Shatter Me – A major disappointment

I loved reading Tahereh Mafi’s Furthermore and Whichwood, so I had high hopes for delving into Shatter me.

I couldn’t do it.

I forced myself to go through the book, hoping it would improve. But the writing was too much. Too many metaphors that pulled me out the scene, things like “my jaw was hanging by a shoelace.” Poor writing overall, which is surprising for Mafi. Her other books were superb.

The characters were flat, cliche, and boring. The plot, mundane and predictable. The world could have been interesting but wasn’t built out enough. I expected far more, and was left starving for anything worth consuming.

This is a typical YA dystopian novel that recycled ideas in such a boring way, it had me rolling my eyes. The romance was too much, too soon, and too flat. It was all passion, but not passionate. All heat with no flavor. And it bored me to death.

The world was built on the premise that humans have destroyed the environment and the Reestablishment has taken over, a Big Brother/Authoritarian government that hurts its people and hoards supplies for the elite.

This could have been an interesting aspect, especially in a dystopian, but at least in Shatter Me, the first book of the series, the world wasn’t explored enough. We got glimpses of it, which somewhat makes sense considering Juliette, the protagonist has been locked up in an insane asylum for three years and doesn’t know what’s happening in the world, but I wanted more. And the book fell short of that for me.

I did like Mafi’s creativity in showing Juliette’s mental state, and in crossing out lines of text as Juliette records her thoughts in her journal. I gave two stars for the creativity in technique, though the writing itself was cringe-worthy.

The “twists” were poorly designed and executed and reminded me too much of Teen Titans, but without the flair and personality of the Titans’ personalities.

If you want a good YA dystopian, look to Sabaa Tahir’s An Ember in the Ashes, Suzanna Collins’ Hunger Games, or Neal Shusterman’s The Scythe Arc.

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