Sunday, February 5, 2012

Review: Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi

Publisher: Harper Collins
Pages: 338
Release: November 2011
Source: Review copy from BEA
None this year, read it in 2011
Good to Know: This is Mafi's debutnovel and the first book in a new series.

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.

A Great Debut

Shatter Me received a lot of buzz before it was released, and Harper Collins put a lot of effort and marketing behind the novel. This off course creates expectations.

Juliette have been locket up in an asylum for 264 days. She has no direct contact with any human being; her food (the days when she is lucky enough to get something to eat) is served through a hole in the door. Everything she does, she does alone. She have not been able to change clothes or freshen up. The reason she is locked up is because she have special powers, powers that may have caused the death of a little boy. One day Juliette gets a cellmate, Adam, and her whole world changes.

The world outside Juliette's cell is also changed. Wars have been raging and a lot of people are dead due to starvation and misery. A lot of the trees and plants are gone. The people with the power, The Reestablishment, have to fight to keep their power because there are rebels and they want power too.

The world is flat. I know because I was tossed right off the edge and I've been trying to hold on for seventeen years. I've been trying to climb back up for seventeen years but it's nearly impossible to beat gravity when no one is willing to give you a hand.

Shatter Me is not a book that screams out loud to you. Nothing happens in fast pace, and the book is not a pageturner as in a lot of things is happening. But it is a pageturner nevertheless: it is the writing and the way the author makes us sympathise with Juliette that makes this such a great read.

I spent my life folded between the pages of books. In the absence of human relationships I formed bonds with paper characters. (...)My world is one interwoven web of words, stringing limb to limb, bone to sinew, thoughts and images all together. I am a being comprised of lettrs, a character created by sentences, a figment of imagination formed through fiction.

I have never read anything like this, the writingstyle is unique. Most of the book is narrated by Juliette and her thoughts are very well described. I felt like I was in her head the whole time. There are a lot of good metaphores and descriptions in the novel, I found myself constantly marking pages that had beautiful quotations.  Mafi writes like a poet. Some will perhaps say that it is too much, but it worked for me. Once I got used to Mafi's style of writing I devoured the book.

"You're getting a cellmate roommate", they said to me.
"We hope you rot to death in this place For good behavior", they said to me.
"Another psycho just like you No more isolation", they said to me.
Every inch of my skin is taut with tension, fraught with feeling and the pressure is building in my chest, pounding louder and faster and harder, overcompensating for my stillness. I do not tremble when I'm frozen in time. I train my breaths to come slower, I count things that do not exist, I make up numbers I do not have, I pretend time is a broken hourglass bleeding seconds through sand. I dare to believe.

The book is a dystopian novel, and as such it does not work so well. I miss more information about the new world order: What really happened before, what triggered the events etc. I hope I will get some answers in the sequel, bit if you are reading this book hoping for a fastpaced dystiopian read you will be dissappointed.

His face is 10,000 possibilities staring straight through me.

My eyes are two windows cracked open by the chaos in this world. 

Shatter Me  was a refresing read in a genre where it is not easy to stand out. This book stands out and I am looking forward to the next one. 

Other reviews:
Tynga's Reviews
The Readiacs 
The Book Smugglers 

1 comment:

Tynga said...

Glad you enjoyed it too!

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