Pretty cover, right? Well, don’t let it full you, Juliette doesn’t wear any amazing white ball gowns in the book.
Fortunately for you guys, the second dystopia novel I’m looking at is not Modelland. It’s not The Hunger Games either, if that’s what you’re thinking. Honestly, I probably won’t review The Hunger Games since I’m 200th on the waiting list at my library to read it. So instead, I’ll be doing this entry on dystopia on Tahereh Mafi’s Shatter Me.
Background Information on Shatter Me/Review
General Summary: Juliette has been locked up for a long time and has very little human contact with anyone. And that’s probably a good thing since Juliette has sort of a lethal touch. Seriously, she touches she kills. Just like Rogue from X-Men. Except Juliette lacks Rogue’s cool bad assness and Southern accent. Rather, she mopes and belittles herself throughout a good chunk of the book. Oh, and falls in love with a complete hottie, while a complete psycho tries to seduce her so that they can rule the world together.
Review: Ambivalent. That’s how I felt throughout most of this book. It had it’s good points and boy did it have it’s bad points. The action sequences and world building were pretty decent. However, structurally it was difficult to read. I don’t think the style was really that unique. Rather, I thought it was a bit
gimmicky contrived. Plus, I don’t really understand why Mafi couldn’t write out numbers. Is it that difficult of a thing to do? I also had problems with the character development. The two leads were not fleshed out. Juliette was very weak. She didn’t do really anything to fight back throughout most of the book. And I was sort of bored beyond belief with everyone telling her how pretty she was. Seriously. Every single guy, save for one whose hormones haven’t kicked in yet, mentions how hot she is. As for Adam, he just comes off as too perfect. He was apparently in love with Juliette since the third grade, in which they never really shared a real conversation with each other, but he enlisted in the evil despot army just to find and rescue her. It doesn’t make really that much sense to me since he has a little brother he should’ve been watching over, but whatever. I just wish there was a little edge to him. The one character that was well defined was the villain, believe it or not.
Best Feature: X-Men. I like all these little nods to X-Men in this book. But of course it’s not X-Men. Though Juliette does remind me of Rogue. A very whiney version of Rogue.
Worst Feature: Bad Grammar: Sigh. I feel conflicted a part of me wants to award this feature to Juliette, but in the end I decided to give it to the bad grammar that was deemed Mafi’s unique style. Look, I took lots of creative writing classes in college and I’m well aware that there are several ways to write a book. But I have issues with varying stylistic approaches when they are just blatantly obvious and serve no purpose other than giving me a migrane. For example, I don’t understand why Mafi didn’t write out numbers. There was no reason for it. Neither for the repeated
crossing out of lines. While it might seem like it’s a unique feature that makes the writing catchy to read it gets redundant. Also, I should point out the frequent use of metaphors was obnoxious. It seemed like every single sentence there was some sort of metaphor. Wait, you might be thinking, metaphors are a good thing. And they are, they really are. But to have them every other sentence, reminds me of the fourth grade where you had to write a story that included x amounts of adjectives or what not.
Blockbuster Worthy: It’s already been optioned kids, so yeah it could be turned to a movie. Do I think it would personally work? Maybe with a little adjustment. Meaning, making Juliette a little more kick ass. Here’s who I’d cast:
Juliette: Analeigh Tipton
: Yes, she’s a model and from ANTM none the less. But Juliette is frequently described as some sort of beauty queen. And Analeigh can sort of act too and was one of the nicer contestants in the house. So she gets the coveted role of Juliette.
Adam: Nathan Parsons
: With his hair just a tad shorter I think he’d be able to do Adam some justice.
Warren: Alex Pettyfer
: Okay, I think Alex can do sadistic evil. I haven’t exactly seen him do it, but I think he’s capable of doing it. And Warren is described as being attractive, so Alex is the perfect fit.
Unlike Modelland, I definitely got dystopia vibes from this book. Though the romance seemed to be the primary focus in the novel. Does this make it a bad dystopia themed novel? Not necessarily. It does meet some of the requisite elements of what makes a successful dystopia as seen below.
A) Dissatisfaction with Society: I think this book clearly shows this element of dystopia. Juliette’s world became what it is because of poor human choices. It has that same twisted feeling that Brave New World does in what the future has become, minus the orgies.
B) They Make a Good Story: I think Mafi’s novel has a pretty cool concept. The whole X-Men like powers in a dystopia world was so interesting on many levels. I have a lot of questions I keep asking myself. Why is Juliette the way she is, why weren’t the others recognized for what they are, what’s Warren’s deal, and what are Adam’s powers if he has any? I’ll more than likely read the sequel because of this. However, though she has a neat concept the writing style and character development weigh down the book heavily.
C) They’re Popular Because They’re being Over Marketed: This book has been heavily marketed. It has a flashy cover, two kick ass book trailers. Not to mention it’s author is represented by a pretty high powered agent
. Note, it’s not a bad book. But I don’t think it would’ve been as popular as it is, had it not had gotten the press it got.
D) Dystopian Boys Are Just Plain Hot: Well, romance is pretty much played up in this book. Is Adam so droll worthy that I’m reading the book just for him? Heck no. In fact, I found Adam to be greatly underdeveloped. I do think though that there will be some who disagree with me. I’m sorry, I just like my men 3D that’s all.
Overall Thoughts: I think this is a pretty solid dystopia. Mafi does create a society with tension and problems. I don’t think it’s the best dysopia novel out there, but I think if you’re a fan of the sub-genre you might enjoy it. Especially if you like romance and X-Men.
Overall Book Rating: Five out of Ten X-Men: Honestly, it’s pretty middle of the road. If you enjoy experimental prose you might enjoy it better than I did. There are far, far worse things to read.