I love reading books, especially Young Adult books of all kinds. I have a book reviewing blog (The Reading Shelf) that I try to update whenever I'm not reading or procrastinating on the internet.
Tahereh Mafi’s Shatter Me trilogy, with its very purple prose and unhinged protagonist, isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. Luckily for me, I love the crazy metaphorical-and-imagery-heavy writing and am quite interested in the controversial relationship between Warner and Juliette.
Before I talk about the good things, though, I’ll focus on the problems I had with this book. Namely, Juliette and Adam. Either I forgot or they weren’t quite so annoying in the first book. I get that Juliette is a very angsty person, so I can’t be surprised when she spends much of the book brooding about the problems in her relationship with Adam, but I was surprised to see how angsty Adam was as well. I didn’t think he was so bad in the first book, but in this book he can’t even take joking from Kenji without blowing up at him. He freaks out over their relationship as much as Juliette does, which doesn’t really feel like in character for him. Then again, maybe the near year between reading the first and the second books made me forget that about him.
I really feel for poor Kenji. I think I liked him in the first book as well, but I didn’t remember liking him this much. Definitely my favorite character. Warner is pretty interesting, but he’s a bit too obsessed and believes-he’s-in-love with Juliette, so Kenji easily wins the much coveted award of My Favorite Character in the Shatter Me Trilogy (a very prestigous award for sure). Poor Kenji keeps getting knocked down, though, from the physical attacks he has to deal with (mostly as the accidents from his own allies) to all the yelling he gets from the much-too-serious pairing of Juliette and Adam. Come on, Kenji is awesome and so damn entertaining – why don’t the love-struck main characters see this?!
As for the story itself, it kind of started off slow for me, but I read the second half/last two thirds of it fairly quickly. This was partially due to being stuck in the car for most of the time, but my interest in the story also played a big part in it. When Juliette wasn’t angsting about Adam or the fact that she thinks she’s an awful person (two things she kept harping on to the point where it got quite annoying), the story was quite interesting. There were twists I didn’t see coming, questions I wanted answered, and fun not-broody secondary characters who I cared about. Well, I cared about the broody characters too, but sometimes it was hard to remember that.
Before I read this book, I had already heard about the infamous Chapter 62, which was a huge Warner chapter. When reading this, I couldn’t remember for sure if it was 52 or 62, so when I read 52 and it had a Juliette and Warner scene, I was a bit disappointed because it didn’t seem like a big deal. Then I got to 62 and happily saw that it was the chapter that I had heard about. Now, I know plenty of people don’t like Warner. For all his interesting traits, he is still a very bad person and killer. He really shouldn’t be a viable love interest and I’m sure Tahereh Mafi is going to end the third book by breaking the hearts of Warner-and-Juliette fans by reminding them that Warner is a cold-blooded killer and not-a-nice-guy. I don’t like Warner and Juliette together because he’s the best guy for her – I like him because he’s interesting and I like their scenes together. If they did actually get together, I would probably think a little less of Juliette. But, based on Warner’s speech reminding Juliette that he’s not a nice guy and that he doesn’t want to change, either he’s not going to get Juliette or he’s going to really, really change.
Wow, that turned into a much longer review than I originally planned. Oh well, if you just want to scan it and read the final paragraph to get the gist of the whole thing, this is all you need to know: Juliette and Adam are much too angsty for my taste, but there are many entertaining secondary characters (especially Kenji!), a pretty interesting and twisty story, and the third person in the triangle who is really interesting even though he’s a bad guy. A solid sequel that has me excited for the third and final book in the trilogy.