Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Book Review of Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi

"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.”

At first I was excited  to be reading this book because the writing style was attempting something different and unique.  But, it became a tapestry of broken images   study in futility with it’s strikethroughs, repetition of words and sentences, an over abundance of metaphors and similes.  I wanted to like this book because of the poetic prose, but when the metaphors, some of which had no correlation to the story, popped up on every page, with every feeling or sense felt it became too much of a good thing.  The author does have a flair for poetic imagery, but it took over the story.  And for me, characters and the story rule.

While reading the book, my questions weren’t about what was going to happen next, but when was the story going to begin.  It is written in the POV of the heroine, Juliette with a very tight first person, so much so that it had a claustrophobic feeling to it with no breathing space. 

Also, I found the story and the characters to be predictable which could have used the writers imaginative writing style to lend it some uniqueness.  I did think I was reading something I had read or seen before with characters that are similar to the X-Men. 

So, did I hate it?  No, but I didn’t like it either.  It’s more along the lines of disappointment that the writer didn’t temper the style of writing to allow the story to emerge.  Although frustrated with this book, I think the writer shows promise.  I will look for future books from this writer but will not read the rest of this series.


There is a bare minimum of worldbuilding.  Because most of the descriptions are tied to metaphors, which are abstract in nature, I had to imagine for myself what the settings looked like.  I think it’s good to allow the reader to create to some extent the surroundings, but if done too much it all becomes a dream and nothing is concrete.  Also, the whys and the hows of the way things work in this society is missing. 


Overall Juliette Ferrars, whose head we are in through out the story shows spunk and holds on to her humanity in a world that has none. I think, if a reader loves to be in the head of the main character and is only interested in being in the stream of consciousness of a character’s thoughts and feelings, then this is the character and book for them. 

Adam Kent the love interest, is too perfect to be real.  Enough said.

Note: The romance storyline didn’t have any hiccups along the way.  It was a pretty smooth ride for these young lovers which rang untrue to me.  Even, Cinderella lost the prince after the ball.

Pros and Cons:

I think I’ve covered those issues already.


As I said earlier, I was disappointed in the follow through of this story.  I wouldn’t recommend this book unless a reader was looking for something different in writing style.  

Till next time,



Jessie Harrell said...

bummer - I just got this book on sale for my Kindle, so I probably still will give it a go, but it just moved down my TBR list a bit. Thanks for the honest review.

Kelly Hashway said...

I liked this one. It took me a while to get used to the style but I enjoyed the story.

SA Larsenッ said...

Thanks so much for your honesty. I guess I'll have to shoot for an open mind when I read it.

Catherine Stine said...

Eek, less is more when it comes to similies, metaphors and other potential distractions such as cross outs and asides. I have seen this novel on many sites, so there must be something to it as well.

Katja Weinert said...

Great review, Elizabeth. I thought I was missing out by not reading the series, but a friend was of the same opinion as you. I'll still give this a whirl, but I'm no longer in a rush to do so.

I'm curious to see how it became so popular and to discover how the strike-throughs will strike me ;)

Beverly Stowe McClure said...

This is a new book for me. Where have I been? Thanks for the review. Will think about it.

Rosi said...

Oooo. Thanks for the heads up. That cover is spectacular and I might well have bought this one, but after reading your review, I'm sure I wouldn't like it.

EW Gibson said...


It was a hard decision to write this review because of its popularity. And truly, I had to ask myself what was I missing. LOL.

EW Gibson said...


Well, you and a lot of other readers like it. :)

EW Gibson said...


Absolutely, reading with an open mind is essential.

EW Gibson said...


I wish I could put a finger on its popularity.

EW Gibson said...


The strike throughs were initially interesting because it was an easy way to show subtext and than cross it out. I guess for me, I want to figure out what the subtext is and not be told.

But, like you I am curious why it's so popular. But, look at 50 Shades of Grey.

EW Gibson said...


You right, the cover is a knock out. But, it might be interesting to get a taste of the book. You could sample a chapter or two on Amazon.

Kim (YA Asylum) said...

Ow, this worries me. I just bought the ebook since I'd heard a lot of good things but ... repetition kind of bothers me. The cover is so pretty though, isn't it?
Great review!

EW Gibson said...


Oh please read it! If you like it, I want to know why, so I can see what I missed.

But really it just goes to show you how different from reader to reader the needs are to be satisfied with a book. And isn't that great. It means there are no formulas to writing a book that is liked or well received.

Theresa Milstein said...

Thanks for the review. I liked Tahereh Mafi on her blog and was excited about her book. But as I heard about it, Shatter Me didn't sound like a book I'd want to read. Your review confirms it.

EW Gibson said...


I think we'll be seeing a lot more from Tahereh Mafi. I may not personally like the writing style for this book, but she certainly has a creative imagination and a style all her own.

Beth said...

I really liked this one. I didn't like the sequel as much but it has an amazing surprise (or at least I was surprised) and I'm seriously waiting for the third one.

The metaphors in the second bothered me where they didn't in the first, same with the repetition.

EW Gibson said...


I so love the idea that a book can have such diverse reactions to it. What it means, partly at least, our stories don't have to be perfect to be enjoyed and liked. Or is that a stretch?

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