Review - Shatter Me - Tahereh Mafi

Shatter Me (Shatter Me, #1)Title: Shatter Me
Author: Tahereh Mafi
Genre: Young-Adult
Publication: November 15th 2011, Harper
Pages: 338 pages, Ebook
Source: My Own
Rating: 5/5 Cupcakes!

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 th e 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.
I've never entirely been sure about what Shatter Me is about, but whenever I'm on Twitter I somehow end up hearing about how someone else has become a devoted fan of Tahereh Mafi's work. I made a reading plan this month that I was planning on sticking to, but then I entered a giveaway to win Unravel Me and I became highly intrigued by what these books were actually about. Even though I wasn't planning on reading Shatter Me this month, I did, and I loved every exhilarating, achingly beautiful, astonishing part that made up this book. 

Tahereh Mafi has managed to create such a heart-felt, original, breathtaking story that will creep into your heart and never leave. I can safely say this is one of the most riveting and brutal books I have read this year whilst simultaneously remaining one of the most delicate and sensitive books. An astonishingly well-written debut novel that deals with self-acceptance, learning to love and be loved, as well as how what could become of this world if we don't change our way of living soon. A novel that will leave you clutching the book to your chest and leave you feeling dumbstruck at how someone could possibly create such a wondrous book that will leave you feeling giddy once you've read it.

Shatter Me is a dystopian romance that is set in the future where the world as we know it has been torn apart by war and been destroyed by our own mundane stupidity. The Re-establishment has made promises to the people that things will get better, that there will be food to cure the starvation epidemic, and they'll save the animals that are being poisoned by plants that have had chemicals scattered onto their surface. They made a continuous stream of promises that they aren't actually going through with. Instead they're hiding secrets that would anger the citizens further, revealing just how greedy and self-absorbed the government is, yet if someone speaks out about the twisted things that could be happening, they will be shot or threatened. The only thing controlling these people is fear.

Then comes Juliette Ferrars, seventeen years old and she hasn't touched anyone in exactly 264 days, not since she killed an innocent person with her bare hands, when she was just trying to engage in an act of kindness. A girl whose touch is lethal and used as an instrument of war. Juliette can not touch or be touched, for anyone she touches will either suffer crippling agony or, even, die. Accused for a crime she didn't commit and viewed as murderer, Juliette is taken away and stowed in an asylum; when a boy she has memories of and shared some of her past with, walks into her cell room, Juliette's life completely alters.

This book has such an incredible story line. A lot of times I find dystopian novels can lack originality but Shatter Me has been one of the most original, mind-blowing novels I've read. I gaped at every unexpected turn of events, I swooned at every tender moment shared between Juliette and Adam that steadily pieced her shattered life together and I bristled in fury, and fear, for every time Juliette was lashed out upon, physically or mentally.

The plot was well thought out and there were a lot of things that happened that I would never have thought could've happen. I absolutely adored the ending, it was a fantastic round-up that didn't leave you on a major cliffhanger but that left you asking enough questions that you would want answered in the sequel to Shatter Me. The ending to me was perfect, I just loved the *spoiler* organisation at the end that was so determined and hopeful to transform the world into the happy place it use to be. I loved how there were others with powers like Juliette and how you could already see she was starting to fit in and accept herself.*spoiler*

The characters were flawless. All individual, with their own complexes, with their own inner battles trying to survive in the world. We have Juliette, destroyed and wilting. Her life has been shattered from the beginning and all she has are broken remnants from a painful past that have embedded themselves in her brain and refuse to be loosened, no matter how hard she tries. You will love Juliette. She has been treated like a monster, a creature from hell since the day she came into existence. She hates the skin she lives in as she knows that her hands, and her body, draws power from innocent victims when she accidentally touches them, drawing power from them whilst they get weaker and she grows stronger. She hates that she has hurt people, she hates that when she did murder one person, a crime she didn't mean to commit, people saw her as an abomination that needed to be locked up. I honestly felt so much sympathy towards Juliette and when you read Shatter Me you will feel an ache inside as you just hope and pray the whole way through that she will find happiness in the end. She was feisty and courageous in the face of danger and she revealed how strong she was underneath the fragility and delicateness. There were times where she could punch through a wall with her bare hands and times where she would grab a gun and fire. And then there were also times where her nightmares would cause her to scream and leave her sobbing in heap on the floor. 

