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awkwordly

all hearthfires & holocausts

eating books. bleeding words.

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Shatter Me

Shatter Me - Tahereh Mafi ~Spoiler-free~ SHATTER ME by Tahereh Mafi is the story of Juliette, a seventeen year old girl who has been imprisoned for a dangerous and powerful ability she cannot control. She’s neither seen nor spoken—nor touched—another human being in 264 days; the only indications that she is not absolutely alone are the soldiers marching outside her tiny window and the screams the rend the night through thick concrete walls… neither of which are comforting. Her only outlets are the ragged notebook she keeps balled beneath her mattress and the hope she holds with white knuckles—her only tether to sanity, it seems.Before her existence distilled to four gray walls and one square window, she’d witnessed the degradation of the world—the food shortages, the environmental problems, the panic. She’d watch the Reestablishment step in, heard their promises of solution. She doesn’t know the state of the world now, but she can see the sky is the wrong color and weather follows no discernable pattern—other than holding a beauty she longs to touch. She is utterly alone, cut off from the world and volleying between despair and hope—until she is given a cellmate. Adam’s arrival sets in motion a sequence of events that leads her to the very heart of the Reestablishment regime. She must make a choice: is her freedom worth more than the lives of others—than the lives of those who have taken freedom from her? Is she willing to fight—not only for what is right, but for herself?I loved Juliette. I feel like in a lot of dystopian stories, the author has to choose between making their main character strong, or making them likable—like their strength has to supersede their heart, otherwise they will be considered weak-willed females, improbable in a leadership role. This is not the case with Juliette. Her greatest strength is her heart, beyond even that of her physical power.Which is saying a lot, because her powers? Yeah, they’re super badass, despite being utterly inconvenient and dangerous. I have a feeling we don’t even really know what she’s capable of yet. But I know it will be awesome. The story itself is complex—well-crafted and well-paced with three dimensional characters right on down the line. The antagonist is not a mustache twirling caricature, there were times I felt a pang of almost sympathy for him; I think there are greater depths to his character that have not yet been uncovered. Even the secondary characters are fully fleshed out—I’m halfway in love with Kenji, who provided some much needed levity, and would like to request some serious snuggle time with James.And then there’s Adam. Guys. GUYS. I can’t with Adam. I just… I cannot. That’s all I’m going to say. (Except maybe ohmysweetsparklingjesushe’ssoflippinghotandexactlyzeropercentofmecanhandleit.)There is a twist at the end that I think readers will either love or hate. I am in the love camp. I think it's an exciting idea which, if executed correctly, could bring a unique storyline to the YA world. But it will depend on the execution, as there's a fine line between an exciting and unique spin, and the bastardization of a much loved comic series. However, I have complete faith that Mafi can pull it off.One of the things that really cemented SHATTER ME as a winner for me, was the fact that IT’S A COMPLETE STORY. It has a beginning, a middle and an end that could stand on its own even if there weren’t two more books in the series. I almost wept for the joy of this miracle. The only complaint I have is this: Mafi’s prose is GORGEOUS. From an aesthetic standpoint I was absolutely in love with her writing style—so unique and lovely. As a reader you are completely in Juliette’s head; the narration reads the way a broken seventeen year old’s thought process should. However, I found myself distracted at times, pulled out of the action because I was focusing on actual writing itself. Thinking, “oh, I love the way she put these words together” instead of being totally immersed in what was going on. That is really my only complaint with the story. It's a minor complaint in SHATTER ME, but could prove to be a bigger detraction in the subsequent books, when I assume the action will ramp up and Juliette will be less introspective.In short: this was awesome. You need to read it when it’s released in November.