SERIES BY: Tahereh Mafi
Goodreads synopsis of book #1: Shatter Me:
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.
My (spoiler-free) review:
The Shatter Me series by Tahereh Mafi has been on my TBR for the longest time. I’ve owned the books for a while, too. A few months ago, I finally picked up this iconic YA dystopian series, and I have lots of thoughts on it!! It’s so hard for me to rate these books, so I won’t even try. I think the elements of the story that I liked are equal to those that I didn’t like. Which I HATE. I really wanted to love these books!! And I definitely enjoyed them, but they’re not going on my favorites list anytime soon.
I guess I have to say that the first book, Shatter Me, is my favorite. I would rate it 4/5 stars, which isn’t a bad rating at all! Then, the second and third books, I would rate 3/5. I also recently read Restore Me, which is Tahereh Mafi’s most recent installment to this series (just released this year), but it’s not technically part of the original trilogy that was published years ago. And I think I’d rate that one 3.5/5!!
Let’s get into this!
So, my favorite part of these books is the writing. Tahereh Mafi has a VERY unique voice, and I LOVED it. The books are written in first-person from the main character, Juliette’s, point-of-view. The way that the author used Juliette’s life and experiences to create a very different perspective on life was incredible. Everything Juliette said, and the way that certain words or phrases were crossed out in the book (like this) was just perfect for her character. I want to say it was very realistic – I don’t mean the things that happened in the book, but the way that Juliette reacted to everything wasn’t fake at all or in a way that was way too brave for someone who had been through everything she’d been through. She was just a teenage girl in a terrible situation, and it was portrayed perfectly!
This also ties in with how real Juliette appeared to me, and I really loved this aspect. Sometimes in YA novels, especially in fantasy or dystopian, the main character is always really badass and brave and she/he rarely breaks down. And this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it’s just not very realistic. If I was in Juliette’s situation, I would imagine myself as an insane monster as well. I’m sure I would cry all the time. It’s so believable for a teenage girl in her situation that I could relate to Juliette more than I can to some epic YA characters.
BUT while this was a good thing in the first book, it got very old as the series went on. No matter how much it seemed like Juliette grew as a character, all of a sudden there would be a scene where she just broke down crying over something very small, and then everything became all about her emotions. Finally, in the third book, Ignite Me, Juliette grew into her lethal powers and became the warrior that she was meant to be. BUT Restore Me comes along, and we all think that Juliette is strong now, but then there are more scenes all about her emotions and her thinking she’s a monster, and that was super annoying.
Another thing I didn’t like about this series was how the endings of each book and the fight scenes that were largely anticipated were SO anticlimactic. For instance, about 75% of books 2 and 3 was extremely slow, and then the ending would come, but it would only take up a few chapters, and it really disappointed me.
Now let’s talk about characters, because there were some that I really liked!! Juliette was a great main character, honestly. Like I already mentioned, there were a few times that I was thinking “just get over this already, girl.” But other than that, she was very real, and her character development is seriously astounding. Adam was an okay character, but he didn’t have much depth to him, and I’m not the biggest fan of him. He came to Juliette at the right time, and that’s about all I liked concerning him. Warner, though… Warner was everything. He was dark, complex, and grey, yet kind and soft. He was everything I like in a love interest. And his love for fashion is the best. 😊
But my favorite character was Kenji!! Kenji was my favorite from the time we meet him in Shatter Me and all the way to Restore Me. I love his humor and his friendship with Juliette (best relationship in the book in my opinion). He is amazing, and if Tahereh Mafi wrote an entire book just about Kenji, I would be happy.
As for minor characters, I LOVED James. He was just a perfect addition and most of the time, I just wanted to squeeze him. And Supreme Commander Anderson was a great villain. Sometimes, it felt like he could have been a stronger presence, but the times that he did show up were superb. The entire time, I just pictured him as Alan Van Sprang, who plays Valentine Morgenstern in the Shadowhunters show and King Henry in Reign. If they ever adapt this series into a movie, I nominate him. And now that I think of it, I feel like Shatter Me could make a great movie.
The Reestablishment – basically the futuristic way that the entire world is run in this book – was so realistic. It’s like the Legend series in that I could totally see it happening in the future. As an extreme, of course. Culture is destroyed, things are run under strict rules, and the supreme commanders have people who won’t hesitate to kill on sight if someone tries to rebel. I liked it a lot, and didn’t find many flaws with the world and society that the author created here. It was very intriguing to read about!
Finally, I just want to talk about all 4 books separately for a moment. Shatter Me was probably my favorite, because it was the most action-filled and had the best plot development. Unravel Me felt very much like a filler middle novel until the very end when things got interesting. The ending of that one was very well-done! Ignite Me was just extremely slow. I feel like more should have happened, especially since it was originally the very last book in this series. Then, Restore Me came along, and I really enjoyed this one! I like how we delved deeper into the politics of the Reestablishment. We also get introduced to some great new characters in this one, including Nazeera and Haider, which I really enjoyed. And the ENDING of Restore Me. I’m still not fully recovered from it! Several things happened in Restore Me that I’m still very confused about, but I’m guessing/hoping everything will be explained in the next books!
Well those are my thoughts. As you can see, this entire review is a rollercoaster ride of things I loved and things I strongly disliked about this series. I’m sorry if you received any whiplash there, but I hope this review was interesting to read! It’s been a while since I read an entire series that I was iffy about, but it honestly felt good! You can’t love every book you read, which is a lesson every reader must learn at some point.
If you’ve read the Shatter Me series, PLEASE let me know your thoughts in the comments!!! I really want to hear some opinions, especially since I know that mine are a little “out there.”
Thank you so much for reading my bookish babblings and happy reading!
Shatter Me on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/10429045-shatter-me?
Find Shatter Me on Amazon HERE
Author Tahereh Mafi’s official website: http://www.taherehbooks.com/