Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Review: Shatter Me

Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi

Synopsis (From Goodreads):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. 

Juliette hasn't touched anyone in 264 days, not since the accident which made the reestablishment lock her up for murder. Juliette has the power to kill someone by just touching them. Locked in an isolated cell with no contact, Juliette thinks that's how she's going to spend the rest of her life. That is until Adam gets placed in the same cell as her. This must be a test or a trap because not only did they place a boy in her cell, his is familiar. Juliette knows him from some place before her life in the cell.

When the two are forced from their cell, only then does Juliette realise she was right. It was a test. Adam was planted in her cell, a direct command of the military general, Warner. Warner is obsessed with Juliette, ever since he discovered what she is capable of. He pulls her out of the life of solitary and gives her food and beautiful clothes, and the chance to have the world at her feet. The only catch is that she agrees to work for Warner and use her touch to torture his enemies.

And then there's Adam. He remains close to her, and is the only one capable of helping her escape. Juliette must keep fighting Warner's advances until she can get away or be forced to use her curse for his psychotic purposes.

Tahereh Mafi has created a thrilling debut in a dystopian society where the world is falling a part and diseases and food shortages are destroying the population. Even though Juliette is despised and feared, mostly by people who don't understand what she can truly do, she has remained strong and kind.  Juliette's voice comes through strong with every word, especially the contradictory thoughts that has been scratched out, such as:

It's a home, a centre for troubled youth, for neglected children from broken families, a safe house for the psychologically disturbed. It's a prison.

It's easy to see how all the horrors Juliette has faced could lead her to kill herself, but still she doesn't. Her life is the one thing she can control.

Adam and Juliette go perfectly together. Both of their lives have been hard and it is easy to see why they need each other to lean on, but then there's Warner who would do anything to have Juliette all to himself. He is venomous and would do anything to have power, which includes having the power Juliette has. Warner dangles all the enticing, but poisonous, fruit in front of Juliette expecting her to do whatever he wants because he can provide her with food and clothes and attention, the things she has not had in her life.

Mafi's writing is beautiful and unique. From the first word the reader is pulled into Juliette's head and stays there. It reads like it is actually inside a broken 17 year old's head. I really loved how Juliette still has a value of life, even though no one else has shown her any courtesy like that before. She is only one of the elements that makes this book a page turning rollercoaster.

With an X-men feel in a dystopian society, Shatter Me is an exciting read and I can't wait until the sequel to see more of Juliette and Adam.

Source: ARC courtesy of Allen and Unwin
2011 YA Reading Challenge: #29 of 50
2011 Debut Author Challenge: #14 of 20


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