Thursday, November 28, 2013

Book Review: Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi

Book Series: Shatter Me, Book #1
Author: Tahereh Mafi
Genres: YA, Dystopian
Format: Audiobook (Audible)
Narrator: Kate Simses
Length: 09 hrs and 12 mins

My Ranking:

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.

With the first few sentences, your immersed in a world with texture, color, scents and sounds. Every moment is full; every thought, fully realized. I've never read a book like this before. Mafi sets each scene so completely it's almost too much. It's like a sensory overload; I can feel, see, touch and taste everything that's described to such fine detail. The experience is unique and delicious.

However, after getting 75% through the story, the detailed descriptions began to really, really ... really aggravate me. The best part and the worst part about the book is the imagery and the over examination of everything Juliette is feeling. It's beautiful but distracting. Because as rich and detailed as her experience is, there overall story falters. Since Juliette doesn't know what's happening neither do we. And I am almost done and I haven't learned anything. Nothing of true substance when it comes to the plot or the world were in. This is almost like a character story of Juliette and of Warner.

Ah, Warner. I wanted to hate him. But there is something seductively terrifying about his brand of crazy. He's pretty much devoid of all personality except - to the chagrin of our protagonist - for his fascination with Juliette. And he things he does aren't even as scary as what he says. One of my favorite creepy Warner lines is this - "Inflicting pain, you see, is incredibly efficient method of getting information out of anyone and with you...," he glances at my hands, "well, it's cheap, fast, effective." He smiles wider. "And as long as we keep you alive you'll be good for at least a few decades. its very fortunate that you're not battery operated."

If that isn't cold blooded I don't know, what it is. but still I don't hate him... I'm not quite sure that means that mossy is such a good writer she's created a likable evil, creepy antagonist or or me the sad bastard type of girl who likes guy who who might very well kill them in there sleep. But hey, I guess books for the best place do fancy that type of guy, right?

(Addition after getting past 75 percent) It's almost as if Mafi heard my earlier critique and changed the style of the book. After meeting Adam's brother real life gets pumped into the book. You get a sense of who Adam is, meet funny characters and then, Omega. This is what I have been waiting for. Plot, background, and for Juliette's wall decimating ability to not seem so out-of-left-field, bat-shit crazy. It gets interesting in the last few chapters and why did he epilogue feel so content rich. It's supposed to be a tasty morsel, a little bite of extra pleasure. Not Juliette getting the means to actually lead a "normal life" via the sexy vixen, skin-tight purple catsuit.

Had I not already bought the next audiobook I doubt I would have continued the book. It's beautifully stylized, but underneath it all, there's not that much there.

Kate Simses portrays a brilliant narration of this world, these characters. The repetitive "I am not insane" in almost brought me to tears. The desperation, absolution, and fear were so ingrained into the repetition. And her interpretation of Warner is either responsible for my fascination with him, or she feed him in the same crazy but sexy way as me, which makes me not feel so bad. His words ooze from her lips with this deliberately slow, seductive cadence that has underlining robotic, dissociative quality that's just like ... wow.

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