Tuesday, April 10, 2012
Shattered My Expectations
If your very touch could end a person's life, would you think you were cursed, or just plain crazy? What if everyone you knew and love thought you were a monster? Tahereh Mafi's Shatter Me explores the world of a girl whose touch is so dangerous, she hasn't seen the light of day in almost a year.
Juliette hasn't spoken to another human being for over 200 days. She has been locked in the asylum for so long, she thinks she really is going crazy when they give her a roommate- a boy roommate. Adam tries to talk to her, but it has been so long since she had any human contact that she can barely even look at him. Most of all, she must make sure he doesn't touch her because the consequences are deadly. When officers barge into their cell, Juliette is taken away to one of the Reestablishment's leaders. What she expects least of all is to find out Adam is one of the soldiers.
Warner, head of a Reestablishment sector, wants to use Juliette's "gift" to help him deal with prisoners and enemies, but she doesn't have any interest in hurting anyone. Now that the Reestablishment has destroyed and starved most of the population, they find themselves at war with the rebels who will do anything to stop the destruction of the country and its people. But Juliette simply cannot give herself to Warner and his evil plans, especially since his attachment to her borders on obsession... OK, actually is creepy obsessive! Juliette thinks she has no way to be free to Warner, but help may arrive in the most unlikeliest of places.
At first, I really struggled with this story. When Juliette is in the asylum, her stream of consciousness is not only disturbing and frantic, but Mafi uses the cross out feature to show her scattered thoughts... a LOT. It started out being just a little annoying and became incredibly frustrating after a few pages. Thankfully, after Juliette left the asylum, the cross-outs reduced dramatically. I get the choice to use this feature to show the mental state of the character, but I have to admit it was pretty distracting at first. I actually almost put it down because the cross-outs annoyed me, but I am very glad I kept with it because the story beneath this strange choice was really, really good.
The characters are a little difficult to get to know: Juliette because of her shattered mental state and Adam because you aren't immediately sure of what his game is. Once you get about half-way into the book, though, you find yourself very invested in the story and therefore totally invested in the characters, especially when Adam proves his worth to Juliette. The book certainly ends on a cliffhanger and in a way I never saw coming (I think if you read some reviews, someone may have given it away, but I won't do that to you!). The rest of the trilogy has the potential to be quite amazing. I think the dystopia classification is a little lost, though. There is definitely a dystopic world out there, but the scope of the world is hidden behind Juliette most of the time. I think there will be more of the dystopia in the upcoming books, but if there is one thing I am sure of, it is that once you finish this book, your curiosity simply won't be able to prevent from reading the next book.