My rating: 3 of 5 stars
I’d heard a lot of people talk about Tahereh Mafi’s Shatter Me series, and so when I finally looked up the synopsis on Goodreads I remember thinking, “Oh, now I see why everyone is into this”. The storyline seemed incredibly cool and I went ahead and purchased my own paperback copy of the first novel in the series. Note: this review will contain tiny little bundles of spoilers.
Shatter Me tells the story of Juliette who has been locked up in a dark cell for, well – way too long. She has the ability to kill people by touching them and after the world has been plagued by diseases and is deteriorating, The Reestablishment thinks it is best if Juliette stays locked up. Unexpectedly, a young man gets thrown in the cell with her – Adam, who she remembers from when she was younger. Then another player, if you will, presents himself: a man named Warner wants to use Juliette’s power to exert control over people and grants Juliette her semi-freedom – you know, as long as she does what he says, dresses the way he wants her to and so forth. Yay, freedom! I won’t give too much away, but needless to say, no one would be able to live a life where you’re practically used as an object of power, and neither can Juliette.
The story was really nice to read, I found it to have just enough amount of romance that I wanted to read about and I started rooting for Juliette and Adam. I did, however, get really annoyed with Juliette’s inner dialogue and her thought process. Her weather references, water references – she compared things to each other that just didn’t go together whatsoever and it was weird to read. Her connection to Adam was believable most of the time, but at the same time I didn’t understand how he became her whole world. Sure, she hasn’t touched anyone in over two hundred days and hasn’t had any contact either, but if anything I would be weary of people in that situation.
On top of that, the reveal that Adam was able to touch her – I could’ve really done without it. In fact, I would’ve preferred it if he was unable to touch her. Hell, maybe it would’ve even been cool if Warner had been the one who’d be able to touch her, I don’t know. Just the idea that the love of her life is magically also the one who does not drop dead at her touch – a little too easy for my taste. The author also hinted at a romance between Warner and Juliette by making them kiss and having him mention her beauty several times, but I didn’t think it would actually become a thing. Because of spoilers I have come to realize that it most likely does become a thing in the sequels and that’s… a bummer. I would’ve loved the majority of the series to have Juliette empowered on her own, but that might be me.
Do not get me wrong, the story was not terrible and I did enjoy reading it, but towards the end I felt like I hadn’t really gotten any surprises or “Oh snap!” moments because I’d predicted them happening before. It was a fine read and I don’t regret reading it, but I do hope the sequels are better because yes, I will be reading the other books in order to finish the series. If you’re interested in a supernatural story about people with powers in a dystopian world, pick this one up, you might enjoy it.
Three stars out of five for Tahereh Mafi’s Shatter Me, a story about choosing your own future, even if death is involved.