Book: Shatter me Author: Tahereh Mafi
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.
One giant metaphor.
Tahereh Mafi introduced me to a unique style of writing that deviates from the typical structure of many YA authors, through her use of detailed metaphors and various strike-throughs. These techniques allow the reader to feel Juliette’s thoughts and emotions as they perfectly convey the chaotic mentality and mindset experienced by Juliette, it also enables the reader to comprehend the stability of her mental health; the strike-throughs diminishing as the story progresses, due to the change in Juliette’s state of mind. The utilisation of the strike-through also demonstrates the concept of “words can be powerful”, in that it shows the impact a single thought can have on you. We witness this as Juliette edits her own thoughts, almost as if she is too afraid to admit things to herself or trust her own judgement, choosing to write down the positive and not the negative, “my touch is lethal, my touch is power”. However, while I love this style, the stream of consciousness approach to writing is not appreciated by every reader due to the excessive amounts of lengthy metaphors and imagery which in places overpowers the plot and takes it off track as Juliette’s narration gets too tangled up within her own mind.
In terms of the actual story line, there were some issues for me as I instantly took a dislike to Adam and their romance, whilst controversially I fell in love with Warner straight away and he remains my favourite male character of all time. The romance between Juliette and Adam seemed to rushed to be realistic, with hardly any meaningful conversations exchanged between them. It felt as if Mafi thought she should throw in some romance to add to the story, and although I understand that Juliette would crave a connection with someone after being isolated for so long, I feel it was too hasty and unrealistic, as surely she would be too overwhelmed by the sudden company to actually have a relationship.
Despite the plot taking the reader on Juliette’s emotional journey, we only begin to see her develop into a strong character at the very end of the book, as she constantly needs to reassure herself of her goodness at heart. This is quite frustrating but you find yourself cheering her on when she finally gets there, especially when her sassy side comes out with Warner.
Warner. WOW. For most readers when they begin reading shatter me they hate Warner as Mafi portrays him as the lead villain – but then again there’s always that one villain you love. Warner is such a three dimensional character thats clouded in mystery in the first book, but as the series goes on, he slowly unravels the real him, who many readers now love.
And if you’re still looking for a reason to read this book then look no further than Kenji, a sunshine in a sky of grey clouds, he’s the only character to inject some humour into the story and his friendship with Juliette is one to be envious of.
A last issue for me is that there is no emotional involvement with the city (or sector) at all. I know it is related by Juliette who wouldn’t have much knowledge on this considering that she’s been locked away, but I would’ve loved to know more about the place the story is set. The only places we really gain insight to throughout the series is Omega point and Warner’s political headquarters, yet still we hardly learn about the civilians and real life within the sector.
Be sure to pick up a copy of the book and decide for yourself whether you like the writing style or not. Oh and look out for chapter 55 in Ignite me ; )