Book Reviews

Review: “Shatter Me,” Tahereh Mafi

September 18, 2013
Review: “Shatter Me,” Tahereh MafiShatter Meby Tahereh Mafi
Series: Shatter Me #1
Published by HarperTeen on November, 2011
Genres: Dystopian
Pages: 338

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.

Shatter Me was quite an interesting read, but in my opinion it didn’t bring anything new to the table when it comes to the YA dystopian genre. Tahereh Mafi’s overuse of metaphors and repetitive adjectives also began to grate on my nerves. The pace of the book, however, kept me reading an enabled me to finish the book quite quickly.

Tahereh Mafi has indeed crafted a strong debut with Shatter Me. I’m quite a big fan of the YA dystopian genre, so after hearing wonderful things about this one since it’s release, when I found it at the local library I just knew it was time to pick it up and give it a shot.

Shatter Me didn’t disappoint, but neither did it impress me. I enjoyed the book, yes, but is it one of my favourites? Sadly, no. At this stage I’m not sure if I’m going to continue on with the series, but that’s not because I didn’t entirely enjoy the first installment – rather, I’m not sure Shatter Me has something to offer me that another YA dystopian can’t.

Juliette was an interesting character – but being inside her head as she narrates becomes exhausting after a while because she’s constantly saying or thinking things, then crossing them out… (the strike-through text was so irritating!) or repeating herself like a broken record whenever she finds an adjective she likes to describe someone with. Tahereh Mafi has an interesting way of conveying her stories – it always flows really well – but the crossed out text and repetition often made me roll my eyes.

Juliette’s relationship with Adam was intriguing, but I felt like it was too drawn out initially. I wanted answers about their past straight up… I didn’t want to wait until Juliette was ready to reveal tiny little snippets of their story or share her memories. By the time these answers were out in the open, I felt their relationship had already advanced one or two steps ahead and it was no longer relevant.

As for our villain, Warner, he certainly is a tricky one. I think he’s one of Shatter Me‘s most interesting characters. That being said, I didn’t like him as a person at all. He disgusts me as much as he disgusts Juliette.

Things started to pick up once the book knocks past the halfway point, but I wasn’t really that invested in the characters until the last 50 or so pages, when they reached Omega Point. I’m really curious to find out more about the people within the compound that have ‘powers’, but I’m worried that Shatter Me will just become another X-Men-like dystopian… and at this stage I’m not sure I really want to take another one of them on board.

One question I’m dying to know, though, is: why are both Adam and Warner immune to Juliette’s power?

I can’t help but wonder if it’s worth reading the second book just to find out!

Recommended to: Shatter Me will probably appeal to a lot of dystopian fans. It’s just one of those books you have to read to make up your mind on, I guess. All in all a decent debut from Tahereh Mafi.

About Tahereh Mafi

Tahereh Mafi was born in a small city somewhere in Connecticut and currently resides in Santa Monica, California, where she drinks too much caffeine and finds the weather to be just a little too perfect for her taste. When unable to find a book, she can be found reading candy wrappers, coupons, and old receipts.


  • Reply Alexis @ Reflections of a Bookaholic September 21, 2013 at 3:58 pm

    This book drove me crazy. The level of angst was so irritating and Juliette grated on my nerves. I agree about the adjectives and metaphors. At tome they made no sense. I think you enjoyed it more than I did because it was a frustrating read for me.

  • Reply Michelle @ Book Briefs September 19, 2013 at 12:31 pm

    I really loved Shatter Me. The big seller for me was the writing style. I really liked it. I do get what you are saying about both adam and warner being immune to her. That felt too easy to me. But I still thought it was a great book.

    Thanks for the great review!

    Michelle @ Book Briefs

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