“S” is for Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi


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Shatter Me has been on my ‘to read’ list forever.  I started it ages ago only to set it aside for something else (like writing).  I just recently came back to it and started from the beginning and finished it two nights ago.  All I can say is Wow.

From the author’s website:

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.

This book captured my attention from the very first line:

I’ve been locked up for 264 days.

It only gets better from there.  Tahereh Mafi has created the ‘it’ factor, that thing that makes books unique and different.  Juliette’s voice throughout the book is captivating.  I was completely sucked into the pages! The romance is intense, the writing style unique, and I couldn’t put the book down.

The settings are beautifully written, but Mafi doesn’t use a lot of words to place us where we need to be.  Her descriptions are clean, concise.  No extra words here.  Nothing to bog down the pace.

The story moves along at a perfect clip, and the climactic scenes had me turning the pages even faster.  I found myself shifting to the edge of my seat a couple of times.  Mafi did an excellent job of placing the reader inside the action.

I adore the characters.  Adam and Juliette are perfect together and Warner is an awesome bad dude.  Even smaller role characters like James and Kenji are strong in their scenes, even though they are not ‘on stage’ for long periods of time.  There are some other characters that don’t show up until the very end, but Mafi continues to deliver a real-life feel for each of them.  They have their own unique voices, styles and I felt as if I knew them up close and personal.

The only thing that I felt could have been better was the plot.  It fell flat to me.  I didn’t feel like much was resolved, and I had just as many questions when I closed the book as I did when I opened it.  I didn’t have ‘closure’.  When I think about what I was expecting in a plot and what I got, I was slightly disappointed.

We see that there has been some sort of nuclear blast, but there are people living very near the blast zone.  How?  We’re left to believe the blast occurred not too long ago, but we don’t know when or how.  Juliette was accused of committing a crime when she was younger and she was put away, but where and by whom? (if by the Reestablishment, then why was the Reestablishment looking for her?)  

We find out the Reestablishment wants to use her as a weapon, but a weapon against whom…the innocents?  There’s also a huge hole surrounding Juliette’s parents and Warner’s mother that goes unanswered, yet it was brought up several times.  

Sadly, I felt like I ran breathlessly throughout the book only to hit a brick wall.  In the end, Juliette asks all these questions, the same ones I had, and to a certain extent they are answered, but  not in depth.  At one point I felt like I was listening to a sermon on the evils of humanity.  Those two brief paragraphs jerked me out of the story for a very, very brief moment.  As in the climactic finale of Stephenie Meyer’s Breaking Dawn, I felt betrayed there wasn’t a big fight scene at the end.  The entire novel led up to it.  My heart raced to the very end only to fizzle.  I know there are sequels coming, but I was expecting…more.

Even with the lack of closure (unless you consider the guy and the girl finding each other to be the major plot line), this debut novel by Mafi is well-deserving of 4.5 stars out of 5.  It’s an amazing work and well worth the read.  If Shatter Me is any indication of what this author is capable of, she has a new fan in me.

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10 thoughts on ““S” is for Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi

  1. Hmmmm. Doesn’t sound like a 4.5 star review.

    I was surprized by your rating. Personally, there is nothing worse than a great start, and a mucky finish. I’d rather hate the book up front and shelve it, then go through all the time to read it and be disappointed. This one won’t be on my list. Thanks for saving me the time and trouble.

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    1. I think what I was drawn to the most was the style of the writing. It was unique and the pacing, all the way to the end, was fantastic. Not all books are for everyone. I loved her style, the voices of her characters. The book didn’t sink. I simply wanted something more. I will give the next one a try because I am completely intrigued with the way she connects words, the way she metaphorically speaks. If you want, you can read the first chapter here http://www.facebook.com/shattermebooks?sk=app_165048836915668

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  2. Thanks for the review, Jenny. Shatter me pops up everywhere I look. Finally decided to buy the book . Hopefully it comes in tomorrow or Tuesday from Amazon. Look forward to read it. 🙂 Thanks for stopping by and commenting my post @cecereadandwrite.blogspot.com. Have a wonderful Sunday!

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  3. So I have this book and The Future of Us and I need to return both books to the library in 4 days otherwise I’ll owe overdue fees. Yes, I can recheck it out again next time I visit the library, but not that day, so not a huge deal, but I need to choose. Would you say to stick with this? Or The Future of Us?

    I’ll start reading by tomorrow morning. Thanks.

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  4. I’ve heard some great things about this book, specifically that it’s really hot. 🙂 Good to know that the plot fell a bit flat for you, though. Now I’ll be able to manage my expectations when I get around to reading it. Thanks for the awesome review, Jenny!

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    1. Katy, please keep in mind this is an AWESOME book. I would highly recommend it and do. Just because I thought it lacked a little in the end doesn’t mean everyone else does. And the romance scenes are definitely OMG moments. Have a fan and a cool cloth handy. 🙂

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