Warner was an interesting character and I still haven't made a decision on him yet. He had me wanting to slap him and shake some sense into him but then simultaneously having me wanting to hug him and teach him how to treat people. Teach him how showing kindness, love, affection will win more hearts than holding someone captive and killing people. He had an unquenchable thirst for power and that posed a problem, he wanted control of the world and Juliette felt that he wanted to use her as a pawn in the game between good and evil, and she was caught on the side she didn't want to be on, Warner's side. 

Yet underneath this hardened, war-crazy, thirst for power exterior you could see that beneath that was the little boy that had been taught the wrong ways from an early age and he needed someone to bring out the good in him, which he was hoping would be Juliette, but she hasn't seen that yet.  He had me shaking my head in disbelief and anger as to how he could do murderous acts to people but then he showed how his softer side co-existed, and an amusing side, and you couldn't help but feel a small amount of love for him,  as you could see he loved Juliette in his twisted way and he felt angered, bewildered and upset and disappointed when she didn't return her affection. I also found him and Juliette's equivalent stubbornness quite amusing to watch.

Adam, oh, Adam. So genuinely kind and good despite the cruel, abominable childhood he had to endure. He, unlike Warner, doesn't believe in retaliating with the intentional harming of others but instead focuses on bringing happiness and positivity to those around him. I loved the way he was unafraid to try touching Juliette, to show the passionate love he so deeply felt for her I loved his humour, his personality  and the multiple descriptions of his eyes that are like pools of rain and rivers of ink that you want to see and experience for yourself.

The romance in the book was amazing. I loved how Adam and Juliette loved each other, I loved reading about their tender, heart-felt words that warm your heart. It was amazing seeing how two of the most broken people could complete each other. They have history together and I hope they will have a future together too, as they are perfect for each other.

I did felt sorry for Warner though, with his contorted misconception of  how to love someone and how to be loved, not by force or materialistic ventures but the kindness of words, the intimate touches, how that when that person looks at you, you know they think you are beautiful and not able to do a wrong deed. And Warner, he has never been shown love as he was brought up by a power-seeking family that demand nothing but the best and will be volatile if their expectations are not met. I saw through the hardened face of a killer, a brutal leader who lusts for power and control and enforces cruelty there is a misunderstood, broken boy with feelings and emotions to complicated to explain, but despite it all, I think his love for Juliette is authentic. He still needs to discover that he must alter his actions, since every other one has driven her away and deepened her disgust for him.

The author's writing is astonishingly brilliant, a pure, raw talent gifted from above. She manages to transform simple things of this world, into a seemingly exotic object. She manages to find the underlying beauty in everything and it is rare to find an author capable of having such talent. She painted vivid images in my mind, images I wouldn't have been capable of seeing if I had not read Shatter Me, my imagination is her canvas and her thoughts and words are the paintbrush that paints these otherworldly descriptions in my mind. Her writing is unbelievably magical and hypnotizing that once you've read a sentence her words have you in her grasp and however much you try to look away (although you would never dare dream of that) you won't be able to stop reading because you feel like in order to breathe you need to continue reading the heart-wrenching words printed on the page that weaves it's way into your heart. You need to read to be closer to the characters, to watch them fall in love, to watch them slowly piece back together their destroyed, shattered lives that they have helplessly had to watch be decapitated in front of them, piece it together by kind words and tender touches. 

The descriptions are so intricately carved, so beautifully composed they make you feel as if you are being enveloped in a warm embrace, the help you see the beauty in things we take for granted, they make us realise the fragility, strength, beauty, horror and destruction of what humans are capable of.

Shatter Me is a sensational, riveting and remarkable debut from author Tahereh Mafi. Perfection at it's finest. From tormented characters to a brutal world. This book shows what an undeniable fact that this is what could become of this world if we continue letting our greed and thirst for power and control to rule us. You will fall in love with the characters and be reeled back by the unearthly writing that this author is capable of creating. Everyone must familiarise themselves with Tahereh's books. One of the best books read this year.

I give it: 5/5 CUPCAKES!