Monday, November 21, 2011

Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi

Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi
HarperTeen, 352 pages

"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."

I heard about this novel through the author's blog: Tahereh Mafi is hilarious in all her blog posts and when she anounced she was actually going to be debuting a novel, I sort of freaked out with excitement. Then ARCs were sent out and I heard that it was "break-taking" and "beautifully written."So, to put it simply, reading Shatter Me was a no-brainer.

The plot centers around the main character Juliette. When she touches someone, they die. No one understands why or how this is possible. All her life, Juliette has felt like a monster, as if she's belongs in an insane asylum, as if she's unworthy of living. The story really kicks off when Warner, a power hunger nineteen-year-old claims Juliette for her power. Warner controls an army and plans to use her fatal touch to torture people. I absolutely despised Warner. He was definitely "sick" as Juliette mentions numerous times to him. When Juliette meets Adam Kent, her perspective begins to change. He is the only person that makes Juliette "feel" again and who actually cares. Adam was so sweet and I loved their short steamy scenes together. Juliette was admirable. She has the power to kill, the power to hurt others, yet she chooses not to. She chooses to not be another chess piece in a game.

The writing was more than beautiful. It was poetic and smooth and effortless. None of Mafi's descriptions felt forced or choppy. I also loved how unique her style was. She used strikethroughs to demonstrate Juliette's true thoughts. And creative metaphors to explain emotions. One particular excerpt really shows her beautiful way with words:

"Killing time isn't as difficult as it sounds. I can shoot a hundred numbers through the chest and watch them bleed decimal points in the palm of my hand. I can rip the numbers off a clock and watch the hour hands tick tick tick their final tock just before I fall asleep. I can suffocate seconds just by holding my breath. I've been murdering minutes for hours and no one seems to mind."

Though I did enjoy this novel, I feel as if it fell a little flat for one reason. There weren't any epic surprises. I wasn't too blown away with the plot. Sure, the idea of a girl who has a fatal touch is amazing, but how the story played out did not surprise me. When I read any book, especially dystopian, I yearn for a complete plot turner or crazy surprise or shock or something that has me sitting on the edge of my seat. Sadly, I just didn't have that feeling with this novel. It was beautiful, but not as intense as I wanted it to be. The ending just didn't leave me wanting the next book right away, which is weird for me.

With that being said, I greatly enjoyed Shatter Me, I think I just had higher hopes and those expectations detracted from how much I liked the book. If you're a dystopian freak like me and love poetic writing style, I say read Shatter Me, but if you want suprises and shocking endings, I say look elsewhere. It wasn't a complete disappointment, I liked it, just not what I was anticipating.

4 stars - I really liked it. Worth buying.

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