BOOK REVIEW : Shatter Me
By Tahereh Mafi
BY SULPHIA IQBAL
I did not know I could hate a book this much, but apparently I can. Shatter Me, unlike the praise it’s received, was in my opinion a disappointment to YA fantasy. I was astonished to see this was the same Shatter Me that got so much praise in the last six years.
The novel is told from the perspective a girl named Juliette (AKA WORST YA CHARACTER EVER) whose touch can inflict pain on her victims (HMMM sounds familiar ) . She’s locked up in this asylum with other delinquents, closed off from the rest of the world. Conveniently, this is a good thing because the rest of the world is pretty much more hellish than her cell. There’s a shortage of food, a necessity to kill off people who aren’t worthy enough , and writing is banned ( so basically like many of those dystopia out there ).
Anywho, my biggest problem with this book like was the prose. When reading a book, I usually don’t pay attention to the writing style, but that was only because it’s never been a problem. As Emily May put it, ¨This is not a dystopia, it is a romance. This is not a novel, it is a collection of similes and metaphors, most of which do not make sense,”. For example:
“I spent my life folded between the pages of books.
In the absence of human relationships I formed bonds with paper characters. I lived love and loss through stories threaded in history; I experienced adolescence by association. My world is one interwoven web of words, stringing limb to limb, bone to sinew, thoughts and images all together. I am a being comprised of letters, a character created by sentences, a figment of imagination formed through fiction.”
And that’s nice and all until you get to things like:
“I'm oxygen and he's dying to breathe.” (GAG)
“The moon is a loyal companion.
It never leaves. It’s always there, watching, steadfast, knowing us in our light and dark moments, changing forever just as we do. Every day it’s a different version of itself. Sometimes weak and wan, sometimes strong and full of light. The moon understands what it means to be human.
Uncertain. Alone. Cratered by imperfections.”
“Hope is hugging me, holding me in its arms, wiping away my tears and telling me that today and tomorrow and two days from now I will be just fine and I'm so delirious I actually dare to believe it.” ( do you really, though ? )
“His eyes are two buckets of rainwater: deep, fresh, clear. Hurt.”
“My body is a carnivorous flower, a poisonous houseplant, a loaded gun with a million triggers and he's more than ready to fire.” ( ??????????)
"Hate looks like everybody else until it smiles. Until it spins around and lies with lips and teeth carved into semblance of something too passive to punch." ( This actually makes no sense )
“Truth is a jealous, vicious mistress that never, ever sleeps.”
AND THERE’S MORE. I’m not exaggerating when I say there is more of this than there is plot. If I ever meet this author, I’d like to remind her that she is writing a YA fantasy novel, not some try-hard poetry book.
Another problem I had were the characters and the storyline. The story starts out with an imprisoned Juliette describing her time at the asylum until this new guy Adam moves in. Soon after, Juliette is bailed out and it turns out Adam has been working with the “bad guys” this whole time. Except he, “unlike” the rest of the “bad guys” * COUGH COUGH WALTER*, doesn’t hate her at all. Despite barely knowing each other ( other than being in the same class in the fifth grade or whatever excuse Mafi used ), they are under the belief that they are“completely in love” and run off together from the “bad guys”.
Little did they know.
And remember how I said her touch is fatal? Conveniently, the only two people that rule doesn't apply to are the love interests, and there are no explanations as to why. Then again I didn’t finish the book so maybe it was in there...Honestly, it was just another really stupid excuse by Mafi to include the romance and the love triangle.
Walter, a “big baddie” ( these quotations are very deliberate by the way ) who tries to make Juliette’s life a “living hell” by forcing her to use her powers on him, plays one of the love interests. As a character in novel, he’s rather empty. Like, in other books, the girl gets to know the guy yada yada yada and the relationship is deliberate. Here, it’s like Mafi added in this guy last minute and was like “ hey just be the bad boy Juliette falls in love with and the fans will be all over you,”. And Walter isn’t even like those bad boy YA characters that you kinda just fall in love with in other YA; no - Walter is a psychotic stupid excuse of a villain-turned-lover. You know something is wrong when you’re kinda rooting for the bad guys side in a book.
Last but not least, what is this author’s deal with
crossing things out????? I’m guessing she thought it made her book look more poetic but for me, it was a nuisance.
I have a curse
I have a gift
I'm more than human
My touch is power
I will fight back”
“His lips soften into a smile that cracks apart my spine. He repeats my name like the word amuses him. Entertains him. Delights him.
I guarantee this book will actually make you go crazy, for better or worse ( though I cannot possibly see the former being true .) I checked out all three books in the series from the library with genuine expectations for this book. I heard the making a tv show out of it *HELP US GOD*. I’m hoping it will be better to watch than to read, though I highly doubt it.
Check it out at the library ( I recommend one book at a time ) and goodreads :
RATINGS: ⅖ and DNF