“All I ever wanted was to reach out and touch another human being not just with my hands but with my heart.”
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.
Shatter Me is one of those books that everyone keep pushing me to read even before the book is release. Add the glowing reviews from trusted bloggers I know I need to read this book as soon as I can. So eager to get a copy I pre-ordered a hardbound copy online from book depository as well as signed-up to Pinoy Book Tours for this book. But before my turn from the tour and before I get my order from book depository Shatter Me is already available from local book stores, so I end up buying another copy. Getting multiple copies of this book is worth it because the book delivers what it promise and it is worth sharing to my friends.
“The world is flat. I know because I was tossed right off the edge and I’ve been trying to hold on for seventeen years. I’ve been trying to climb back up for seventeen years but it’s nearly impossible to beat gravity when no one is willing to give you a hand. ”
The best part of this book is the writing. Taherah Mafi use an unconventional writing style that is beautiful, unique and engrossing. The poetic prose, lyrical style and metaphors is simply captivating. I am tempted to quote Mafi’s words but with so many lovely passages from the book I decided not to bother going back or I might end up re-reading the whole story. Mafi’s words are so captivating that I’m afraid if I revisit it sooner I’ll be pulled once again by her words. And with so many pending books that I need to read and review I’m not sure if that’s a good idea. Other brilliant thing about the writing is the use of
crossed out strike-through words to emphasize Juliette’s subconscious thoughts. It gives more personality to Juliette as we glimpse a little more of her unspoken thoughts.
“Someone picked up the sun and pinned it to the sky again, but every day it hangs a little lower than the day before. It’s like a negligent parent who only knows one half of who you are. It never sees how its absence changes people. How different we are in the dark.”
Juliette as the heroine is intriguing and unique. Her voice is compelling and raw. From the first part of the novel her thoughts are desolate, repetitive and unsure which perfectly suited for someone being locked up in isolation for 264 days. Aside for her unique voice she also has a unique ability. But more than her power what I really like about this girl is her good heart and integrity. She has all the rights to hate the world, the world that mistreated and discarded her when she was a child, but she never turn against anyone.
Adam is likeable but he doesn’t strike me as much as I expected. I find him intriguing at first when he was still Juliette’s room-mate but when they transferred and become too close to each other I lost my interest with this guy. The only left intriguing about him is the reason why he is immune to Juliette’s power.
Warner is the most compelling and the most complex character from the story. There’s more in him than meets the eye. The way he project himself to Juliette and to others simply shows the complexity of his character. He is cruel, twisted, deranged and irrational most of the time but there are times that his calm, gentle and affectionate side emerge. Putting him on the bad side doesn’t make me afraid of him. Add the fact that he is also a teenager like Adam and Juliette, good-looking and actually likes Juliette, I just can’t find him as the frightening villain. I can’t even hate him. I may not like him for Juliette but I don’t want him to be a an all evil villain. Part of me believe that he has some redeeming qualities underneath his projected bad persona. And I am interested to find out about his past and his family. For sure those little details carry all the explanations of his dark personality. I really believe that he is just a tortured soul with complicated past and still can be redeemed.
The plot is fast paced for the most part with all the suspense and action-packed scenes. The ending is satisfying but also offers a way for a more exciting plot for the next book. I’m already looking forward for a more enticing sequel. I want to know more about Juliette’s power and its limitation. And I hope there is a better explanation why Adam and Warner are immune to Juliette’s gift. Why of all people they are the only one who can touch Juliette?
Shatter Me is an impressive debut. With unique writing style, compelling characters and intriguing premise this book deserves all the hype around it. I don’t know where the story will go after this book but I’m looking forward reading the next installment because Mafi’s words are worth visiting again.