Saturday, February 16, 2013
Review: Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi
By Taherah Mafi
Goodreads 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.
I had no idea what to expect going into Shatter Me. To say I was pleasantly surprised would be an understatement; it blew any expectations I had out of the water.
Juliette can hurt, or even kill, other people by simply touching them with her bare hands. Because of her unusual power she's been locked in an asylum of sorts. After 264 days without human touch, she begins to believe she's crazy. Then she is given a cell mate and everything changes. We begin to learn about the dystopian world she lives in and the power struggle Juliette is an unwilling participate in.
First and foremost, I have to address Tahereh Mafi's beautiful and poetic writing. I mean, wow. She wrote in such a way that Juliette's emotions come clearly through, but without simply stating what she was feeling. This was especially effective in the very intense scenes where that emotion was fear or desire. There were so many wonderful metaphors. Some made me laugh, some made me cringe with empathy, and some just made me think. Each helped me understand the situation a little better.
The character development of Juliette is fantastic. At the beginning, Juliette is scared, weak, and feeble. By the end of Shatter Me she is strong, brave, and more sure of herself. It happens as a natural effect of the situations she's put in, not abruptly. Her relationship with Adam, the love interest, also happens in a way that feels natural, although it does happen a little quickly.
I'm currently in an environmental science class, and we have been discussing the way humans are overusing our resources. Well, what we have been talking about in class as the worst possible outcome of our gluttony of natural resources is Juliette's world. In Juliette's world flowers don't grow, fruit is almost nonexistent, and birds no longer fly. Nature is dying. And all of that happened within approximately five years. Five years is all it took for the world to fall apart. I really hope this book doesn't become in any way prophetic, because it sounds horrible.
I read Shatter Me as an audiobook, so I have to mention how perfect Kate Simses is as the narrator. Oh my goodness. She was so good at expressing emotion through her voice and always had the right tone for the situation. She also had a decent male voice, though it was occasionally difficult to tell which male was speaking. Regardless, I loved her as the narrator. Unfortunately my library has yet to get Unravel Me as an audiobook, so I'll probably be reading it in print.
I can't think of anything I didn't like about Shatter Me, and I absolutely cannot wait to sink my teeth into Unravel Me ASAP. The world and characters Tahereh Mafi created are compelling, and not knowing what comes next for Juliette and Adam is killing me. I'm also anxious to see more of Mafi's beautiful writing.