Wow, that's a long synopsis. Is anyone still reading? Yes? Okay!
Shatter Me was a breathtakingly original paranormal dystopia. Juliette's touch is lethal, and she was ostracized from her community and family from a young age and given over to the Reestablishment who eventually threw her in a tiny cell. She hasn't touched another person in 264 days and interacted with another in almost as long. Until Adam is suddenly thrown into her cell one day.
You've heard of this book before. Of course you have. It's one of the most hyped upcoming YA books of the year. And while it was hard with an ARC that dedicated more space on the back of the book to bragging rights than the blurb, when it comes to books hyped this much, it's necessary to keep everything you've heard about the book separate to everything you find actually reading the book. If I'd went into this book with the amazingly high expectations that over early reviews have set, it probably would have fallen below them.
Though what couldn't have fallen under expectations was Tahereh Mafi's prose. It was brilliant. She used fragments that helped establish Juliette's initially scared and hesitant voice, and
The plot was engaging, the premise intriguing. The minor arc of Juliette and Adam's escape was the main focus for the most part, but the major arc of the series was introduced only towards the end. Shatter Me definitely had the the feel of a first novel in a series -- it set the context for a more large-scale problem to be eventually solved. Alone it was very compelling, but now that the scene has been set, the rest of the trilogy promises to be much more action-packed.
Though the dystopia setting was the canonical post-natural resources world where a new government sells their dictatorship as the solution, Mafi pulled it off in a refreshing way. The way Juliette reacted to her world so deteriorated in her absence was parallel to ours as we read about this almost plausible future version of our own.
Juliette was a dynamic character. Who she was at the end, triumphant and strong, was at complete odds to the version of herself at the beginning, cowering in her cell from the new boy. Her slow transformation into someone proud of her
The ending was slightly anti-climactic, with what felt like a little too much time spent after the drama had wound down, but it had a very 'X-Men' feel* and left us in a good place to continue the trilogy. The ending felt like a beginning, and I
I give Shatter Me a 4 out of 5.
* Always a good thing. ALWAYS.