Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Review: Shatter Me (Audiobook)

My renewed interest in my challenges has taken me on quite a reading adventure. So much so that I got a little too comfortable. I stopped reading descriptions and looked only for the dystopia designation. Shatter Me, thus proved to be a grave mistake. I didn't go into it with huge expectations though the premise excited me.

Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi
Series: Shatter Me
Genre: Dystopia
Length: 9 hours and 12 minutes
Narrator: Kate Simses
Source: eLibrary
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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.

My Rating:

My Review:
Juliette can kill simply by touching.  When she forgets herself and touches a child she is locked up and forced to live with the knowledge that she is a murderer.  A leader of the Reestablishment, a military government focused on control of all citizens, learns of Juliette's unique skill; he releases her in the hope of keeping her as both a pet and a weapon.

On the story...
Shatter me has a great premise that is ruined by a lack of significant action, distracting writing, and an extremely annoying lead character.

First, nothing happens until halfway into the story.  Until then, the reader is forced into the mind of the most emotional and angsty character that I have ever had the privilege to read.  Juliette talks and emotes and talks some more.  Nothing was happening.    Juliette's emotions always seemed over-the-top no matter the situation.  Whether she is reliving the past or running for her life, she is over-dramatic and whiny.  I recognize that she had a traumatic childhood and led a life where no one loved her.  I recognize that she went through her entire life without being touched.  But I still found myself cringing through most of the book.

Then there is the writing.  When you are listening to an audio and unable to skim, the writing issues are glaringly apparent.  Shatter me seemed like a collection of metaphors and similes rather than a story with a point.  I might have liked the writing as individual quotes out of context.  But I didn't read them separately.  The string of metaphors and similes were strung together, one after another, in a way that made no sense for the story.  You could actually ignore them and miss nothing.  Then there was the repetition.   For some reason Ms. Mafi, and thus Juliette, repeats things three times for dramatic effect.  This was fine the first couple of times but then it started to grate on my nerves.  I actually drove up to the bookstore to look at a physical copy so I could tell you guys know how often it happened.  It happens on almost every page, sometimes a couple of times on the same page.  I saw at least one instance where it happened three times on the same page.  It was annoying.  It was annoying.  It was annoying.

There was very little action, and that's actually okay.  I expected more based on the description, but it wasn't to be.  When the action was present, I enjoyed it.  Finally, things were a little too convenient for the characters.  If I hadn't been reading so many dystopian books back-to-back, this might not have stuck out as a negative.   I feel like an example is needed.  Juliette's touch causes a lot of pain and if she doesn't remove the contact, she will eventually kill the person.  But wouldn't you know that she can touch Adam, the love interest with no consequences?  Oh and they do not find this out by accident.  He just holds her when she's sleeping even though he knows she is dangerous and bam he realizes he can touch her.  I call B.S.

On the narrator...
I enjoyed Ms. Simses' voices for the male characters but did not like it for Juliette's character (go figure).  Juliette is the only female in this book so I'm not sure if it's just this particular character or if I would dislike all female characters from this narrator.

In the book there are strikethroughs.  I saw this when I went into the bookstore.  In the narration, there are these swooshing sounds that sound like ripping paper where the strikethroughs are.  I'm not sure how this effects the story though.  The ripping sound was annoying in the beginning because it happened so often, but it didn't bother me as it became more infrequent.

This book was a yuck for the first half but as things progressed and events actually started moving along, I found I wasn't noticeably cringing and I stopped checking to see when it would be over.  For me, the writing style was a deal-breaker, but if you read the first chapter or listen to an excerpt and it doesn't jump at you, you might find this one enjoyable.

 P.S.  This goes toward that Dystopia challenge that I forgot that I committed to.  If you hadn't noticed yet, there are quite a few more to come :)

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  1. Oh really? See now I loved this book! And I am not a fan of Dystopian at all! Maybe this is the book for non-dystopian readers! LOL

    1. Lots of people love it! I really think the writing style is the deciding factor. I just couldn't. Also, I'm don't read lots of YA set in high school because those seem to be overly angsty. That might be another reason why this wasn't a fit for me.

  2. Only meh, now that is disappointing :( not the one for me

  3. I'm sorry this book didn't work out for me. I skipped it because Juliette does sound on the annoying side and I'm not a big fan of dystopia to begin with.

    I hope your next read it's tons better.

  4. FAB FAB FAB review
    Bummer on the narrator!
    Strikethroughs? That would BUG me.
    I'm very curious to hear the narrator now.

  5. I thought the first half was much better than the second but all in all, it was a bit meh for me too. Like you, I thought the characters were annoying and the strikethrough's too!

    1. See I thought the beginning was horrible. I didn't get the full experience of the strikethroughs.

  6. The one is so polarizing - everyone mostly either loves or hates it. I loved it, but I can also see some of the issues you're talking about. Juliette is VERY unsettled and angsty. I think a lot of the way it was written was to put you in her mind/her thinking, but I can absolutely also see how it could detract from your enjoyment of the story. I will probably re-read this one before I read the sequel, and I'm curious how my thoughts on it might change!

    Molli | Once Upon a Prologue

    1. I agree. This one really hits both ends of the spectrum. I can't imagine anyone actually thinking like that. Even if you are unsettled and angry. It just bugged me. I would be interested to hear if your thoughts changed upon a reread.

  7. I'm trying to get more dystopian reads under my belt but I'm not sure this will be one of them.

  8. Hmm the ripping paper sounds interesting but I can see it being distracting as well!

    I'm sorry you didn't like the book too much, I do agree though, the language did get too flowery at times.

    Welcome back! :)

    Amber Elise @ Du Livre

    1. The language was... I have to stop coming up with new descriptions because then I'll start being mean when I don't really intend that.

  9. Well that sucks. I remember trying to read a book that had nothing but metaphors and similes strung together that ultimately made no sense! That annoys the hell out of me and I have no idea why authors feel the need to do that. Let the writing stand without all the extra flowery language.

    I think I would have had issues with this one from your descriptions. I'm not a fan of enclosed spaces and captivity...I would have been itching for her release.

    1. It doesn't make sense. I think any writing technique should be used sparingly.

  10. "...lack of significant action, distracting writing, and an extremely annoying lead character." Wow...enough said right there.

    On a related note, I think I am over dystopia. They're just getting far too bleak for me.

    1. They are bleak but I'm addicted to the world building. It's like a new world every time. A new world without sparkly people or people with wings. I like it.


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