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.Hardcover, 338 pages
Two Stars: A book with beautiful and interesting writing but lacks world building.
Juliette counts the hundreds of seconds that make up the minutes of the endless hours of her lonesome life. For two hundred and sixty six days, Juliette hasn't spoken to another soul. She is locked in the insane asylum for accidentally murdering someone with her bare hands. Juliette's touch can kill. She is starved for human contact and love. Unexpectedly, she is informed she will be getting a new roommate. Is this new roommate going to finally kill her?
What I Liked:
- This is a hard book for me to review as I was expecting to be blown away and amazed after all the hype. While there were aspects I enjoyed, overall I was a bit disappointed. However, the one thing that stood out for me was the writing. It isn't a secret that Ms. Mafi utilizes the strike out to emphasis a point. Her writing, at times is gorgeous laden with lovely metaphors and similes that made me pause and ponder. It is no secret I am a fan of interesting and beautiful writing, so I was for the most part pleased with this aspect. However, there are times when it gets to be a bit much as there is so much repetition and some of the metaphors and similes don't quite work. Still I can recommend this book for the writing alone as it is definitely unique and worth checking out.
- Juliette was a intriguing character to get to know. She was born with the ability to kill others with her touch. Her parents abused and ignored her for most of her life. School was miserable for her as no one talked to her or came near her. An accidental encounter at the grocery store, ends up in the death of another human being for which she feels tremendous guilt and grief. The accidental murder lands Juliette in the insane asylum where she is locked up in a dark cell with no other human contact. Meals are unidentifiable lumps of something shoved through a slot once a day. She is isolated and alone with only her thoughts for company. Her mindset is one of pain and longing as she desperately hungers for human companionship. Conditions change for Juliette and she finds herself in the hands of a madman, but she refuses to bend to his will even if that means danger for herself. I liked that despite all the hardship in her life, she holds onto her humanity and tries to maintain her goodness.
- The first half of the book, I enjoyed the scary confines of the asylum as Juliette flounders in the dark. The world has been driven to ruin due to man's abuse of the environment. Food is scarce, the seasons are wrong and different factions are fighting for control. It is a dark and dangerous, oppressive world that Juliette lives in. After Juliette leaves the asylum, I wasn't as impressed with the world because there were some unrealistic parts, but my attention was once again caught at the end with the introduction of new characters with their own unique abilities in a hidden secret location of resistance. I wanted to know much more about this resistance and the people living there.
- James was one of my favorite characters. He is an adorable, courageous, impetuous ten year old who stole my heart. I loved him!
And The Not So Much:
- Where do I start with the faults? First, the world building was shaky at best. There are brief descriptions of the world, but not enough to satisfy my curiosity. There are all these factions fighting for control, but there is one that has seized control. So little is known about the Reestablishment. As the book progresses there are a few snatches of information thrown out that give you an idea, but I thought the world building was lacking overall. Who were the leaders? What were their goals? How did they seize power?
- The romance was a bit ridiculous for my taste. Juliette is reunited with a boy from her past. The two never once spoke to each other in all the time they knew each other. Then they are suddenly confessing their love for each other. The second half of the book is mostly kisses and exchanging of endearments, while they are running for their lives. Even though the author tries to present a solid case for the relationship being based on feelings that formed while the two grew up together, in reality they are nothing more than a crush. It was hard for me to accept that they could be exchanging I love yous shortly after they met up again. Watching and crushing on someone from a far does not equal love, especially since they don't really know each other. While I can see why Juliette could think it is love because she has been starved from another's touch for so long, but for me it was more like insta love. Furthermore, I thought the romance took over the plot and it got to be a bit much. I know there are plenty of people out there who will think it is totally swoon worthy, but for me it felt cheesy. I hear it only gets worse with a love triangle developing in the next book. Face palm!
- The whole thing with Juliette's death touch is not explained very well. There are sketchy flash backs to her past with her abusive parents. I was curious as to how her parents handled her when she was a child. There was no mention of wearing gloves or protective gear at all. When Juliette was going to school and at home did she wear gloves and shield her skin from human contact? Of course, at the end there is a solution to her touch, but it was something that she should have been doing all along. I thought this whole aspect was weak.
- After an uninteresting middle section, I was excited at the end to see some more interesting characters with paranormal abilities like Juliette, but unfortunately, they were introduced to late to make an impact.
- The whole plot of the book pretty much goes nowhere. By the end there is no resolution and it felt like I had floundered around for little pay out. It doesn't exactly end on a cliffhanger, but there are few answers.
Shatter Me was a book that I went into with high expectations and ended up being disappointed. At this point, I am uncertain as to whether or not I will continue the series. I know this is a series that many people adore, but for me it fell flat. The dystopian world building was weak, the romance was ridiculous and the plot went nowhere. Although, I did enjoy the unique writing and prose. The beautiful writing was not enough to save the read overall for me. Perhaps if I had read this two years ago when it first came out, I might have enjoyed it more, but after reading countless dystopians with much better world building and characters this one fails to shine. If you are someone who enjoys lovely, creative writing you should check it out for the writing, but I can't say that I recommend this overall.
"I know the sky falls down every day. The sun drops into the ocean and splashes browns and reds and yellows and oranges into the world outside my window."
"The only existence I know now is the one I was given. An echo of what I used to be."
"I press my palm to the small pane of glass and feel the cold clasp of my hand in a familiar embrace. We are both alone, both existing as the absence of something else."
"Raindrops are my only reminder that clouds have a heartbeat. That I have one, too.
I always wonder about raindrops.
I wonder about how they're always falling down, tripping over their own feet, breaking their legs and forgetting their parachutes as they tumble right out of the sky toward an uncertain end. It's like someone is emptying their pockets over the earth and doesn't seem to care where the contents fall, doesn't seem to care that the raindrops burst when they hit the ground, that they shatter when they fall to the floor, that people curse the days the drops dare to tap on their doors. I am a raindrop."
"I wish I could stuff my mouth full of raindrops and fill my pockets full of snow. I wish I could trace the veins in a fallen leaf and feel the wind pinch my nose."
"I am nothing but novocaine. I am numb, a world of nothing, all feeling and emotion gone forever. I am a whisper that never was."
"Laughter comes from living."
I borrowed a copy of this book. All opinions are my own and I was not compensated for this review.