Book Review: “Shatter Me” by Tahereh Mafi

Warning: This book review contains spoilers for “Shatter Me” by Tahereh Mafi. If you want to avoid spoilers, don’t read this review!

Cover of "Shatter Me" by Tahereh Mafi.
Cover of “Shatter Me” by Tahereh Mafi.

I’m back with another book review, and this time I’m reviewing “Shatter Me” by Tahereh Mafi! Here’s a summary so we know what it’s about:

“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.”

Romance Development: 3 out of 5 stars

Character Development: 3.5 out of 5 stars

I found that the characters were interesting. I enjoyed reading the side characters of Kenji and James, even though they weren’t in the novel or as involved as the main characters, Juliette and Adam, were.  Warner came off as very creepy, though I think this was hugely intentional on the author’s part. I enjoyed reading him better in the novella attached to the end of the book, “Destroy Me,” and I think it really showed off his huge obsession about Juliette well.

Unfortunately, the main characters themselves, Juliette and Adam, don’t have a lot of development. Sure, they have their romance, but that’s the biggest part of their development. It feels somewhat insta-love in how their romance blossoms, but it’s subverted in the fact that they’ve actually known each other since highschool as friends, which I liked. However, I do think that their romance could use a little more build-up prior to all the kisses and so on, as it felt mildly rushed.

Plot Development: 3.5 out of 5 stars

I enjoyed reading the plot of the story for the most part, but I felt that the pacing was too slow, by the middle of the novel. It picked up again closer to the end of the book, but the abrupt ending ruined it and felt too cliffhanger-like, even if it is the first book in a series.

Worldbuilding Development: 3.5 out of 5 stars

The general worldbuilding could be better-expanded on. What is given in the book is enough to understand that the story takes place in an apocalyptic/post-apocalypse setting, but I’m not sure if it gave a great explanation for why Juliette has the powers she has, or how she even got them in the first place. In a way, the fact that Juliette has her destructive powers, and that there is little to no explanation for why and/how she got those powers, is the most random thing out of all of the worldbuilding. Given that there are others with supernatural abilities like hers, as revealed by the end of the book, I hope that this is explained in the next book in this series. I also hope that more detail can be given on Castle’s organized rebellion, too, because that was interesting to read close to the end of the book.

Overall, I’m rating this book out of 3.5 out of 5 stars!

This book will be interesting to those that are interested in supernatural powers in a post-apocalypse setting.

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