To start out, the underlying story is quite interesting, I'll give it that.
However, it couldn't be more bad YA even if it tried. Every. single. important. character is desribed as either beautiful or gorgeous etc. Instant burning passionate I-WANT-YOU-RAWR love happens immediately based on nothing but looks and looking at each other over a peroid of time with no talking. We know next to nothing about any of the characters and only know that Juliette, for girl who's been shunned all her life is exceptionally bright and knowledgeable in a Mary-Sue kind of way.
Another negative aspect for me is the very flowery poetry-like way in which it's written. It's not my style and while I can appreciate some of it, most of the time it's just way over the top.
Some spoilerfree examples of that:
(and this is just a tiny handful)
When Mafi wasn't busy overly descriping the-sun-rotates-around-the-moon kind of passion (actual phrase. I don't even), she made main character Juliette gasp - constantly. That is, literally, her most often used response. Even to straight forward questions or answers. She gasps - I sigh.
There are some nice twists and turns (which I won't give away) and the bad guy does seem genuinely messed up (rather than just "evil" being his sole trait) - HOWEVER rather than let us figure some things out for ourselves, even the basic things are spelled out. And other elements, particularly some of the action/army scenes are just too simple, where I really got the feeling that the author had no idea other than seeing it in films and just emulated that. It seems that the book takes place sometime in our not to distant future, but it gives no answers as to what happened and to be honest it felt a little half-hearted. This is not a book about what happened; what happened is merely a backdrop for Juliette to be awesome in.
Seeing as they can both be labelled as dysopian, when I started reading this, I excepted something similar to my last read, Slated, however as the cover should have warned me, this is a very different kind of YA book. Where Kyla from Slated is more in the style of Katniss from The Hunger Games, Juliette reminds me more of Elena from The Vampire Diaries. They do have similar endings though. Shatter Me is a book that's all about telling the initial story, introducing people, letting us know exactly how special Juliette is. The fight we won't see till the next book (or the next? who knows).
But as I started out saying the overall story is interesting and despite Mafi's efforts to dumb it down I liked the conspiracy feelings to it and I'll probably bite my tongue and read the next book, Unravel Me, to see what happens. I'm debating whether to give it 2 or 3 stars, but will land on 2, because it annoys me how ridiculous the YA genre has become when it comes to beauty and body image as well as love.
Shatter Me #1
338 pages / published in 2011
|Review by Iben Jakobsen, BoB, 2013|