Review: Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi

Title:  Shatter Me
Author:  Tahereh Mafi
Series:  Shatter Me #1
Publisher:  Harper, an imprint of HarperCollins
Publication Date:  November 15, 2011
Pages:  338
Format/Source:  Paperback/Purchased
Age Group/Genre: Young Adult/Science Fiction, Fantasy, Dystopian, Paranormal

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. (Cover and synopsis from Goodreads.)

Extreme Mixed Emotions…

You guys, this book.  This BOOK.  I had such mixed emotions while reading Shatter Me.  For the first 1/4 I was hating it.  The writing was just too much. The crossed-out sections didn’t really bother me, and I could understand their purpose.  I also understood that Juliette is supposed to be this extremely broken girl, and that the writing reflected that.  But along with the crossed-out sentences, there were metaphors gone wild, too much personification of inanimate objects, purple prose and hyperbole out the wazoo, and ridiculous run-ons and incomplete sentences.  It was all TOO MUCH.  I think the crossed-out sentences and a few run-ons when Juliette was extremely anxious would have been enough to convey her broken psyche.  Everything else was unnecessary and, as a grammar nerd, it drove me crazy.  Not literally crazy of course (that’s what Juliette would have said, though), but my notes became larger and more and more angry as I read.  There were occasionally some nice passages, but they were just overshadowed by everything else.

I was pretty sure I was going to DNF, but I like to get to 1/4 of the book or 100 pages, whichever comes first, so that I can stop reading and feel like I still gave the book a chance.  And what happened right around 1/4?  The story picked up.  The writing kind of stopped being so saturated with metaphors and purple prose.  And I got sucked in.

Now, I still had issues.  Man, did I have issues.  But I just wanted to know what was going to happen.  I wanted to see if this book was going to become super freaking fantabulous.  It didn’t.  But I was still sucked in, and by the end, I NEEDED answers.  So I bought all the other books for my Kindle.  So that’s one thing I can definitely say about this book:  it can hook you.  It can take you from writing huge angry curse-ridden notes to making you crave answers.  I’m the proof.

A Taste of My Notes…

But like I said, I still had major issues with this book.  So I’m going to give you a little taste of my notes:

  • What does ice smell like, exactly?
  • Cross-outs, personification, metaphors, purple prose.  PICK ONE!
  • Really?  You blinked 1,000 times?
  • “I count my fingers to make sure they’re still there.” WHAT??? It’s not like she just got them cut off!
  • “So much everything all the things dead.” AHHHHHHH!
  • Tally of how many times I’ve wanted to throw this book:  7 (and that’s probably a conservative tally)
  • When you have your characters in a scene where they’re actually being physically harmed by the butts of guns, etc., don’t use this hyperbole to show how she’s feeling.  It makes readers think someone is actually cutting off her neck or whatever.
  • “The world is bleeding.” OMG WTF?
  • “Warner finally unshackles my eyes…” WHAT???
  • I need answers!
So, yeah.  I normally try to be nice with my reviews but this book drove me nuts and I needed to get some of that off my chest.  But, like I said, by the end of this book I was hooked and I needed answers.  So the book obviously wasn’t all bad.  I liked the character of James, and the ending was pretty interesting, and the writing did get better as the book went on.  But I still had my issues, even though I wanted to read the rest of the series ASAP.
My rating for Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi:
2 stars.  Yes, it got better towards the end, and I needed answers after finishing, but all the issues I had really outweighed the positive aspects.
Find it:  Goodreads │ Amazon │ HarperCollins
Disclaimer:  I purchased this book myself.  I was not compensated in any way for this review.


  1. Hanna Whitehead

    March 21, 2014 at 10:59 am

    Haha, I'm completely in agreement with you. I liked the plot concept for Shatter Me but the way it was executed drove me up the wall. I just couldn't deal with it and I wanted to hurl it across the room.

    I finished it (just) but I won't be reading the next. It just tried too hard for me and was way too gimmicky. Nice review :)

  2. Fifi Islaih

    March 21, 2014 at 12:31 pm

    Hmm I've wanted to read this book for so long and now that the series is over I want to get on it. Yet thanks for the warning!

  3. Jen Ryland/YA Romantics

    March 22, 2014 at 1:04 pm

    Juliette is definitely a unique character, that's for sure. I look forward to seeing what you think of the next two books!
    Thanks so much for stopping by! Jen @ YA Romantics

  4. Brandi Kosiner

    March 22, 2014 at 11:52 pm

    Aw, sorry to hear that you weren't in love with this one, it is certain taste, I would say

  5. Midnyte Reader

    March 27, 2014 at 2:21 am

    I own these books, but hesitate to read them because of the so-so reviews.

  6. fakesteph

    April 8, 2014 at 12:04 am

    But Warner. *fans self*

  7. Bittner

    April 8, 2014 at 3:41 am

    first of all: What is a purple prose? I have never heard of this phrase. I know the color purple and I know what a prose is. So is a purple prose when a prose gets beaten to death so bad that it shows up all purple and bruised in the writing? Because I could believe that of this book.
    second of all: Oh the bleeding! You must stop the bleeding! If you don't stop the book and the world from bleeding all that blood then I am going to start bleed. And when my bleeding of my blood starts being bled then you are going to start having your blood bled and then everything and everyone will be bleeding the blood of all the bleeding!

  8. Bittner

    April 8, 2014 at 3:42 am

    P.S. That may be my personal favorite comment I've ever left on your blog!

  9. Kimberly @ On the Wings of Books

    April 23, 2014 at 1:08 am

    I absolutely LOVE your notes. FYI, Ice does not actually smell :P

Leave a Reply

Want to include a link to one of your blog posts below your comment? Enter your URL in the website field, then click the button below to get started.