The Shatter Me series by Tahereh Mafi is a fantasy young adult series that follows Juliette, a teenager with a deadly touch. After years of isolation, Juliette is finally taken out of confinement with plans to be used as a war weapon by Warner, the son of a ruthless Reestablishment leader. However, Juliette begins to question herself and her powers after she meets Adam, a soldier who seems immune to her touch.
I remember when Restore Me, the fourth book in this series was released and tons of people in the book community were extremely excited. I never read Shatter Me, but remembered reading tons of less-than-favorable reviews when the first book appeared during a huge boom in young adult fantasy a couple years back. I’m always interested in reading some of the OG Booktube favorites, especially when I’ve heard mixed reviews. For example, I personally heard many negative reviews for The Selection series when it first came out, but picked it up when many bloggers loved it because they went in with the mindset of it being a fun, but not extremely deep read. I found that I actually read had fun reading that series as well, years after it originally gained popularity. Let’s see if I had the same success with Shatter Me!
The Shatter Me series follows a very similar formula to other YA fantasies released around the same time. Juliette, who considers herself plan and undesirable, has a remarkable power that helps her gain confidence and strengths. She finds herself between two love interests: the nice boy she knew from her childhood and the somewhat crazy bad boy in some position of power. In this sense, the first two books of the Shatter Me series, Shatter Me and Unravel Me, don’t really stand out in a sea of young adult novels since their plot echoes many other books in the same genre. I also found much of the plot recycled multiple times throughout these first two books which makes it difficult to differentiate the first two books in this series and see any growth in the plot.
As for the plot, it didn’t personally grab me like other OG young adult fan favorites. I planned to read this entire series this past summer, but didn’t find the motivation to pick up Ignite Me or Restore Me yet. For me, I couldn’t quite grip the feel of the plot. For me, The Reestablishment wasn’t clearly defined and I wasn’t entirely sure of how they came to power or their plans. As for the rebels, there’s more of a superhero vibe and soon it’s like everyone has a super power so it’s not that unique or different anymore. This two parts of the book just didn’t mesh well for me and they didn’t excite me either.
Another aspect of the book that I have mixed feelings towards are the characters. Juliette is a fairly typical YA heroine for the time it was released. I wish her character was a little more well-developed and had a little more growth. I felt like the only things I really knew about her after the second book was vague details about her childhood, that she was in isolation for years, and that she is pretty (which is said by every male in the book countless times). As for Adam, he’s another standard character for the time. He’s the stable boy you knew from childhood, but doesn’t really have anything else going for him. As for Warner, I could probably write a whole post just on him. He’s someone I just can’t get behind. I get he’s been through a lot too, but he seems very unstable and problematic that it makes me uncomfortable to want to cheer on a relationship for him with Juliette.
Some of the biggest criticisms I’ve seen regarding the series is the flowery writing style that contains unnecessary descriptions that don’t always make sense. I’m not someone who really gravitates towards flowery writing, however, the writing style didn’t bother me as I read the book. If you read a lot, it is easy to filter through the lengthy descriptions and see the main idea. Both Shatter Me and Unravel Me were quick reads for me, so maybe I read too fast, but the extra writing wasn’t a major turn-off for me.
After reading these first two books, I’m not sure if I want to continue this series. They were quick reads, but I’m not sure if I want to read the same story over and over again like I did while reading the first two books. I give Shatter Me and Unravel Me three out of five stars.
What are some OG popular books you’ve heard of from blogging, but have never read?