Shatter Me

Shatter Me

Title: Shatter Me

Author: Tahereh Mafi

Series: Shatter Me, #1

Publisher: HarperCollins

Release Date: October 2nd 2012


Three Stars

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 colour.

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.

– Blurb courtesy of

My Thoughts On…

…The Plot

“They locked me up with a boy. A boy . Dear god. They’re trying to kill me. They’ve done it one purpose. To torture me, to torment me, to keep me from sleeping through the night ever again.”

Juliette has been locked away for years, ever since she was fourteen and taken from her parents. In the asylum where she has been for the better part of a year she has no contact with anyone else, her meals are all delivered through the door, the time she has to wash is taken in the dark and hurried to avoid the other inmates. Then, one day, she gets a cellmate.

She instantly recognises Adam from when they were children but she keeps him at arm’s length. Juliette knows all too well what touching her skin will do to other people so she has shut herself off from the world and from her new cellmate whom she only wants to be close to. Then the Reestablishment come for her.

Taken from the asylum Juliette finds herself dining with the head of Sector 45, finds herself with a wardrobe of luxurious dresses, her own room with a comfy bed, and access to the very best food three times a day. But there’s a price. Her interaction with Adam as her cellmate was a test and now Warner, the head of Sector 45, knows Juliette has not been irreversibly damaged by her time in isolation he wants her to work for him.

“I only know now that the scientists are wrong.
The world is flat.
I know because I was tossed right off the edge and I’ve been trying to hold on for 17 years. I’ve been trying to climb back up for 17 years but it’s nearly impossible to beat gravity when no one is willing to give you a hand.”

Warner believes that Juliette can use her powers for the Reestablishment, helping them keep control over the civilians and the soldiers, however Juliette is determined  not to give into Warner. She fears him and what he wants from her but Warner maintains all he wants is for Juliette to properly master her powers and work with him, not for him. Juliette is put through rigorous tests, and she sees the dark side, both to Warner’s leadership of his Sector and the Reestablishment itself.

Juliette doesn’t wants anything to do with the Reestablishment, even more so after what she’s seen, but she isn’t sure who she can trust. She may remember Adam from their schooldays but he shows no recognition of her, and even if she could trust him is there anywhere she could go where Warner and the Reestablishment would not find her.

…The Characters

“Sometimes I’m so desperate to touch, to be touched, to feel, that I’m almost certain I’m going to fall off a cliff in an alternate universe where no one will ever be able to find me.”

Juliette has been moved through the system, from place to place before ending up in the asylum when she was fourteen, and as such she is a very closed off person. Even when she finally gets a cellmate she writes in her notebook rather than reaching out to him. Juliette has been scorned all her life, by her parents and her school friends, ever since her ability to kill people with her touch was revealed.

I think it would have been very easy for Juliette to become a cruel and unhinged character after everything she faced, both as a child and in the asylum, but she is the opposite of that. Everything she went through just made her more kind, more careful and unwilling to hurt people around her. She doesn’t cow to Warner’s attempts to convert her to the Reestablishment’s goal, believing they are wrong and Warner is evil.

He smiles a small smile. His lips twitch like he’s trying not to laugh. His eyes soften as they study my own. “There’s very little I wouldn’t do for you.”

Adam is a loyal soldier for the Reestablishment, or so it seems. When he is first thrown into Juliette’s cell with her he is harsh, trying to assert his dominance unsure of how his she will react to him, but eventually he softens up. He tries to reach out to Juliette and doesn’t seem put off when she rejects his advances. Within the Reestablishment Adam blends into the background among all the other soldiers in Sector 45 but there is more to him than meets the eye.

He whispers, “You have no idea how much I’ve thought about you. How many times I’ve dreamt”–he takes a tight breath–”how many times I’ve dreamt about being this close to you.” He moves to run a hand through his hair before he changes his mind. Looks down. Looks up. “God, Juliette, I’d follow you anywhere. You’re the only good thing left in this world.”

Now I was aware, before starting this book, that there is a love triangle between Juliette, Adam and Warner. As it stands now I’m not really shipping Juliette with either of them. Adam and Juliette’s relationship felt a lot like insta-love. Adam admired her from afar when they were in school together but he never approached her, never spoke to her, simply built an image of her in his mind and fell in love with that image. Juliette is in one way the same, she admired Adam from afar and fell in love with the image of him she created in her mind, but also as the first/only person she can touch their relationship felt a little bit convenient.

Warner on the other hand had a very forceful and almost rape-y vibe to him. He seemed to force his feelings and wants onto Juliette, ignoring her protests, not only in regards his feelings for her but also in her role with the Reestablishment. However I did like the fact that Warner seems to want Juliette to master her abilities, everything he does, however twisted it may be, is his skewed way to help Juliette discover everything about herself and her ability.

…The Setting

“I never thought it would get this bad. I never thought the Reestablishment would take things so far. They’re incinerating culture, the beauty of diversity. The new citizens of our world will be reduced to nothing but numbers, easily interchangeable, easily removable, easily destroyed for disobedience.
We have lost our humanity.”

