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Thursday, 22 March 2012

Book Review: Shatter Me - Tahereh Mafi

Published November 15 2011 by Harper Collins

Goodreads Description:
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.

In this electrifying debut, Tahereh Mafi presents a world as riveting as The Hunger Games and a superhero story as thrilling as The X-Men. Full of pulse-pounding romance, intoxicating villainy, and high-stakes choices, Shatter Me is a fresh and original dystopian novel—with a paranormal twist—that will leave readers anxiously awaiting its sequel.

When this book first came out, there was a huge hype for it. Every book blog that I visited had something amongst the lines of: "Oh my god! Shatter Me was freaking AMAZING! Y U NO READ?" After what seemed to be like the 100th post with glowing reviews about this book, I figured that I should probably pick it up and see what the fuss was about. However, the wait for my turn in Holds list at my local library took forever longer than I would have liked, so I didn't get a chance to read it until today. And wow. It's been a really long time since I last read something so good that I wanted to stop everything else and just read it. Unfortunately, I had school, so that wasn't possible. So to my unending agony, I had to make do with reading while on public transit and in between classes. That ruined the effect of the book a little, but nevertheless, I still loved it and finished it within half a day (and regrettably but unavoidable several sittings).

Upon hearing about this book for the first time, I was intrigued by her mysterious power to kill with her bare hands just by skin contact. I originally thought that she reminded me of Rogue (from X-Men... yes, I'm a geek 8D) and I was pleased to see that I wasn't wrong there. Like Rogue, Juliette Ferrars (I keep thinking Ferrari... ) has the ability to absorb someone's life force and feed off it. However, if they hold on to the other person for too long, it could kill the unfortunate soul. Which does happen to Juliette, explaining why she ended up at an asylum. Unlike Rogue, Juliette doesn't absorb the talents or abilities of others (so far in the series, anyway).

As stated in the summary, Juliette hasn't had contact with anyone for 264 days. Not even with her jailers. She is isolated alone in her own cell until one day, they bring in Adam, a boy with striking blue eyes that remind her of someone that she used to know. However, even with a jail mate, Juliette is hesitant with being near him because she initially thought that he was also insane, but we find out that he's quite normal and the two strike up a tentative friendship. Despite Adam's normalcy, it makes you wonder what he did exactly to end up in a place where people lose their minds and the endless screams that fill the night. Soon enough, we find out.

Shatter Me takes place in a dystopian world, where poverty consumes most of the world that Juliette grew up in. Anyone who was different was an outcast, and with her odd abilities, she was definitely considered one. Even her family was terrified of her. No one cared for her except for one boy. And that boy has a huge impact on Juliette's decisions  in the present.

Like I said earlier, I really enjoyed this book and I fell in love with the writing right off the bat. Juliette's initial behavior was odd enough that somehow it drew you in and made you want to keep reading. Tahereh Mafi had a marvelous way of describing the detail in this book and I enjoyed the characters that she created. I could say that Juliette was definitely a brave heroine. She had faced so many terrible events in her life, but somehow, she is still able to find a way to live. Even when she was thrown into a life of misery and isolation, Juliette was still able to keep her mind intact and her spirit. When she was taken out of that life and thrown into another, Juliette resisted the tempting offers that were thrown at her because she refused to be used like a weapon to torture others. Although she wasn't the easiest character to relate to, I could still feel pain that she endured during her hardships after her life in the asylum. And that took a great amount of courage.

And Adam? He has faced his equal share of hardships. Should he be ruled by his emotions or should he follow his duties? To my surprise, he didn't have as much difficulty as I had expected of him. Adam's super caring and very very sweet. Not to mention the amazingly beautiful blue eyes that Juliette has mentioned on more than one occasion. In other words, the perfect love interest.

However, as much as I liked Adam, I couldn't help but have a spark of curiosity for Warner, the book's apparent antagonist. He is the young general that rules a sector of The Reestablishment. Not only is Warner's first name not revealed, but he has no shortages of mystery behind him. Despite his young age (19 in fact), he has spilled a fair amount of blood. Cunning, possessive and cruel, Warner doesn't hesitate to use his men like pawns in a chess game. He would use them on suicide missions, knowing clearly the end result. But he does it to show the influence he has over his sector. In my opinion, he was pretty much a psychopath, but it was oddly intriguing to read about him. He had this sexy, dark, mysterious air about him that made you want to know more about him, despite everything that he had done.

The only part that I didn't enjoy as much as the other parts of the book was in the last quarter. While I had expected tragedy, it somehow turned into a perfect world for Juliette, Adam and the rest of their group. To make it even more unbelievable was the fact that Juliette discovered that she wasn't alone. As a result, I knocked off a few points from a perfect 5. But yes, like everyone else, I would definitely recommend to read it.

Source: Borrowed
My Rating: 4 and a half coffee cups (Loved it)

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