Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi
Series: Shatter Me
Length: 9 hours and 12 minutes
Narrator: Kate Simses
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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.
On the story...
Shatter me has a great premise that is ruined by a lack of significant action, distracting writing, and an extremely annoying lead character.
First, nothing happens until halfway into the story. Until then, the reader is forced into the mind of the most emotional and angsty character that I have ever had the privilege to read. Juliette talks and emotes and talks some more. Nothing was happening. Juliette's emotions always seemed over-the-top no matter the situation. Whether she is reliving the past or running for her life, she is over-dramatic and whiny. I recognize that she had a traumatic childhood and led a life where no one loved her. I recognize that she went through her entire life without being touched. But I still found myself cringing through most of the book.
Then there is the writing. When you are listening to an audio and unable to skim, the writing issues are glaringly apparent. Shatter me seemed like a collection of metaphors and similes rather than a story with a point. I might have liked the writing as individual quotes out of context. But I didn't read them separately. The string of metaphors and similes were strung together, one after another, in a way that made no sense for the story. You could actually ignore them and miss nothing. Then there was the repetition. For some reason Ms. Mafi, and thus Juliette, repeats things three times for dramatic effect. This was fine the first couple of times but then it started to grate on my nerves. I actually drove up to the bookstore to look at a physical copy so I could tell you guys know how often it happened. It happens on almost every page, sometimes a couple of times on the same page. I saw at least one instance where it happened three times on the same page. It was annoying. It was annoying. It was annoying.
There was very little action, and that's actually okay. I expected more based on the description, but it wasn't to be. When the action was present, I enjoyed it. Finally, things were a little too convenient for the characters. If I hadn't been reading so many dystopian books back-to-back, this might not have stuck out as a negative. I feel like an example is needed. Juliette's touch causes a lot of pain and if she doesn't remove the contact, she will eventually kill the person. But wouldn't you know that she can touch Adam, the love interest with no consequences? Oh and they do not find this out by accident. He just holds her when she's sleeping even though he knows she is dangerous and bam he realizes he can touch her. I call B.S.
On the narrator...
I enjoyed Ms. Simses' voices for the male characters but did not like it for Juliette's character (go figure). Juliette is the only female in this book so I'm not sure if it's just this particular character or if I would dislike all female characters from this narrator.
In the book there are
This book was a yuck for the first half but as things progressed and events actually started moving along, I found I wasn't noticeably cringing and I stopped checking to see when it would be over. For me, the writing style was a deal-breaker, but if you read the first chapter or listen to an excerpt and it doesn't jump at you, you might find this one enjoyable.
P.S. This goes toward that Dystopia challenge that I forgot that I committed to. If you hadn't noticed yet, there are quite a few more to come :)