Sunday, January 1, 2012

Review: Shatter Me

 Title: Shatter Me

Author: Tahereh Mafi

Rating: 2 out of 5 stars

Part of a Series?: First in series

Goodreads Summary:
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. 

In this electrifying debut, Tahereh Mafi presents a world as riveting asThe Hunger Games and a superhero story as thrilling as The X-Men. Full of pulse-pounding romance, intoxicating villainy, and high-stakes choices, Shatter Me is a fresh and original dystopian novel—with a paranormal twist—that will leave readers anxiously awaiting its sequel.

Coincidence? I THINK NOT!

Mafi has created the single most coincidence-driven plot line I've ever read. 

Adam coincidentally goes to the same grade school as Juliette. They coincidentally both liked each other but never had the guts to confess. They both coincidentally have the world's crappiest parents. Adam coincidentally finds out that Juliette is held prisoner at the asylum after years of separation. Juliette coincidentally doesn't recognize Adam at first, even though later she explicitly says she could never forget his gorgeous eyes. Coincidentally, Adam is the only one who can touch Juliette without kicking the bucket. Warner also can touch Juliette without dying...COINCIDENTALLY! Kenji coincidentally finds them both after they run away. Kenji coincidentally happens to have superpowers and that's how he found them after they ran away. Juliette coincidentally happens to have ANOTHER superpower that comes in handy while rescuing Adam. EveryoneFifty two people at Omega-Whatever-It's-Called coincidentally have superpowers as well. Mafi coincidentally overuses the slash feature on Microsoft Word. 

But hey, if that's how she likes to write her books...moving on. 

I just really didn't like this book. At first it was the prose. There are a lot of metaphors and similes and analogies and, in general, a lot of literary devices. Half the time, I had to stop and reread the sentence just to figure out what Mafi was referring to. But I got over it. I actually started to warm to the author's style of writing; it's pretty, once you get used to it. However, the issues I had with Juliette and Adam never really faded. I started hating Juliette right away because she just is so negative. She has the mentality of Edgar Allen Poe without the sprinkling of poetic genius. Constantly, Juliette holds these internal monologues with herself about how craptastic her life is/was before she got sent to prison by her own parents. Then, she meets Adam, the only other person in the world who can match her for the sheer amounts of emo screen time. Since we don't get to read Adam's POV firsthand, Mafi generously let us HEAR his thoughts ALOUD in horribly dramatic love confessions to Juliette. Together, their conversations together went something like this. 

"Remember when you gave your pudding cup to that girl in fifth grade?" Adam asked. "That's when I fell in love with you for the first time! And it just hurt my soul so much because you represented the only thing that's good with this world!"
Juliette blushed (because she does that a lot) and touched Adam's cheek; their connection filled her heart with warmth rivaling the sun!
"Juliette," Adam whispered. "You complete me."
Juliette started weeping. "You had me at pudding cup!"

By the time Adam and Juliette manage to escape Warner and his cronies, I had lost all sensation in my head. This story numbs your brain because you're forced to deal with the farfetched situations Mafi sets up for her little characters while simultaneously wading through five soap-worthy confessions a chapter. It barely registered on my "plot twist" meter that the big underdog resistance movement is filled with X-Men. I knew that part of the online summary had to play in somewhere...I just wasn't expecting it to be after chapter 50.

Don't read this. I don't recommend it.

P.S. I have nothing against Jerry Maguire!

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