Being an introvert, I am not comfortable talking to strangers. It is a little funny that I happily chat for hours with people on Instagram. The Shatter Me series was recommended to me by a fellow Bookstagram member. We share similar tastes in books so she vouched for this series saying that I would love it. Now, I don’t even know this girl’s name but since she recommended it so strongly, I had to buy the whole series. I have done this before i.e. buy an entire book series without reading the first book and I repented heavily. I was a little sceptical about purchasing this series but for some unknown reason I took the girl’s word and bought it on a whim. I finished the first book in the Shatter Me in one night because the characters in the book are extremely interesting Read on to know what is so good about the first instalment in the Shatter Me series.
Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi
Juliette Ferrars has been imprisoned in a mental asylum because she has the unique ability to suck out the life of a human by her mere touch. She is imprisoned for a crime she accidentally committed. Living in complete isolation, Juliette is convinced that she has lost her mind till the prison officials send a fellow prisoner to share her cell. The fellow prisoner is Adam Kent, the boy she had a crush on in school. However, Adam does not remember her and is mean to her at first till he gets to know her better and tries to be friendly towards her. She, however, pushes him away fearing that she might accidentally hurt him. One day, Juliette is freed by The Reestablishment who feel that her powers can be used as a weapon against those who have been opposing them. Juliette does not want to work for them and Adam does his best to help her get away from The Reestablishment.
Points I Liked About Shatter Me
Engaging Storyline: Shatter Me series has a very interesting plot. It is based in the future when humans have exhausted most of the natural resources and are struggling to survive. Abuse of nature has brought humanity to the brink of complete collapse. Also, uncontrolled use of power has altered the genes of certain humans who now have special abilities that make them different from the others. Juliette is one such human who has abilities that scare normal people away. However, she is also seen as an important weapon that can be used to change the course of humanity. So, Juliette is like an important superhero who can bring about a revolution that can change a lot of things on this planet. I am super-curious to know what happens to her and how much of power she holds within herself.
Intriguing Characters: Juliette’s character in Shatter Me reminded me a lot of Rogue from the X-Men. In fact, I imagined Rogue to be Juliette. I like Juliette as a character. She is caring but lonely. She craves for love and eventually finds it in Adam. Even though people have been mean and bad to her, she does not hold it against anyone and wishes to lead a simple life. Life presents her the opportunity to get back at all those who wronged her but she chooses to forget her terrible past and move on to live a good and fulfilling life. Her choices prove that she is a good person despite having it hard in life.
I also like Warner’s character as, for now, his backstory and even his personality are shrouded in mystery. Shatter Me gives just a glimpse into his life and thoughts which generates a lot of curiosity towards him. I am reading the second book mostly because I want to know how his character develops in the story.
Though Adam is Juliette’s love interest in the book, I somehow do not like him much. He may have a pivotal role in subsequent books, and I may come to like him later. But for now, he does not interest me at all.
Points I Did Not Like About Shatter Me
Writing: I try to refrain from commenting on a writer’s writing because what may not appeal to me may be poetry for someone else. But I felt Mafi’s writing was a little inconsistent and at times incoherent. Two instances especially bothered me the most.
In one scene, Adam kisses Juliette and the kiss is hot and passionate. Juliette says, ‘He’s kissing away the pain, hurt, the years of self-loathing, the insecurities, the dashed hopes for a future I always pictured as obsolete.’ I understand him kissing away her self-loathing, insecurities, and dashed hopes for a future because he is the first guy who has touched her emotionally and literally. But does his proximity really wipe away all the painful years she has spent being isolated? Since when did kisses become so potent?
Similarly, in another scene, she praises Adam’s eyelashes saying that girls would kill to have such beautiful lashes. Juliette is supposed to have spent her whole life in isolation and has never had a friend. She despises herself so much that she does not even peek into the mirror to look at her own reflection. Then how does she know what girls like and what they don’t? How can she even appreciate his beauty when she is least interested in people’s appearance.
I understand that the narrator of the story is a girl who may not be very well educated and being ill-treated for years must have got to her which is why she does not speak immaculately. But as a reader, I found it too annoying to read a poor attempt at supposed prose poetry.
Even the love scene was described too melodramatically. Sometimes, when I read a beautifully written love scene I wish I had written it and then there are some scenes I wish I had never read. Mafi’s love scenes for me were the ones I wish I hadn’t read because honestly, they were haphazard.
Final View: Shatter Me is certainly not the best written dystopian book series out there but it surely has an intriguing plot and interesting characters. Despite its flaws, I liked the book and would recommend it to all who like reading fantasy fiction and do not mind sloppy writing.