Author: Tahereh Mafi
Narrator: Kate Simses
Series: Shatter Me, book #2
Publisher: Harper Audio
Publication Date: February 5, 2013
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Audible
This book slayed me. I was by no means expecting a HEA with this being only the second book in the series, but Tahereh Mafi tore my heart to shreds, after getting it pumping so hard it nearly flew out of my chest, of course. A middle book usually goes one of two ways for me: it can either be a big book of boring history and info-dumping making me reconsider reading the rest of the series, or it can be so action-packed and intense that I don't know up from down when I've finished, leaving me salivating for the next book so I can breathe again. I don't really think I need to tell you which category Unravel Me falls in.
I'll be honest, I hadn't quite felt the connection to the characters I was looking for in Shatter Me. I just didn't get to know them as well as I would have liked, despite being constantly inside Juliette's head. I never quite fully shipped Juliette and Adam as a couple either because I never felt their connection to each other, but I'm probably the only one who feels that way. Which made it all the more easy for Warner and his novella to sway me to the dark side.
Let's just get this over with and all agree to disagree. Warner is evil. I know this. But in my heart of hearts, I still feel like he has the capacity to be better. He's fallen in love with Juliette, after all, and whether she believes it or not, she is the essence of all that is good and pure in a world gone mad. His ability to love her, the fact that he cares so much for his mother, and his cruel upbringing...all these factors suggest to me that he CAN change. He might not, but the opportunity is there, and I believe, despite his desire to be loved for who he is, that his love for Juliette just might be the push he needs. Granted, after certain revelations in Unravel Me, this is going to prove more difficult than ever.
The swooning over Chapter 62? All worth it. It is evident in every word he speaks, every touch, every gesture, that this man loves Juliette. I could totally ship this romance, if he deems himself worthy to change for her. I'm not sure everyone else will be so willing to let bygones be bygones, but I'm willing to overlook things if a person has truly changed. “To err is human; to forgive, divine.” -- Alexander Pope (An Essay on Criticism)
But fear not, all you Adam fans. He's present in Unravel Me in heavy doses, and we learn a lot about him in this book. I can't say the things I learned endeared him to me, but I understand him better. However, I actually preferred his roommate in this installment. I didn't really get Kenji's appeal in the first book -- just seemed like a major jackass to me -- but you get a better sense of his character in Unravel Me. The smartassery is still ever-present, but it's paralleled by his work ethic and sense of duty. He is truly a candidate for best supporting character.
I can't really say that I learned all that much about the actual world of the Shatter Me series, other than Warner's father -- who is even more of an egotistical jerk than Warner appeared to be in the first installment -- was one of the founders of the Reestablishment and is therefore to blame for the state of the world as it currently stands. Instead, Unravel Me sets itself up more as a character study, rather than doing any world-building. But considering I connected with the characters on every level this time around, I think that was a brilliant decision. I now feel completely at one with this story and the characters. Including all of their awesome -- or not so awesome -- superpowers.
I knew I wouldn't immediately have the time to spend with this story that I would have liked, so I nabbed the audio from Audible. Admittedly, I wasn't the biggest fan of Kate Simses narration on the Matched series because she sounded almost childlike. (But maybe I should attribute that to the writing and not the actual narration?) I had forgotten she narrated Shatter Me, so I had a mini panic attack when I saw that she was the narrator for Unravel Me, after I'd already purchased the audiobook, but I shouldn't have fretted. She superbly portrays all of Juliette's emotions and fervor. Simses does an excellent job narrating all of the dialogue, actually. And the strike-throughs were hardly even noticeable this time around. They really sounded like thoughts Juliette wished she hadn't had. I need to check the finished copy, though...maybe the strike-throughs weren't as prevalent this time around? Either way, the audio was wrought with emotion, and I think I might actually prefer the audio to my own reading in this case. No joke.
Unravel Me was a spectacular follow-up to Shatter Me, full of non-stop action and dynamic characters and BIG REVEALS. Not to mention some swoony, swoony romantic scenes. I was already anticipating this sequel, but after my re-listen of Shatter Me, I was dying for this book. And it did not disappoint!
Favorite Quotes: (um, the whole book?)
“I'm not interested in waiting around and risking the who-knows and the what-ifs and the huge regrets. I want to feel all of it....”
“Sticks and stones keep breaking my bones but these words, these words will kill me.”
“Yeah, bro.” Kenji puts his utensils down. “You are moody. It’s always ‘Shut up, Kenji.’ ‘Go to sleep, Kenji.’ ‘No one wants to see you naked, Kenji.’ When I know for a fact that there are thousands of people who would love to see me naked—”
“I want so many things,” he whispers. “I want your mind. Your strength. I want to be worth your time.” His fingers graze the hem of my top and he says “I want this up.” He tugs on the waist of my pants and says “I want these down.” He touches the tips of his fingers to the sides of my body and says, “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,” he says, he breathes, “never want me to stop. I want every second. Every inch of you. I want all of it.”
“I am nothing more than the consequence of catastrophe.”
“Because if I lower my voice, I won’t be able to hear myself speak. And that,” he says, “is my favorite part.”
“Please don’t shoot me for this.”
“It's hot rain and humid days and broken thermostats. It's screaming and raging steam engines and wanting to take your clothes off just to feel a breeze. It's the kind of kiss that makes you realize oxygen is overrated.”