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Monday, January 30, 2012

Shatter Me (Shatter Me #1) by Tahereh Mafi

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.

First Look: ****It took me long enough to get this. I had it right on my desk, but then it had to go back to the library before I could finish it, and I had to go request it again. Anyway, this looked pretty interesting, so I was eager to check it out.
Setting: *****  It lacked some uniqueness, as dystopian settings go.  Yes, the world was all messed up, presumably because of human warfare and pollution and such.  Apparently the weather was all weird, which might have been interesting, but we never really got to see much of it. 

My problem was: how did it get this way?  When I read this kind of book, I want to know what happened.  I don't want the author to get up and hand it to me this futuristic world and not tell me where it all comes from.  I want to know what happened.  It does get points, though, for not even trying to copy The Giver. 

Characters: *****  I've been mulling this over for awhile, and I still can't figure out if I liked our main character, Juliette.  So we'll start with the love interest: Adam.  On one hand, he had some aspects of likability to him.  We saw how much he cared about his little brother, and how real all that was.  I liked him as the older brother, but on the other hand...  Well, his romance with Juliette wasn't insta-love, nor was it Edward Cullen-style stalking.  But he was Cullen-like in that he was utterly and presumably perfect.  I had a really hard time finding faults with him.  Everything he did was right and justifiable.  He didn't have one selfish moment; it was all either for his brother or Juliette. 

As for Juliette...I don't believe for a minute that she's not crazy.  Though I understand why her mind might be a little off.  I still am having trouble deciding whether I like her or not.  I'm probably leaning more to the "like" side, but I feel like she didn't make enough of the story happen by herself in order to completely like her.  Wow, that was confusing.  To clarify: Some characters let the story happen to them (Let's not name names, but I'm fairly sure you can think of one fairly obvious example for this one...).  And then some characters take action and make thing happen.  That's what I meant. 

Plot: ***** At first, the plot didn't really go anywhere.  She argued with Warner, kissed Adam, got mad at Warner, changed her clothes*, punched a wall, and argued more with Warner.  Yes, she did spent a lot of time arguing with him.  After that, it picked up, which I was glad for.  I liked all the action.  Once they were on the run, I felt like the story had a lot more drive to it, like they had an actual goal that they were working toward.

Uniqueness: *****  I didn't feel like it copied The Giver.   Yes, this is my standard when it comes to dystopians, because let's face's an amazing book, and lots of people like to copy it.  But we don't want that.  All that being said, it really didn't do much to make itself jump out from the crowd, either.  The paranormal thing is about it. 

Writing: ****At first I didn't think I'd like it, but I got more and more into the writing the farther I went.  Some reviews I've seen said the similes were a little overboard, but I liked them.  I liked the flow of it, and especially the crossed-out lines.  Though it seemed like she'd get into crossing things out, then forget about it for awhile, then remember and start doing it all over again.  By the way, Tahereh Mafi's blog is fabulous.  You should check it out. 

Likes: Nothing not already mentioned above. 

Not-so-great: Alright, I've got a few things to address in this section.  1. Apparently, there's a Team Warner thing going on.  Um...someone please explain this to me.  Warner is a psychotic , evil, insane, messed-up person.  How can someone like him? 

2. Where did her powers even come from?  I'm assuming the next book will explain this, but still.  I'd like some idea, because right now it just seems like they appeared out of nowhere.

3. Maintain your purity, please, Juliette.  And Adam. 

Total Score: I enjoyed this book.  I did have my issues with it, but overall, it was a good read.  The writing was very unique and compelling, and the plot drew me in.  The characters were somewhere on the line between so-so and good.  It'll be very interesting to see where Tahereh Mafi goes with this series, because there seems to be a few different paths she could take with it.  Recommended for fans of dystopians.


*Yeah.  Sometimes in books, someone hands a girl a dress and says "Wear it."  And then the girls throw a fit because they want to be all defiant and rebellious.  Although this isn't from a book, Elizabeth Swan** comes to mind on this one.  I never understand this.  Why don't they just wear the dress and spend their time thinking of an actual way to be defiant?

**Hey, I just referenced two characters with the same last name, in the same post.  See what I did there? 
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