely remember my mom, and other than that it was just me and James and my piece-of-shit dad. And James has always loved me in his own way, but you--with you--" He falters. Looks down. "How am I supposed to go back?" he asks, so quietly. "How am I supposed to forget what it was like to be with you? To be loved by you?"
 I understand that they love each other and that neither of them really know what it's like to be loved. But everything about this whole conversation they have, while beautiful, is unhealthy. He's basically telling her that he can't live at all without her in his life. And at another point in this conversation he tells her he'll take whatever he can get. He just wants her in his life. Meaning he still needs her for his happiness. And that bothers me. It really does. They are both so broken that they aren't okay unless they're around each other. They completely fall apart when they're not together and it's like they put themselves and their lives on hold when their not by each others side and that in my opinion is definitely not the way a relationship should be. They're supposed to be their own person, have their own lives, and their lives should intertwine. They're supposed to be better together, but not fall apart so completely when they aren't.


Thoughts on Juliette's relationship with Kenji:

Even though this is strictly a friends-only zone, I still feel like I need to comment on it because Kenji is an amazing guy. I say this for several reasons: one, being that he's very confident and a well-liked person among everyone at Omega Point. They all love and adore him. Two, he has a fantastic sense of humor and knows how to make people laugh when they need it the most. Three, he knows when to push people's buttons just enough to help them out. He knows just what Juliette needs to get herself going again and he gives that to her. A few examples of this would be:
An example of his humor: "So, what--you just walk right past me? Don't even say hello?" He clutches the socks to his chest. "I'm crushed. I saved us a table and everything."
I glance at him. Keep walking.
He catches up. "I'm serious. Do you have any idea how awkard it is to wave at someone and have them ignore you? And then you're just looking around like a jackass, trying to be all, 'No, really, I swear, I know that girl' and no one believes y--"
"Are you kidding?" I stop in the middle of the kitchen. Spin around. My face is pulled together in disbelief. "You've spoken to me maybe once in the two weeks I've been here. I hardly even notice you anymore."
"Okay, hold up," he says, turning to block my path. "We both know there's no way you haven't noticed all of this"--he gestures to himself--"so if you're trying to play games with me, I should let you know up front that it's not going to work."
"What?" I frown. "What are you talking abou-"
You can't play hard to get, kid." He raises an eyebrow. "I can't even touch you. Takes 'hard to get' to a whole new level, if you know what I mean."

An example of his bluntness: "Listen, Juliette . . . I'm not blind, okay? On a purely physical level? Yeah, you're pretty sexy--and that suit you have to wear all the time doesn't hurt. But even if you didn't have that whole 'I kill you if I touch you' thing going on, you are definitely not my type . . . It's not that I don't care about what you're going through," he says. "It's not like I want to see you all depressed or whatever. It's just that this life is messed up enough as it is," he says. "And I'm sick of you being so caught up in your own little world all the time. You act like this whole thing--everything we do--is a joke. You don't take any of it seriously-- . . . All you do is sit around and think about your feelings. You've got problems. Boo-freaking-hoo," he says. "Your parents hate you and it's so hard but you have to wear gloves for the rest of your life because you kill people when you touch them. Who gives a shit? . . . As far as I can't tell, you've got food in your mouth and clothes on your back and a place to pee in peace whenever you feel like it. Those aren't problems. That's called living like a king. And I'd really appreciate it if you'd grow the hell up and stop walking around like the world crapped on your only roll of toilet paper. Because it's stupid . . . It's stupid, and it's ungrateful. You don't have a clue what everyone else in the world is going through right now. You don't have a clue, Juliette. And you don't seem to give a damn, either." . . . Shame is pooling in every inch of my body. Heat has flamed its way up my core, singeing me from the inside out. I'm so horrified, so terrified to hear the truth in his words. 
Every bit of this is what I've been thinking and feeling the entire time I've read about Juliette. Every bit of that needed to be said to her and I'm soooo glad that someone finally had the balls to say it to her. This is the whole reason that I find Kenji completely fascinating and why he would be such a great match for her. He tells her like it is and keeps her in check. He's not afraid to hurt her feelings or make her feel like an idiot if it's going to help her in the long run (and it does). It is that speech he gave her that got her to finally break and see how she is and what she looks like to everyone around her. I think he would be so good for her.. you know, if she could touch him and all...

