Friday, December 30, 2011

Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi

Publisher: Harper Teen
Age: Young Adult
Species: Human/Exceptional Human
Rating: 5/5
Interest: Book Buzz/ Anticipated Book/ Special Ability
Source: Arc from Harper Collins

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 would love to write the most beautiful and breathtaking review for Shatter Me. I wish the words would flow easily into the proper order from my fingertips, but they aren't. It is driving me insane to write this review. I've started it about 20 times by now and deleted every single version. Nothing seems to sound right when I try to describe Shatter Me. Saying I loved it, or it was good, doesn't seem to do the book justice for me. This review might a little rough around the edges because of that.

I'd never really noticed the beauty of words or phrases until I started reading authors like Maggie Stiefvater, John Green, Issac Marrion and now Tahereh Mafi. I didn't realize beautiful writing or poetic writing could exist outside of Shakespearean writing or poetry itself. These authors, especially Tahereh Mafi have an extraordinary talent of using the most wonderful words to create the most unlikely and beautiful phrases. For some people, this is a huge turn off from books, eloquent phrases can quickly develop into flowery wording with no use other than to use up as many adjectives as possible. However, I don't think Mafi does that. At certain points, the descriptions could have been a bit more concise, but it's not a parade of unnecessary words, page after page. I got completely caught up in the absolute loveliness of Mafi's prose. I'd honestly copy almost every single word and phrase from that book into this blog post to show you all. (Except for that would be book piracy which is not only illegal, but despicable.)

Some people I've encountered call Juliette a "weak" or "weak-willed" character. They call her a useless heroine that doesn't know what she's doing. If I were less than a well-mannered woman, I would be severely tempted to spit in those people's eyes. Juliette is not weak. I'll grant she's hesitant and skittish, but never weak. She's been in solitary confinement in a horrifying mental institution for almost a year. She hasn't talked to or touched anyone in all that time. She feels she's a monster, that no one on the entire planet cares about. Yet, she still strives to be a good person, she still puts others before herself. If it were me, I probably would have gone entirely insane and killed myself. Juliette may cry, she may despair, she may not have the body strength to lift a single weight, but she does have hope, the will to fight, and people she'd die to protect. As far as I'm concerned, those are the only things a girl's ever needed to have in order to be ranked a badass in the literary world.

Adam, oh man, I loved him. It was impossible not to, the way Juliette spoke about him. He seemed so honorable, fierce and totally sexy. I would want him at my side in a crisis. He was so solid, always able to think and persevere his way out of a bad situation. Mafi really reeled me in to Adam's side when she showed some of his vulnerability. He never appeared like some emo or tortured, angst-filled guy, mind you, but I liked seeing his softer side in contrast to his harsh military man persona. (Spoilerish: Dear lord, his chemistry with Juliette was beyond amazing, steamy, steamy, steamy scenes ahead.)

With Warner... I keep on hearing about how many people like him. Or, how they're concerned about liking him even though he's "the bad guy" or that they feel sympathetic toward him. Regarding that, I think there was some secret subtext that I completely did not pick up on. I extremely dislike Warner. He was a spoiled brat that tortured innocent people to coerce Juliette into giving up on humanity. He was a bully with an obsession that didn't want anyone else to play with his toys. I practically screamed at him when he did some of his more sinister misdeeds. I cannot fathom why people like him, is he just charismatic? I fully respect other's opinions of him, but I just can't help asking what I've missed that makes him so endearing to readers?

I am so excited to get my hands on the next book in the Shatter Me trilogy, just to get to know more about the side characters. There are so many I loved, but probably shouldn't talk about because I'd end up spoiling a lot of things in explaining why I like them. The twins, Adam's "buddy", a little boy and a doctor were my favorites. (I'd be more specific, even give you names if I didn't think it would spoil something.)

This series is one of the most addicting and best reads I've had all year. It will be torture waiting for Shatter Me #2 to come out (or even get a title). If you love really good writing, dystopian reads, kick butt girls, steamy romance and good action, Shatter Me is definitely the book for you. I know the buzz sounds to good to be true, but believe me, the book is every single thing they promise you it is. Tahereh Mafi is fast becoming one of my favorite authors of all time.

(Am I really only allowed to pick one teaser line?)

Teaser Lines: “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.”

(Now, you look me straight in the eye and tell me that is not some dang beautiful writing.) 

Happy Reading, 

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