Review: Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi

Publication Date: November 15th, 2011
Harper Collins
Format: Paperback, 338 pages
RATING: 5 out of 5 Stars


SUMMARY

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. 

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If we were to play word association with this book as a reference, these will be the words that will promptly come out of my mouth: Rogue. Untouchable. Deadly. Beautiful. Sad. Lonely. Powerful. 

This book blew every single one of my expectations which initially left me feeling uneasy. You could not possibly write the first few chapters of this book so exquisitely and be able to keep the same consistency throughout.  But you know, there are only a few instances wherein I’m more than happy to say I’m in the wrong. 

ROGUE. This really is the story of Rogue – that X-men character who can siphon powers with a touch of her hand. But in Juliette’s case, she doesn’t  gain any powers when she touches another person. She simply gets a high from the feeling of draining a person’s life force. I had doubts about how the romance aspect of this book would be handled but the more I got sucked into the story, the more trivial it had become. 

UNTOUCHABLE.  With her beautiful words, the author did a tremendous job of projecting what it was like for Juliette growing up. I was able to sense the desperate fear she felt every time someone would be close enough. 

DEADLY. Juliette is a walking, talking torture device. I don’t think I needed to expend any more time and words on how lethal she is. Imagine going about your life unable to touch anyone purposely or not because your skin is designed to injure and kill. I think I’d readily give myself up and commit myself to an asylum. 

BEAUTIFUL. The thing about Juliette is, she projects a raw and primitive beauty that can only be attested to being in isolation for years. Even now, if you ask me what she looks like definitively, I can only tell you what I can imagine: Green or blue eyes, matted, disheveled waist-lenght hair and in tattered, grubby clothes. I think this is one of the things I liked about the author’s writing. She didn’t dwell too much on being descriptive about Juliette’s physical beauty focusing instead on the ugliness of having to feel like a monster all the time. But to everyone around her, she’s the perfect weapon of choice – just an unassuming girl with a beautiful face. To some, her constant self-loathing dirges may come across as whining but for me, it’s what ultimately makes her good – she’s conscious of her humanity no matter how cruel life had been for her.  

SAD & LONELY. Words couldn’t be more apt to describe her existence and yet she was very accepting of the fact. Actually, this was the underlying theme and tone of the book. Perhaps it was because the setting was in an undefined future where the world lay in shambles and there were palpable bleakness all around. I can only ascribed this to the author’s lyrical and more often, poignant writing. It added another layer of tangible gloom and despair to the over all ambiance of the story.

POWERFUL. There was an added twist to Juliette’s abilities that made her doubly astonishing in my eyes.  Hands down, this girl superseded every single powerful, admirable literary heroines on my list. 

The romance in this book was steamy as sin – delectable and perhaps a bit risqué in this genre. I wish this was written for an older audience because hot diggity, Adam and Juliette oozes with sexual chemistry. Theirs didn’t happen overnight; heck, these two had practically been in love with each all their lives even though they’ve been separated for most of them. They hardly ever spoke but there was a mutual awareness even in their separation. This made their unusual reunion even more enthralling. Adam Kent knows the right words to say. He made my toes curl in giddy happiness and sigh gratuitously like a freaking teenager. This boy is an unadulterated heartthrob.

There are a lot of awesomeness to this book: characters that were both loveable (Kenjie, James) and hateful (Warner); a thrilling suspense that will constantly keep you on edge, and an open ended plot line that paves the way for the subsequent books to the series. Personally, I don’t like the major secrets that Juliette ended up keeping from Adam. I see a major heart fail in the horizon that I’m left feeling simultaneously excited and anxious for the instalment. 

This is one of my best reads of the year. To some, the stroked out words would be deterrent to their enjoyment and as is the prose that uses too much metaphors. But I take it for what it is: a book written by a talented author. I couldn’t care less if this book was overhyped. Frankly, it deserved all the attention it got. 
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Five star review? You know what this means, yeah? Eight letter word, starts with G, ends in Y. Want a copy of Shatter Me? Be the right commenter on queue and you’ve got yourself a copy of this fabulous book in paperback! 

Rules:

  • Answer this question: When TAHEREH MAFI runs out of things to read, what other ‘reading materials’ she indulges in?
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