The world is dying, things have changed since Juliette was a child, and changed even more while she’s been locked away. Food is scarce and the Reestablishment has taken control of everything, forcing their ideals on the civilians who are left trying to make something of their ruined lives. However, asides from the small glimpses we get we don’t see much of the world as it is now in this book. Part of me liked this aspect because we see everything from Juliette’s POV and as she’s been locked away for years with no interaction with anyone sane it really emphasised her loneliness; we didn’t know more than she does. The writing style came together in a way that gave us a unique insight into Juliette’s mind and, in spite of staying strong, it hasn’t left her unscathed. Also it would have been interesting to see more of how Juliette’s powers worked and where they came from. From what we see it seems as though she was born with them but how, and why; are they genetic, an accident, some after-effect from the end of the world?

While I enjoyed Shatter Me at times it seemed like a generic dystopian novel. It was good don’t get me wrong but I felt like I’ve read the story time and time again in other dystopian books. However it was a good start to the series, and when I finished I was excited to get started on the second book, hoping to see more from Warner and less from Adam.

What did you think of Shatter Me? Was it a favourite of yours or could you just not get into the story? Let me know.

33 thoughts on “Shatter Me

  1. Fantastic review, Beth! This is a series that I’ve been meaning to read forever but just keep getting distracted by other things haha. Reading this, I feel like I’m going to have a lot of issues with it, but it’s good to hear that the series does get better as it goes on. I’ll definitely be interested to see how I feel about it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Lauren! 😀
      This was a series that was on my to-read list for ages as well before I finally got around to it! Yeah I wasn’t as much of a fan of the first book as I was the second and third, the series gets so much better as it goes on so I do hope you enjoy it. I can’t wait to see your review when you get around to reading it! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. So glad you enjoyed it. The character development in this trilogy is impressive, so I’m sure you’ll like each book more than the one before. When I read Shatter Me I didn’t have many other dystopian novels to compare it to and it easily became one of my favourites. Either way, this story blossoms with time. I’m looking forward to hearing your thoughts on the sequel! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh yes the character developent is by far my favourite thing about this series (I have already finished reading all three books, and the two novellas) and the way Juliette’s character evolves is honestly one of my favourite aspects to the trilogy.
      I think I’m the opposite end of the spectrum, I’ve read way too many dystopian novels so a book needs to be truly unique for me to rate it five stars you know. Still I thought this was a good series, the second and third books just went from strength to strength. 😀

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Ohh you already read them all 😅 🙈
        Yes it’s probably the best character development I’ve ever read. Haha oh that’s the price we have to pay as readers I guess, after some time most stories seem too familiar. 😁 Definitely! The third one was by far my fave out of the trilogy. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Yeah, it just took me way way too long to get around to writing my reviews for the series! Procrastination for the win!
        Yeah I guess 🙂 and I suppose when you read as much as we do we’re bound to run into one or two books that seem similar! Yeah the third was definitely the best (I love Juliette and Warner! ❤️)

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Procrastination for the win right? XD At least we’re not alone because like you said everyone does it!
        I was never really a massive fan of Adam and well he didn’t redeem himself in my mind by the end of the trilogy either!

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Absolutely! 😀 Yes, even the most organized people have probably procrastinated at least once in their life! 😀
        Yeah, he definitely didn’t get any more personality points towards the end.

        Liked by 1 person

      5. I like to think I’m quite organised 🙂 I’m just really lazy at times!
        If anything he got worse toward the end. I hated his outbursts towards Juliette because he acted like a spoiler child who lost his favourite toy or something, just really immature!

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah overall I thought it was a good book, and I think the series definitely improves with the second and third in the series. I completely agree with you about the unique voice though, I loved the writing style and also I really loved Juliette’s character. I think the chracter development is my favourite aspect of this trilogy and more than made up for the less-than-unique story in my opinion 😀

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yeah, I think it took me a while to warm up to Juliette’s character but I think her reactions were spot on for Shatter Me. After everything she went through she wasn’t going to come out of the asylum ready to kick butt and take names. It’s something she needed to build up to and it’s why her development throughout the series was my favourite part of the trilogy! 😀

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Katherine! 😀
      I do see where you’re coming from in regards to the characters. I was not a fan of either Adam or Warner, but I will say the character development improves by leaps and bounds in the second and third book! Yeah, each to their own I guess. I enjoyed the series but I don’t think it’s become one of my favourites! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I love this review Beth ❤ it's brilliant. I'll admit, I haven't read a lot of good reviews for this book, and most of them emphasised how terrible and weak Juliette is, which naturally would make me hesitant to read this.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Fatima ❤
      Yeah I don't think the first book was a strong start to the series, however I do think the trilogy improves with the second and third book, Juliette's character definitely does.
      She kind of starts off weak in Shatter Me but based on her past and where she is in the beginning of the book I didn't think it was too out of character. I would have been more surprised if immediately after leaving the asylum she was ready to take on the world you know?
      I was a little hesitant to start this series too but, even if it won't be on my favourites list, I did enjoy the trilogy 😀

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Ahh, I see exactly what you mean.
        I suppose, for a YA heroine it is unusual and that’s why readers didn’t like her. I’ll admit, I prefer strong heroines who push on through adversity (but that’s just me expecting the characters to be everything I’m not) so I guess it’s more realistic. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Yeah it was unusual, and it’s not like Juliette stays weak and helpless throughout the whole series. She does become a much stronger person as she learns to control her ability, and it was her journey to that point that made me love her character so much. It was nice that the author took that time to develop her that way, starting her off weak and making her stronger rather than having her be independent and kick-ass from the get-go! 😀

        Liked by 1 person

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