Monday, March 31, 2014

Book review: SHATTER ME by Tahereh Mafi

Juliette's touch is lethal. She has been locked in an institution for over 260 days with no human contact. Until one day she gets a cellmate. And then things spiral out of control.

SHATTER ME is the first book in a dystopian trilogy (also with accompanying novellas). The world as we know it is dying. Birds can't fly, the sky is the wrong color, and food is scarce. The Reestablishment has taken over, trying to steer the world in the right direction, and they want Juliette as a weapon. I don't want to go into much more explanation and spoil things, so I think that's all I'll say about the synopsis.

Before picking up the book, I heard a TON about the writing style. It's written in stream-of-consciousness format, like Juliette is scribbling in a diary, changing her mind about thoughts and crossing out words. You can see the crossed out words in the text, which I think is cool. The scribbled out words are more prevalent in the beginning and appear less and less as the book progresses, so I didn't feel like it was too much. The writing style is also very heavy on imagery and metaphor. I really liked some of it, and other times I thought it was too much and pulled me out of the story. I think Tahereh Mafi gets away with this style, though, because Juliette has had little to no exposure to other people (even before she was put in the institution, she never had friends, and her parents barely interacted with her), so her voice is going to sound different because she doesn't have other people's voices/tones to learn from.

As many series do lately, there is a love triangle beginning to develop between Juliette, Adam (her cellmate) and Warner (the leader of the branch of the Reestablishment that we see). By the end of the book, though, I still don't understand the Warner side of the triangle, but I think that will be developed in the next book. I've seen a lot of talk on blogs about people switching sides in this debate, so I'm interested to see how my feelings change when I read UNRAVEL ME, book two in the trilogy.

I enjoyed SHATTER ME. It's not my favorite dystopian, but I'm intrigued enough by the characters to pick up the next book. I've heard the other two books are even better. Plus the new covers are STUNNING, especially IGNITE ME! Not going to lie, a big part of the reason I didn't pick up SHATTER ME sooner was because the old cover looked very YA cliche and didn't seem to match the book description:

And here are the redesigned covers for the rest of the series (the first book's new cover is at the top of my review):

Much better, right? So much more unique and "eye-catching." I had to pun. HAD TO.

Have you read SHATTER ME? Thoughts on the covers or cover changes in general?

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