May 19, 2012

Review: Shatter Me

By: Tahereh Mafi
Published: November 2011 by HarperTeen
Format: Hardback, 342 pages
First Reviewed: October 2011
Buy: Barnes & Noble//Books-A-Million//Amazon//Book Depository
Add it on Goodreads

My touch is lethal. My touch is power.

"You can't touch me," I whisper.
I'm lying, is what I don't tell him.
He can touch me, is what I'll never tell him.
But things happen when people touch me.
Strange things.
Bad things.
No one knows why Juliette's touch is fatal, but The Reestablishment has plans for her. Plans to use her as a weapon.
But Juliette has plans on her own.
After a lifetime without freedom, she's finally discovering a strength to fight back for the very first time—and to find a future with the one boy she thought she'd lost forever.

Rating: 3/5

Ahem...I love my job because I get ARCs. It's a pretty sweet deal. So, naturally, when I saw this sitting on our break table, I snatched it right up. I'd heard about it and have also read great reviews on it, so I definitely wanted to try it out. Though I didn't have any expectations, I did like this book.

I have way more great things to say about Mafi's writing than negatives, so I'm just going to get the latter out of the way. My only issues with Mafi's style was that I felt she overwrote at times, creating metaphors/comparisons between things that didn't always need it. I rolled my eyes a few times at some lines. And my second issue was the lack of commas between some phrases. This didn't always bother me, as I felt many of those instances worked great, but sometimes my brain had to dissect how to read a line. It got confusing sometimes.

But that's it, really. As soon as I started this, I fell in love with Mafi's overall style. She has an unique voice that's clear throughout and when I'd normally hate strike-through lines, I loved them with this. I felt they worked perfectly. But what impressed me the most was Mafi's ability to create emotion and meaning with her prose. For example:

Raindrops are the only reminder that clouds have a heartbeat. That I have one, too. 

Seriously. A breath-taking line, only one of many.

Mafi was also fantastic at describing the atmosphere and really getting me into it, feeling what Juliette was feeling (physically and mentally), seeing what she was, and even smelling how she was. Great attention to detail without going overboard. And I also loved her motifs and her repetitive use of numbers, though I do wish her editor would have made her pick between spelling them out or not. I could never decide what she wanted to do with that. But, honestly, I can't wait to read more from Mafi.

In general, there was nothing wrong with the characters for me. Juliette was a very strong, very solid lead, with a voice I'll remember, though sometimes she felt a little bi-polar (I couldn't decide what kind of character she was at times). Adam was a nice love interest, and the major-minor and minor characters were all distinct and well-rounded. My problem lied with not getting enough of their personalities. Take Adam, for example. What we got of him was good, but I found myself wanting to really know him. I felt as though Juliette knew him from the inside out, but I, as the reader, didn't.

Warner, for me, was the same way. Like Juliette knew more about him than the readers. Almost as if someone were telling me the story from memory instead of reading it for myself. I felt that way with all of the characters. They were good, but I wanted to see the greatness.

Also, I really wish Mafi would have given the ones with powers (I won't say to avoid spoilers) some more original "gifts." I think Juliette's is fine, but the others just seem so famously used that I would have liked to have seen something I haven't, or a twist on something I have. However, I did like the personalities she gave a lot of them. James was absolutely adorable and I found myself really liking the few characters we met toward the end. I see a lot of growth to come.

In short: For everything I liked about this, there's little something that bugged me. Because now that I'm reflecting, I'm realizing I can't rate a book based off the writing alone, and the writing, for me, was what carried this the most.

This was, overall, a very fresh read. I loved how Mafi throws the reader into the story from the get-go and doesn't try and explain every single thing, though for a few minutes, I thought she was going to try. But she didn't, and...later I found myself wondering more about the world. I just didn't feel as though I got enough of it, or a clear understanding of how the world got to this.

Anyway, I did love the general pacing of this. How it opened and the meat of the story, but I felt the romance was rushed and the of the book. The romance, for me, would have worked perfectly if I would have had more of a background/baseline to go off of. I felt that was skimmed over too much. We got that she knew him, but I never quite grasped their previous feelings for one another. More connections before the blossoming would have been great. And I feel as though I should have been on the edge of my seat with the climax, but it just felt as though it was over too quickly.

Also, while I fell much of this is original in YA world, I do wish the stuff that we get at the end--won't spoil it--wasn't so...copy-cat-ish. It's the only thing that worries me for the sequel, as that feels overdone. However, I did very much enjoy reading this.

Other: Does every book published now-a-days have to be compared to a popular series? I mean, this really doesn't have anything in common with The Hunger Games. That's really annoying. Anyway, I just have to say that I'm probably one of the few who hate the cover. It's shiny and all, but...I just don't like it.

This is one of those books that it's not until I finish it that I realize how much I liked/disliked it. With this, while I was reading, I liked it more than I do now. Still, I enjoyed it, but thinking back, it was just all right. There were many things I loved, some fantastic lines from Mafi, as well as things I didn't care for and lines that either didn't make sense or were way overdone. But it was a good read and I recommend giving it a try when it comes out.

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