Thoughts Juliette's relationship on Warner:

Oh my dear lord, I can't even breathe when I think of Warner and his deliciousness. I know, I know... he's the bad guy. He's ruthless and cruel and cold and callous. But.... he's not all those things and I really think that he's more than those things. And Tahereh Mafi has shown us just that, even though he still has those qualities in him, he has the ability to be more than that. And I think, NO, I know, he eventually will be. He's already becoming a better person. It's very clear in Unravel Me. There are several moments in Unravel Me that showed me how kind he can be, and how wonderful, and just how much he deserves to be the guy Juliette chooses in the end, but this ONE event turned me to Team Warner in an instant. No more questions, no more maybes. No more 'but what about Adam's. I am full-on TEAM WARNER. And this is why. This whole scene (which I'm not going to type it all out because it's several pages; I'm only going to type what he says to her that made my insides completely and utterly melt) is what turned me:
"Juliette. . . I want you. I want all of you. I want you inside and out and catching your breath and aching for me like I ache for you. . . It's never been a secret. I've never tried to hide that from you. I've never pretended I wanted anything less." (Juliette then says "You--you said you wanted f-friendship--") "Yes. . . I did. I do. I do want to be your friend. . . I want to be the friend you fall hopelessly in love with. The one you take into your arms and into your bed and into the private world you keep trapped in your head. I want to be that kind of friend. The one who will memorize the things you say as well as the shape of your lips when you say them. I want to know every curve, every freckle, every shiver of your body, Juliette--" (Juliette says "No. Don't--don't s-say that--") "I want to know where to touch you. I want to know how to touch you. I want to know how to convince you to design a smile just for me. . . Yes, I do want to be your friend. . . I want to be your best friend in the world. . . I want so many things. I want your mind. Your strength. I want to be worth your time. . . I want to feel your skin on fire. I want to feel your heart racing next to mine and I want to know it's racing because of me, because you want me. Because you never. . . never want me to stop. I want every second. Every inch of you. I want all of it. . . Juliette. . . I'm so--I'm so desperately in love with you--"
MY GOD. ALL OF IT. Just... ALL. OF. IT. My heart was about to beat right out of my chest. Every bit of this moment was just so so perfect. I wanted nothing more than to be Juliette in that moment. "I want to be worth your time" he says. "I want to be the friend you fall hopelessly in love with" he says. "I want to know how to convince you to design a smile just for me" he says. Holy geez, how do you not fall for a guy after he says that to you?? I mean, really


Thoughts on how Juliette handled situations:

There were certain situation that arose within Unravel Me, some I won't go in depth on except to say that she acted childishly, foolishly, irrationally and blindly. Now the situation she got herself into with Adam and Warner? She also acted rather foolishly, irrationally and blindly. I mean several time she just went into that euphoric place she goes to when someone is touching her *ahem* Adam and Warner. Because those are the ONLY two people in the world who can touch her, I sometimes feel like that's the whole appeal of them: they can TOUCH her. And NO ONE else in the world can. However, I have read enough to know that that isn't the only reason she has feelings for them, but I do feel as though that is the reason she gets herself into a pickle with the two of them. As I said in my review: SHE JUST COULDN'T KEEP HER DAMN HANDS TO HERSELF. Any time either boy touched her, she just completely fell apart. She couldn't think rationally, like "Oh, perhaps I shouldn't be doing this...". Instead it was "Oh GOD, yes. Don't stop that. PLEASE don't stop touching me." And the second they do stop, she's finally able to see things clearly again, like "BAM!-just-ran-into-a-brick-wall-or-been-slapped-across-the-face-and-had-some-sense-knocked-into-me." It was ridiculous. It happened every single time. In that aspect she reminds me A LOT of Calla Tor in the Nightshade series. You can see my rant about Calla here (there's a rant about Juliette on there as well in which I talk about her very similarly).


Thoughts on Adam and Warner's abilities:

IRONIC. It's so very ironic. Adam's ability is to disable her ability (which he can't seem to do anymore because he no longer feels a threat) and Warner's ability is that he can take other abilities (such as Juliette's so it doesn't actually hurt him; instead he enjoys it). I think Juliette said it very well herself so I'll quote her here: I want to laugh one of those strange, high-pitched, delusional laughs that signals the end of a person's sanity. Because this world, I think, has a terrible, terrible sense of humor. It always seems to be laughing at me. At my expense. Making my life infinitely more complicated all the time. Ruining all of my best-laid plans by making every choice so difficult. Making everything so confusing. I can't touch the boy I love. But I can use my touch to strengthen the boy who tried to kill the one I love. No one, I want to tell the world, is laughing.



Other quotes I like:

"Hope can make people do terrible things."

"He sees what he does to me, what happens to me when his fingers graze my skin, when his lips get to close to my face, when the heat of his body against mine forces my eyes to close and my limbs to tremble and my knees to buckle under pressure. I see what it does to him, too, to know that he has that effect on me. He tortures me sometimes, smiling as he takes too long to bridge the gap between us, reveling in the sound of my heart slamming against my chest, in the sharp breaths I fight so hard to control, in the way I swallow a hundred times just before he moves to kiss me. I can't even look at him without reliving every moment we've had together, every memory of his lips, his touch, his scent, his skin. It's too much for me, too much, so much, so new, so many exquisite sensations I've never known, never felt, never even had access to before."

"Because sometimes you see yourself-you see yourself the way you could be-the way you might be if things were different. And if you look too closely, what you see will scare you, it'll make you wonder what you might do if given the opportunity. You know there's a different side of yourself you don't want to recognize, a side you don't want to see in the daylight. You spend your whole life doing everything to push it down and away, out of sight, out of mind. You pretend that a piece of yourself doesn't exist.
You live like that for a long time.
For a long time, you're safe.
And then you're not."

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-Kelly