May 8, 2014

Shatter Me By Tahereh Mafi

Picture courtesy of Goodreads
Shatter Me

Author: Tahereh Mafi
Series: Shatter Me #1
Publication Date: November 15, 2011
Pages: 338
Review by: Tessa

Juliette has a terrible power. She is powerful and powerless.
Her whole life has been hiding and being hidden from.
The Reestablishment has labeled her a threat.
Now she is forced to hide in an asylum. They say isolation will break the most experienced soldier, so what will it do to an already broken teenager?

I really don't know how I feel about this book.
I saw it in the bargain section of my bookstore. It is one of those books that constantly pops up on my Goodreads suggested reading list, so I thought "Why not?"

Now, it would not be fair to criticize a book without explaining the full context.

So, Juliette has been labeled as a threat and has shunned into solitary confinement. She is thought to be so dangerous that she has not had contact with someone for almost a year.

Juliette is arrested because whoever she touches dies. Ever since she was a child, her touch brings a sense of merciless pain and eventually, death. Her parents decided that Juliette was more trouble than she was worth and turned her into the emerging tyrannical government.

The stereotypical dystopian government chose to lock her in a modified version of an asylum until she is broken enough to be controlled. They plan on using her as a weapon in their attempts to dominate the little that is left of the world.

Their plan is interrupted when another prisoner is locked in with Juliette, and he is a boy. Juliette must conquer her past in order to face the present and to have a future.

The premise was extremely alluring to me. It has just the right amount of absurdity and follows the trend of dystopian futures, but the execution was not right.

I now understand why it was in the bargain section. The book had so much potential. The secondary characters were humorous and supported the plot, which can be hard to accomplish. Other than that, the book disappointed me. Anything could have happened, but Juliette just managed to spend the whole book with her metaphorical bird locked in a metaphorical cage and her rose petal face stuck up Adam's nose.

Mafi is certainly a strange undisciplined unique author.

Example #1
Frequent use of obscure metaphors.
"Raindrops are my only reminder that clouds have a heartbeat."
Another original metaphor.
"My eyes break open. 2 shattered windows filling my mouth with glass."

Example #2
Wait, that was supposed to be a flashback?

Example #3
Excessive crossing out. I CAN'T READ THIS!!!!

Example #4
Repeating repetitiveness that always repeats.
This is an exact quote from the book:
"His lips his lips his lips his lips his lips."

Example #5
The numbers in are not written as a word. (See above in Example #1)
This just seems unprofessional to me. Out of all of these problems, this is definitely the most irritating.

I read the whole book with a feeling of unease about Mafi's writing style. I realize Juliette is supposed to be a tad bit insane, but at times the her commentary sounded like a toddler's. I found myself skipping a majority of the book to escape from her mind.

My last complaint is about the romance. I have never read a book with a more awkward and unnecessary relationship. Random "romantic" scenes are hidden throughout the second half of the book. Honestly, by the end of the book I wanted someone to die so there would be some kind of action.

So, unless you are a fan of obscure metaphors and excessive romance, this is not the book for you.


  1. I agree with what you wrote about Mafi's writing style (the repetition and crossing out really waste space in a book) but I thought the metaphors were really emotional and powerful. The language is full of writer's effect, I really like it.
    But come to think of it, the girl didn't get out of prison until the end of the book. On the whole, it's a book with really interesting characters gifted with extraordinary abilities.
    I think the potential of the novel is thoroughly harnessed in the 2nd and last novel :)

    1. Thanks, I still have to read the last two books, so my opinion may change after I finish the series.