Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi is a surprising enjoyable read. I say surprising because after reading the synopsis I thought it sounded like a really cheesy book and I didn’t think I was going to enjoy it. After seeing several mentions of it online I decided to give it a chance and I’m glad I did. Shatter Me has action and a really unique plot that seems a little ridiculous when summarized but Mafi really makes it work.
Something that kept me away from this book for awhile (other than the potential cheese factor) was the quote from Lauren Kate on the back cover- “addictive, intense and oozing with romance”. What an unattractive quote, “oozing with romance” makes it sound like Shatter Me has a bad case of gonorrhea or some sappy romance book. Far from it. Shatter Me does have romance in it but not enough to be called a romance novel. To me, a romance novel is if the main point of the book is the romance factor. Shatter Me focuses more on Juliette and how her touch can kill people, as well as their dystopian society. The romance that occurs in the book kind of happens around the main plot, in addition to it without becoming an annoying feature.
This book is very multi-faceted and incorporates many different locations, characters and plot points to create a fast paced novel that keeps things interesting. Without spoiling the book, I really loved a couple of the locations especially and felt that they added a lot of interest to the book. I really loved James’s character, and I would love to read a prequel to Shatter Me that shows more of James’ life and how he survives in such a messed up world.
As much as I liked Juliette’s plot, I really disliked her character. I wouldn’t say that I hated her but she really grated on me. She felt a little too weak and wishy-washy to me. I wanted to grab her by the shoulders and shake her. In Juliette you have a character with a hardcore power that cowers and leans on others far too much. Hopefully her confidence will grow and she will become a stronger, more enjoyable character in the next book.
The biggest thing I disliked in Shatter Me was the writing style at the beginning of the book The random italics, strike out writing and rambling sentences are supposed to show you Juliette’s thoughts and illustrate her mental state but it really pulled me away from the book. It feels very gimmicky to me, as if Mafi couldn’t figure out how to demonstrate what Juliette is thinking simply through her writing. It seems like a cop out when authors use gimmicks like that and it doesn’t make for quality writing. It gets better as the book goes on, and Shatter Me because much more readable by about chapter 10.
I would give Shatter Me 3.5/5- a few problems but a unique plot with some great action.