REVIEW: Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi

Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Length: 338 pages

Release date: 15 November 2011

Amazon UKAmazon US

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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.

For all the hate this book receives, it’s not actually that bad. I figured I’d catch up on the infamous Shatter Me series before the second trilogy kicks off, and I don’t regret my choice. Yes, this is a very amateurishly written novel, but there have been and will be many more egregious word vomits masquerading as literature.

All in all, Shatter Me is cracking comedy and/or a lovely fashion brochure, judging by the covers of some editions.

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Every now and then, it even manages to say something half-profound, like a toddler learning to talk for the first time.

I don’t suppose I can add any ground-breaking discoveries to the existing body of Shatter Me scholarship, so below you can find instead the best, worst and most unintentionally hilarious points of this fine novel according to yours truly. I’m pretty sure I’ve avoided spoiling what little plot exists, but have a whine warning instead. You’re about to enter an emo dystopian future where the guvernment stops horny teens from shagging who they like…and also kills people for fun at some point, I think. But who cares about that.

Here we go, the Shatter Me Highlight Reel:

1. This gem

“I’m trapped.
Slightly terrified.
His thumb brushes my cheek.
‘Life is a bleak place,’ he whispers. ‘Sometimes you have to learn how to shoot first.'”

Han, is that you?? Didn’t expect Tahereh Mafi to take a side on pop culture’s oldest debate, but this book is full of surprises.

2. This other gem

“‘The world is disgusted by you,’ he says, his lips twitching with humor. ‘Everyone you’ve ever known has hated you. Run from you. Abandoned you. Your own parents gave up on you and volunteered your existence to be given up to the authorities. They were so desperate to get rid of you, to make you someone else’s problem, to convince themselves the abomination they raised was not, in fact, their child.'”

yOU’RE nOTHING, bUT nOT TO MEEEEEEEEEEE is all I hear. 6.5/10 on negging, 3/10 on actually getting the girl. Oh…wait. Still think Han’s kid did it better, though, considering that Shatter Me at this paragraph is basically a parody of itself.

3. This…nah, this is pretty low effort, to be honest

“I notice another tank patrolling the area not 100 feet away, but I don’t think it sees us. Adam is driving without headlights, presumably to draw as little attention as possible.”

I guess he missed the road safety PSAs back in driving lessons. Classic Adam.

4. Damn, Juliet(te)

“I grew up with nothing and I didn’t hate it. I didn’t want the clothes or the perfect shoes or the expensive anything. I didn’t want to be draped in silk. All I ever wanted was to reach out and touch another human being not just with my hands but with my heart.”

Can you feel the hormones tonight? Well said though, this is one of the most articulate and therefore sympathetic passages in the entire novel.

5. If only things stayed this way…

“I think Warner thinks that I understand. That I understand him.
And I do. And I don’t.
Because we’re not the same.
I want to be better.”

Having exposed myself to spoilers of the whole trilogy long ago, I really, honestly, truly wish that Juliette’s feelings had stayed this way.

6. Basically all of Warner, in general

There have been enough comments about Warner, ranging from the mildly skeptical to the downright fanatic. I admit, a big part of my reason for getting round to Shatter Me was that I wanted to see what all the fuss was about.

This is how I felt:

is that it

If you’re into tortured bad boys who are redeemed by their love for a beautiful, pure, inexplicably good heroine, you could just have read The Forbidden Game; Julian did all that better. If you’re into a misunderstood villain who gradually reveals the true motives behind his seemingly atrocious actions, you can now read A Court of Thorns and Roses; that’s Rhys in a nutshell. (Yes, I know ACOTAR came out after Shatter Me, which is why I say you can go for it now.)

If you just want some good ole’ “my kidnapper is hawt and I want him bad even though he’s literally Hitler”, then may I point you to the World Wide Web. You can…find your own way from there.

You get the idea.

Mafi could not have written a more uncomfortable villain/love interest than Warner if she’d tried. This man is how all neckbeards and Nice Guys see themselves–would treat m’lady “like a queen” (he actually says that) but neg her whenever convenient anyways, except instead of looking like a basement dweller, he’s described as the most flawless guy you’ve ever laid eyes on. Sure, whatever floats your boat:

description

As usual, Adam, the childhood vanilla corner of this love triangle, is bland as congee and exactly zero people’s definition of attractive. I can’t criticise too harshly here because writing a Peeta and making him compelling is a real challenge, sort of like untying the Meereenese Knot. Of course, this is where you wonder if just scrapping the love triangle entirely would be a great first step.

But nah…there’s no way we can have a YA novel without a love triangle that’s published before 2013, right?

*Thanks to Egmont Publishing and NetGalley for providing a review copy of this book! All opinions represented remain my own.*

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