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Review: Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi

15 Nov

My rating: 3.5 stars overall

I think that rating would be higher for someone closer to the target demographic. Shatter Me is a YA dystopian novel where I felt the YA aspect more than in some others that I’ve read.

Synopsis via Goodreads.com:

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.

The book has solid strengths that will cut across all age ranges.

I enjoyed the style of the presentation, where I was plunged into a cell with Juliette, and left to guess as to the details of the world and of her situation. The answers are slowly revealed, but more questions are added.

Juliette is an interesting character, and I was engrossed in her situation as more details unfolded. I could see her growing as she was confronted with new situations.

The world is well constructed, as far as it is explained. There are a number of questions that I’m still suspending disbelief on, and as long as I get answers to the “why” of them somewhere along the way, I’ll be happy. It’s believable that our world could devolve into this one, at least as it is presented in the first two thirds of the book.

There were points where I noticed the beauty of the writing, although this isn’t something I read for. The distinct style does not get in the way of the story.

The primary aspect of the story that made me feel the story was targeted at someone younger than me didn’t come out until the end, and I really don’t feel I can discuss it without getting into more spoilers than I’m comfortable with. All I can say is that it did detract from the story a little for me, but it may not be an issue for you.

There were other pieces that felt like they were targeted to a younger reader, such as the ages of all the characters (it felt natural that Juliette and Adam were young, but the age of their adversary felt forced to me). Many aspects of the characters (and the world) were very black and white, rather than grey (Juliette and Adam are such NICE people, in spite of everything that has happened to them. I actually enjoy that about them, but it does lead to that feeling of a younger target audience).

I’m very much looking forward to the next book, and I’m eager to share this book with my daughter, I’m interested in what she thinks of it.

I received this copy via the author and publisher at the NCIBA trade show.  Thank you to both!

 
2 Comments

Posted by on November 15, 2011 in books, reviews

 

Tags: , , ,

2 responses to “Review: Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi

  1. Novel Girl

    December 4, 2011 at 2:45 pm

    This book had so much publicity. I rushed to read a sample and I’m now waiting on my local library to have the book available for me. I’m almost 21, and weirdly still in love with YA books. I want my next novel that I write to be YA, so this obsession is a good thing, I guess.

    I loved the quality of writing, although I read for the story too. I loved the strikeouts with the words. Something new. I hope this story works out well for me.

    Thanks sooo much for this review.

     
  2. Sara

    February 20, 2012 at 3:07 am

    Shatter Me is one of those books that I couldn’t wait to read. Not only has it been incredibly hyped online, but it has an incredibly compelling concept and a great blurb that screams “Read me!” Being touted as the Hunger Games meets X-men, Shatter Me boasted some of the most unique marketing I’ve ever seen for a YA novel, despite its unknown author and not-incredibly-compelling cover. Being the dystopian nerd that I am, I was completely pulled in by the incredible blurb and was beyond exciting for this title.

    Shatter Me was strangely difficult for me to get into.. Firstly, Juliette spends much of the first half of the novel being completely obedient to the horrible regime that locked her away and seemed completely resigned to her terrible fate. It also doesn’t help that she spends far too much time feeling sorry for herself, calling herself a “monster” and dripping with angst. There were times I wanted to tell her to just get over it. Thankfully, throughout the novel Juliette’s adventures help to meld her into a stronger, better person who is more confident and empowered.

    I’ve also read some interesting reviews that have discussed how much they loved the writing style in Shatter Me. I’m not sure I like it -in fact, I was torn for much of the book. Most of the writing is done in stream-of-conscious style that really gets into Juliette’s head, but left me out of breath by the end of most sentences. It didn’t seem that polished or crisp to me. Again, this did get better as the book went on, but I wouldn’t rave about the writing style here. However, some sentences here were amazing emotional gems that really were beautiful.

    I wouldn’t call Shatter Me the best dystopian novel I’ve read this year, but it’s still worth reading. It’s certainly something different in the genre with a unique style approach that’s unlike anything else I’ve ever read. Recommended for fans of dystopian romance.

    Have a nice day,
    Sara

     

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