Shatter Me tells the tale of seventeen-year old Juliette, who hasn’t touched anyone in exactly 264 days. That’s because when she does, bad things happen. Like death and destruction.
She was given up by her parents about four years ago to The Reestablishment, after she accidentally killed a child in a grocery store. Deemed a threat to the already crumbling society of Earth, Juliette is locked up.
This all changes when Adam, a fellow prisoner, arrives in her cell. Having not spoken to anyone in a long time, Juliette struggles to place Adam, whom she’s sure she knows.
Before she knows it, she’s taken out of prison and preened and prepared as a weapon against the rebels. But Juliette has a choice to make, whether to live as a monster or as someone with a gift.
Shatter Me has an interesting premise. It obviously reminds me a lot of Rogue’s story, from X-MEN, and its a story that’s always intrigued me. But while I felt interest in Rogue’s backstory, there was no similar spark in Juliette’s story.
But I’ll get to that in a minute. While the story is flawed in many ways, Mafi’s writing is beautiful and evocative (and good on her to keep her name and not change it to a pen name!). Juliette hasn’t encountered other humans for quite some time, and the way she describes the world and her interactions with it is truly unique and beautiful.
Some of my favourite quotes include, “I spent my life folded between the pages of books” and “Hope is hugging me, holding me in its arms, wiping away my tears and telling me that today and tomorrow and two days from now I will be just fine and I’m so delirious I actually dare to believe it.” Beautiful right?
Unfortunately, the beauty of this writing is wasted, since Mafi employs a style of writing with
many lots countless many cross outs. Sometimes the cross outs have significance in the story and show what Juliette is actually feeling, but mostly they were distracting and not necessary to the story. In fact, the cross outs started to negate the beautiful writing at times. It was also used inconsistently, in the early chapters, almost every other word on every other line was crossed out, but by the end there was hardly any.
Juliette herself is not the most engaging narrator. I didn’t feel any sort of affinity or love or sympathy for her. She seemed to be constantly whining, or else remarking on Adam’s beauty or his deep, blue eyes or how much she loved him.
Speaking of Adam, he too was a doormat of a character. The glimpses into his and Juliette were interesting and did provide some depth, but didn’t quite ring true with his lack of a personality in the present. Given his rough childhood, I would have expected him to have more emotional scars. But everything that came out of his mouth was about how he had been looking for Juliette for so long and how he would do anything for her.
I’m sorry, but I just didn’t buy it. The romance fell completely flat for me. There were some supposedly ‘sizzling’ scenes between the pair, but I never felt any emotional connection to either of them, nor did I feel that they felt anything for each other, other than lust. They kept trying to rip each other’s clothes off at such inappropriate times. And by inappropriate, I mean when James, Adam’s little brother, is sleeping right beside him, and when they arrive at the rebel’s hideout and Adam has just recovered from several broken ribs. I mean, can you seriously not wait? It was really annoying.
All in all, I had to sludge through this one. Mafi’s writing is what made me push through, albeit at an extremely slow pace, but the plot really was not executed well. I really do wish Mafi the best, since I do believe she is talented, but hope she tries something different.
So for that: 2/5.
Thanks for reading.
‘Till next time,