Saturday, 12 November 2011

Shatter Me - Tahereh Mafi

Shatter Me - Tahereh Mafi
Grade: YA
Rating: 4.5/5 stars

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. (Description from Goodreads)

~ * ~ * ~

Wow. Once again I am blown away by such a fantastic novel. Tahereh Mafi has captured my attention from start to finish. It was very hard to put 'Shatter Me' down, if I hadn't been so tired I would have read it through the night.

Juliette has been cut off from the world for many years. While she's only been locked up for 264 days, her life has never been smooth and she hasn't had a chance to interact with other people for such a long time. All because of her touch; a curse, a gift...a power. Juliette must learn to understand the reasons behind her power and to discover if she can live beyond the limitations it places on her.

It's a bit strange, but I love the settings of dystopias; the destructive nature of them all and how worlds are so different (and yet not so different) from our own. It's not so hard to believe in a structure were the military rules all and fear dictates the actions of civilians. Juliette's world is just like this; being ruled over by the Reestablishment, who use the fear of contaminated lands and dying animals to control the population, and all in a way that makes them appear to be helping 'reestablish' a liveable environment. Like any good dystopia, there's the hint of rebellion which I hope we'll see more of in the next book, because I love resistance in the ranks!

There's a very strong romance in 'Shatter Me' which I adore. You can't help but smile when it pops up in the story, and there's always room for romance in a good book. I was worried there was going to be a difficult love triangle at first, because two guys show their interest in Juliette early in the novel. I'm not sure we can relax yet on the love triangle issue, but I will say I was Team I'm-Not-Sure at the start, but I'm Team Adam now.

My only issue with the book was in the way it was written. There are a lot of literary techniques used to show Juliette's feeling and thoughts that I haven't come across much in the past, the two most obvious ones being strike-through text and repetitive words and lines (often without commas between them). I understand why both techniques are used; the strike-through text helps us to see what Juliette is thinking or wants to say but can't make herself actually voice and I found that technique really interesting; sort of like reading the narrator's thoughts written in italics, only these ones are hidden or forbidden. The repetitive words I didn't like as much. They were a good way of expressing Juliette's feelings but I felt they slowed down the flow of the book. I kept rushing over them, especially if they were used in the middle of a dramatic action scene, and sometimes forgot to read the triple words and had to go back to make sure I was reading it the way it was intended. Not a huge issue, but I felt it wasn't always necessary and it did interrupt a few scenes.

Techniques aside, 'Shatter Me' is a fabulous and addictive book and I can't wait to see what happens next!
4.5/5 stars

Originally posted on Goodreads


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