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Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Series Review: Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi

Publisher: HarperCollins
Published: 2011-2014
Pages: 1,220
Source: Borrowed
Rating: 2.5 Stars


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 colour. 

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.

In short: The cool X-Men-esque premise of the Shatter Me Series by Tahereh Mafi is unfortunately overshadowed by a ton of romance melodrama.
I think I may be too old for this. At least, that would explain why I had so little tolerance for all the melodramatic romance crap in this series. I had been so enthralled at the enticing premise of Shatter Me when I first heard of it in 2011 - girl who can't have physical contact with anyone without hurting them badly (basically Rogue from X-Men) - and I have wanted to read this series since then. Would I have had more tolerance for the love triangle histrionics had I read the series back when it first came out? Maybe, I'm not sure.

Of course, it didn't help matters that I was reading the Shatter Me Series at the same time as I was reading The Raven Cycle for the first time. The Raven Cycle has its fair share of romantic drama too, after all, but it's handled more subtly and it didn't annoy me nearly as much as the melodrama in Shatter Me. I would say it's because the romance drama in The Raven Cycle never consumes the entire story, unlike the romance drama in the Shatter Me Series. I mean, here we have this really cool X-Men-esque storyline set in a dystopian world ruled by a disturbing dictator - SO much promise - and still the overpowering storypoint somehow always turned to hashing out the conflicting petty feelings of the characters in the love triangle.

I probably would not have decided to continue on with the series past the first book had I not been listening to the trilogy via audio - I find it's always easier to commit to a series in audiobook form. Plus, there were enough tidbits of intrigue here and there to always keep me going - I do love a good superpower-inspired premise. I just wish the X-Men superhero aspect had been prioritized above all, with a minimum devoted towards an overdramatic love triangle.

And as for the writing: much ado has been made about the strikethroughs and people either seem to LOVE it or HATE it. For my part, I'm not sure I can make a decision as to what side of the fence I fall on because I feel like I missed a lot of the intended effect of it by listening to the books in audio instead of reading them. I would be inclined to come down on the side of liking the writing though, if only because it took risks and is unique and I appreciate that.

So in the end, I was left feeling pretty disappointed by my Shatter Me experience and more than a little annoyed by the romance melodrama. I think the series had a lot of potential and I can understand why it is well loved by readers that don't mind the love triangle as much. As for Tahereh Mafi's writing: I would like to try it again some time as I think I would like it in another - less romance-oriented - context.

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16 comments :

  1. I have a feeling that this is a series I should have gotten into right when it came out. I remember picking it up at Chapters but when I saw the strikeout I immediately put it back on the shelf. Afterwards, I was told to give it a chance despite that so I ended up adding it on my tbr shelf once again. I like that the effect is lessened on audio, I'll be checking to see if my local library has the series on audio. I'm still curious as to how I'd do with this series, considering I have quite a few trusted bookish friends who loved this. Something tells me that the romantic, triangular melodrama will have the same effect on me as it did on you. I'm sorry this series didn't deliver for you my friend but thanks for sharing your thoughts all the same. xxxx

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    1. Yup, I'm sure I would have liked it at least a bit more had I read it back in 2011. It's possible you'll be better off with the strikeout effect in the audio version, but I personally feel like I would have preferred it if I had physically read it. I'm just not sure it had the intended effect in audio... But anyways, I hope you end up liking this one more than me - good for you for at least wanting to give it a go!

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  2. This is one of those series I have yet to finish (but I will), I only have Ignite me left, so I might as well. I remember liking Shatter Me, and I am pretty sure I also like Unravel Me. I didn't find the stories super memorable though.

    I did like the strikes in the audio book though- I liked the sound effect they used. I think I might have been annoyed with it had I tried to read it (I should pick up the book and flip through it some time to see how I feel).

    Anywho, I would agree I think this series is for a younger crowd.

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    1. Ooh, yes especially if you only have Ignite Me left to read - you have to finish then. I'm glad you seem to recall liking the first two because that means you should have a better time reading the third than I did.

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  3. I totally agree with you on this one!! I also listened to the audiobooks, but I didn't make it to the third one. I only read the second because everyone told me that I would LOVE Warner... Nope. I honestly found this book to be 90% romance with a tiny bit of dystopia. And yeah, I also thought Juliette was a blatant Rogue ripoff... I'm sorry you had to suffer through all three of these XD Great review!

    Tracy @ Cornerfolds

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    1. Yeah, pretty much entirely romance!! And I wasn't a fan of Warner OR Adam... Or Juliette really. All I wanted was to get more of the dystopian stuff!!

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  4. Haha, I'm starting to feel too old for books like this too. Great review!

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  5. Alas, I've not read this series, but everything I had HEARD was good. To each their own I suppose...though I've been in the same boat of feeling like even with my ageless imagination, I too am over the target age range. Happier reading on your next spin through the pages!

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    1. Yes, to each their own... it might not be just my age I suppose, but also just the fact that I've grown out of the tolerance that I used to have for such things. Thanks, Gina :)

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  6. Ohhh. When I saw you posted this, I was sure you were going to say you loved them, lol, and I was going to have to be a bit negative in my comment, lol. But then you did not love them :D YAY! Makes me so, so happy. Well. When I read Shatter Me in 2011, I gave it 5 stars. But I am never ever reading the last two books. Just, fuck that love triangle o.O SO annoying and bad. Don't get why anyone likes these books, hah :p But anyway. Your review is so lovely Aylee :) Thank you for sharing. <3

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    1. Heh, well I was thinking I was going to love them too! So disappointed. People have different reading tastes though and people like different things - but I concur about "fuck[ing] that love triangle," heh

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  7. I loved the beginning of the first book and then I started feeling so bogged down by Juliette's drama and quit right there.


    Karen @For What It's Worth

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    1. Yeah, I loved where it started too...

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  8. I loved the first two books in the series but the last one was such a bummer. I understand why you found it disappointing because if I were to read these books now, I'd not like them either. Anyway, lovely review!

    Sarika @ The Readdicts

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  9. Oh thank god I never bothered reading this series. I remember when it came out and thought it seemed like there was too much of a focus on the romance. Then, I found out it had a love triangle and decided not to read it. I'm glad I didn't waste my time!

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