Book Review | Shatter Me
Title: Shatter Me
Author: Taherah Mafi
Juliette can kill with just a single touch. For the past 264 days, she has been locked away from all contact with another human being, left only with her thoughts and guilt, which are slowly driving her to madness. But then Adam, a boy Juliette recognizes from her childhood, becomes her cellmate and she discovers something amazing: she can touch him, and it doesn’t harm him.
When Juliette is finally removed from her cell, she meets Warren. He is obsessed with her, eager to put her unique abilities to work torturing those who would resist the Reestablishment. Adam is Juliette’s only hope for freedom, but he has a secret of his own that he has been keeping from Juliette.
I honestly didn’t know what to make of Tahereh Mafi’s debut novel, Shatter Me, when I first started reading it. It took me a while to get used to her writing style; at first, the writing has a sort of stream of consciousness feel to it, with too much repetition of the same words in a row. There’s also many sentences throughout the novel that are crossed out, but still readable. I felt this technique was overdone, but over the course of the novel it eases up.
I wanted more details about the world the way it was before the Reestablishment took over. And just who is the Reestablishment, anyway? Because the reader only knows what Juliette knows, it can get frustrating trying to piece everything together. I was finally satiated a little when Mafi gave a glimpse of what the outside world is like now. It still left me with some questions, though. The “world before”, all of its buildings and whatnot, are abandoned. No one uses them. But if their world is anything like our current world, then they also dealt with overpopulation and running out of space to build new places. She never touches on whether or not buildings were torn down or re-used, just says they are forbidden and abandoned. But where would they then find the space to move everyone to?
I liked Juliette, and I liked her romance with Adam. I also liked the introduction of Kenji, who is a big part of moving along the plot. I’m just not sure if those three characters are enough to influence me to read future books in this series. It took me about halfway through before I began to really get into things, and I may very well read at least one more book (or start it, at least) to see if their dystopian world is fleshed out a bit more.
If you’re a fan of the X-Men movies or dystopian fiction in general, this book will probably appeal to you; there are lots of similarities, especially to Rogue and to Professor X. It’s already been optioned for film by 20th Century Fox, and I think it will make an exciting movie.
*I received a copy of this book to review but I was not financially compensated in any way. The opinions expressed are my own and are based on my observations while reading this novel.*