I have a curse
I have a gift
I am a monster
I’m more than human
My touch is lethal
My touch is power
I am their weapon
I will fight back
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.
This book has been the hardest one to finish this year so far. Which was totally unexpected given the reviews from fellow BookTubers and friends. The main reason behind my difficulty in progress through the novel was due to the fact that I could not relate to Juliette, the protagonist. That, and the occasional crossed out words of her retracted inner thoughts. They were distracting and pulled me from the story.
Now the premise of the book was great, held copious amounts of promise, but the way in which Juliette dealt with her dilemma had me squirming. She came across as erratic, weak and slightly out of touch with reality. Which is understandable given the predicament she found herself in, but lacked the realism… and ultimately lead to a superficial feeling in the developing character arc when she began too find her confidence and strength.
The story didn’t pick up until the last quarter – when the action and pace matched my enthusiasm – and from then on was totally engrossed.
Upon finishing the novel I really felt you could have whittled out half of it’s content and it would have been a way better book. And it urks me that given so many of my peers rave about this book and the series that something major has slipped past me. Even in an attempted re-read I still hold true to my conviction and have to agree that this it the worst book on my reading list for 2014 to date. I will, however, go on to read the second book in the series at a later date and hope for it to not suffer the same damning review. Given that the slow preamble of her origins has already been told and left it open in the middle of a build up to some great action scenes, it should by far surpass ‘Shatter Me’s’ score…
My favourite Character has to be Adam – steadfast in his resolve, a quality I always adore in the ‘knight-in-shining-armour types. Plus he didn’t feel the need to compensate for moments when he was weak and added credibility to his character. I really would have abandoned the story completely if it weren’t for Adam and his compassion and resolve.
Warner, the antagonist, however, followed the same doomed path as Juliette… the first three quarters of the novel I was literally rolling my eyes at how two dimensional and stereotypical he felt. I wouldn’t have been surprised if he had grown a moustache and curled the ends with a maniacal laugh as he tied Juliette to the train tracks. Though in that last quarter of the story we caught a glimpse of something else – a sincerity and a righteous point of view that suddenly sparked my interest. It certainly adds to the potential for the sequel.
Tahereh Mafi’s writing style is quite readable, and I enjoyed her short expressionistic lexicon on the whole, but those crossed out words subtracted from my experience. So did some of her stuccoed sentences used in moments of stress; it gave me the feeling of someone speaking slowly and simply as if you had difficulty in understanding in what they were trying to say.
The storytelling device of Juilette’s power is a fantastic one – a concept that had me picking up the book in the first place. I like the way it is handled in the novel too, yet so much unexplored, and so much too convenient in the novel. I’m really hoping Tahereh has worked out the bugs and really starts to play with Juliette’s power in the sequels. I’m still having difficulty in understanding the world of the novel though, it is sort of dystopian, and wasn’t explained convincingly enough for me to buy into it. I feel that you either have to do a bang on job of setting the scene, or hit the ground running and leave it as a mystery of how it all came to be – unfortunately ‘Shatter Me’ did neither for me.
There are some great quotes – as I mentioned before Tahereh has moments of truly beautiful writing. I also loved the symbolism of the bird used throughout the first novel and how it is woven expertly within the story. All in all it wasn’t a terrible book, but difficult for me to get into.
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