Series Review: Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi

Shatter Me Unravel Me Ignite Me

My touch is lethal. My touch is power

Goodreads synopsis:

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.

My thoughts:

Shatter Me is a very addicting series. But please, read it for what it is. A romance series.

Every time I saw Shatter Me being advertised or talked about by anyone, it was called dystopian. And while it takes place in a time where the world is governed by an oppressive organisation called The Reestablishment, it is not the main focus of the series. Not by a long shot. Because of this, I went into it expecting a plot similar to The Hunger Games or Divergent. Sadly, that wasn’t the case.

Some months later I picked up Unravel Me and decided to re-read Shatter Me knowing what it was — a romance story in a dystopian setting. And this time, I was able to enjoy it much more.

The plot of this series is pretty much non-existent. It opens pretending like it has one but trust me, it doesn’t. It quickly gets overshadowed by the romance, and the love triangle. Over the course of the books, things are mentioned and just left hanging and by the end of the series you will have many more questions than you have answers. It bothered me quite a bit but most people seemed to have fallen so deep into the romance that they forgot about it.

The characters are the biggest part of the story by far. And when you’re done with the three books you’ll have three names burned into your memory: Juliette, Adam and Warner. The three main characters and corners of the love triangle that is Shatter Me. You may have another name as well but I won’t mention it because spoilers. I will advise you not to get attached to any of the side characters because you won’t get any satisfying backstory, growth or development. As sad as it is, I speak from experience. The series is all about Juliette, Warner and Adam so you might as well focus all of your attention on them. You won’t be disappointed if you do. They all grow and change so drastically over the course of the three books. I also highly recommend you read the novellas in-between to add even more depth to them.

The last thing that needs to be addressed is Tahereh Mafi’s very unique style of writing. Her writing is made up of very exaggerated imagery that can be difficult to get into but very rewarding if you do. It’s definitely poetic to a fault, but somehow I can’t really imagine the story being written any other way. The other thing is her use of cross-outs. Juliette is a very damaged young woman and her self esteem is virtually nonexistent. Because of this, things are written and then crossed out as she changes her mind. Much like the quote at the start of the review. Like a lot of things with this series, it can be pretty off-putting at first but once you get used to it, it begins to add to the authenticity of Juliette’s journey and growth. I didn’t start to like it until my re-read myself.

I know it seems like I’m not a fan of the trilogy but that’s definitely not the case. It’s just my disappointment in what could have been an entertaining romance amid a great premise coming out wrong. My initial reaction to it was definitely poor because of false marketing but, if you want a very entertaining angsty romance coupled with amazing character development then I’d say this is the trilogy for you. If you want a true sci-fi dystopian series, I recommend you look elsewhere.

As a sci-fi dystopian, I’d give Shatter Me 2-stars. As a romance story however, it doubles to 4-stars.

– GJA

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