Shatter Me: Romance in the time of dystopia. | Book Review

★★★/★★★★★ Shatter Me series by Tahereh Mafi.

This review will have some spoilers since it is a series review.

Juliette has the ability to kill people when she touches them, as other stuff since she does have three books to develop her abilities. She is in a psych ward type cell, they bring in a guy, rescuing and falling in love ensues. She is so alone that she compares herself to the moon.  “The moon is a loyal companion. It never leaves. It’s always there, watching, steadfast, knowing us in our light and dark moments, changing forever just as we do. Every day it’s a different version of itself. Sometimes weak and wan, sometimes strong and full of light. The moon understands what it means to be human.
Uncertain. Alone. Cratered by imperfections.”

Things about the books:

  • Now this book is marketed as a dystopia, and I have to say that I disagree with the term. It is much more of a romance, particularly the last book, than it is a science-fiction futuristic book. Too many books have become romance disguised/advertised as dystopia, and sure, if it were labeled a romance I would not have read it, but it is time for people to stop calling every novel that has some bad society in it a dystopia when it is mostly about who is going to get their socks off. Why you lying? 
  • It is also not a book resembling mutants form the X-Men universe. I don’t think this will ever be achieved, no one can beat the X-Men et al other groups within this universe, but many continue to try. Instead of drawing very bad comparisons, like most people, how about we advertise it as a group of kids with abilities, not the “new mutants,” “Mutant Brotherhood,” or “X-Men.” I don’t want to read a new version of X-Men, I already love it. I want to read a series about kids with superpowers that is not X-Men.
  • The second book was the best one, it is also the longest and the character development seems to finally happened. In the first book we see so little except for a scared girl, a boy in love, and a sociopath. In the second book we go to the root of Juliette, Warner’s desires, and Adam’s true nature. The third books forgets it even had character development and takes them back two-hundred steps into an idiot, a jealous boy, and a mister-steal-yo-girl.

What I liked:

  1. The character of Warner, dude is layered. I must be a masochist for liking a character like him, but since I also like Draco I guess it cannot be helped. He is the son of the Stalin/Mao version of this series, Supreme Commander Anderson. Although his character did fall into a line of predictability (his father whipping him for his birthday, his mother having abilities, love for Juliette), I found myself drawn to his character.  He is a very meticulous man, as well as very fashion oriented, and I loved how that did not take from his cold exterior, and that a boy interested in clothes was not shown to be a symbol of femininity.  “I want to be the friend you fall hopelessly in love with. The one you take into your arms and into your bed and into the private world you keep trapped in your head. I want to be that kind of friend. The one who will memorize the things you say as well as the shape of your lips when you say them. I want to know every curve, every freckle, every shiver of your body. I want to know where to touch you, I want to know how to touch you. I want to know convince you to design a smile just for me. Yes, I do want to be your friend. I want to be your best friend in the entire world.” 
  2. Kenji was hilarious, well funny. His characters was refreshing in a sea of brooding male protagonists and insecure Juliette. He was the comedic relief of this otherwise sappy tale.
  3. Some beautiful quotes: “Words, I think, are such unpredictable creatures. No gun, no sword, no army or king will ever be more powerful than a sentence. Swords may cut and kill, but words will stab and stay, burying themselves in our bones to become corpses we carry into the future, all the time digging and failing to rip their skeletons from our flesh.” and  “Books are easily destroyed. But words will live as long as people can remember them.”

What I did not like:

  1. The writing style. Is it called purple prose? Repetition? Many people loved her writing style, and I guess it is okay, but after a while it becomes so repetitive that I just wanted it to end. Or she writes some sentences that make no sense, I tried figuring them out, I couldn’t.  “Hate looks like everybody else until it smiles. Until it spins around and lies with lips and teeth carved into semblance of something too passive to punch.”WHAT?  “He says it with a small smile the size of Jupiter.” WHAT AGAIN?”….. I melt into pink Play-Doh” UM sure. “His eyes are two buckets of rainwater: deep, fresh, clear. Hurt.” Again, WHAT?
  2. Adam and Warner being related. This is such a cliche! I  was content with having them become friends, for Adam to move on, find happiness, since this apparently never happens anywhere in “young-adult,” instead he becomes the half-brother, and insanely jealous, who can do nothing but fret about his doomed relationship and how his brother stole his girlfriend. I didn’t actually like Adam that much when I read the first book, but I don’t think his character deserved to be treated that way.
  3. Lack of world-building. What world-building?” is more like it. We know this is a futuristic America, there is not that many things to live off of, there is a regime that is not so kind, there is book burning, and people that have evolved powers. That is it? What has happened to the rest of the world? How did it come to be like this? Give some detail. The entire series evolve around these three main characters and their love-hate/desire relationship while the world around them burns. No, give me some information. This is no “The Hunger Games” where the fact we didn’t have such an intricate world-building was what made the series so refreshing and developed because it was about more than romance, no, this is a series that needs the development, because it is mostly romance.
  4. The ending. What was it with that horrid ending. Why would anyone end a series on a cliffhanger? In the end Warner and Juliette end up together and they are about to fight the world, or so I understood, but that is it. Seriously? A teen-aged girl is going to stand with her boyfriend, who the world hates, against the world? What if the rest of the world is good? Well I guess we will never know.

This was my favourite quote:

“I spent my life folded between the pages of books.
In the absence of human relationships I formed bonds with paper characters. I lived love and loss through stories threaded in history; I experienced adolescence by association. My world is one interwoven web of words, stringing limb to limb, bone to sinew, thoughts and images all together. I am a being comprised of letters, a character created by sentences, a figment of imagination formed through fiction.” 


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