Thursday, December 15, 2011

Review: Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi

Thursday, December 15, 2011 with No comments
Shatter Me (Shatter Me, #1)Title:  Shatter Me
Author:  Tahereh Mafi
Series:  Shatter Me
Publisher:  Harper/HarperCollins
Publication Date:  November 15, 2011
Source:  purchased
Links:  Amazon | Goodreads
Rating:  Photobucket

From Goodreads:

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.

In this electrifying debut, Tahereh Mafi presents a world as riveting as The Hunger Games and a superhero story as thrilling as The X-Men. Full of pulse-pounding romance, intoxicating villainy, and high-stakes choices, Shatter Me is a fresh and original dystopian novel—with a paranormal twist—that will leave readers anxiously awaiting its sequel.

I read Shatter Me as a buddy read, and both the buddy and I had plowed through this novel within the span of two days. The pacing was quick and the suspense aplenty. The gorgeous cover grabbed my attention but the beautiful writing kept it.

I really liked the use of the strike-through throughout the book. I like what each strike-through represented to me: that society could try to dictate what she was and her place in the world but she still had free will, still had a choice in the matter. The writing was exceptional, as was the imagery. At times, the prose was a little verbose where it could have been more succinct and still had the same effect, and at other times, the simplicity of the descriptions was somehow more effectual in achieving the desired result.

Juliette is likeable enough, and her character is familiar, as well, but there’s something about her that makes her stand out. Maybe it’s because she’s so down-trodden from the onset of the novel, and most heroines in this type of book seem to hit the ground running, meaning they show little weakness in the beginning, but the reader gets glimpses of it throughout the novel. In Shatter Me, our protagonist has all but given up when we first meet her. She’s not expecting much from life after having been thrown in prison for a crime she did not mean to commit. But she’s given a chance to change that, and then her character really shines through. She just has to come to terms with her power.

The romance in this novel was a little different. They hadn’t just met, as in so many insta-love stories, which is a definite plus. Juliette didn’t immediately show a fondness for Adam, though she did let herself remember her feelings for the boy she once knew. I wasn’t as big a fan of Adam’s as I had expected to be, either. I actually found myself hoping that maybe Warner was a better match for Juliette. But I do tend to find the hot villains attractive. That lit bit up there in the summary about “intoxicating villainy”…yeah, that’s probably the best way to describe it. Warner was dangerous and sexy, whereas Adam was beautiful and good. I should be drawn to Adam’s character, but I find myself hoping that Warner will turn out not to be as bad as he seems. Though, from what we discover in this first novel, that seems unlikely.

I loved the superhero-angle the book decidedly took toward the end. I know what others are comparing Shatter Me to – it’s actually right up there in the summary – and that’s a pretty apt comparison. Despite the similarities, though, Tahereh Mafi has created a world of her own for our heroine, one in disrepair and in need of saving. This novel reads more like a superhero dystopian than the comic books I read as a kid, so don’t let that comparison sway you from checking out this book.


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