Friday, January 20, 2012

Book review: Shatter Me

Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi

Goodreads description:

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.

I don't remember how I heard about this book--probably from one of the many YA authors I follow on Twitter. I started following the author even before reading the book and grew even more excited to read it.

I have to admit, I was a little disappointed. I love the premise of the book--a girl who can't touch people without hurting or killing them, first imprisoned, then used as a weapon of war? Awesome.

But other than Juliette's power, I found little of the story very original. The land is more barren than most stories involving attempts at reestablishment and utopian societies, but that seems a minor detail. There is a love interest (or two?), which is common in most YA. The book gave me pretty much what I expected and not much else.

I found it hard to get into the book at first. Juliette had been in isolation for hundreds of days, and her thought processes suffered for it. I found myself skipping paragraphs of introspection to get to the point or the action.

Despite these negative impressions, I did finish the book, which says a lot because I don't finish books I don't like at least a little (why should I read something I'm not enjoying when there are so many other options?). And the end of the book was my favorite. Tahereh finally threw something at me I had not expected.

Shatter Me is the first in a trilogy. The ending of the book picked up a lot--enough that I know I'll be reading the rest of the series.

I'm not sure yet if I recommend this book. I think I do. It was entertaining and easy to read.

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