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Shatter Me

Shatter Me - Tahereh Mafi This review and others are posted at Read, Rinse, Repeat.

You touch her, you die.

That is Juliette's life in Shatter Me, a combination dystpoian/post-apocalyptic novel. We learn that there was some man-made environmental catastrophe that killed off much of the Earth's plant and animal life, and human life along with it. A group calling themselves The Re-Establishment has seized control, promising that they have the solutions to the world's ills. These solutions primarily involve ruling with an iron fist. When the story opens, Juliette has been imprisoned for nine months for reasons initially unknown, with no human contact. One day, a boy named Adam is thrown into her cell. What was his crime? Who made the decision to suddenly end Juliette's solitary confinement, and why is her cell suddenly co-ed? Adam is not very forthcoming with his explanations, and Juliette is even less so.

What IS known is that Juliette has an extraordinary gift (or curse, depending on if you're on the receiving end.) Her touch is deadly, causing her to be ostracized her entire young life, including by her own parents. When Adam shows kindness to her, Juliette is suspicious. Of course, we know from the moment Adam enters her cell that that won't last long.

A couple of things bothered me. Early on, Juliette demonstrated a supernatural ability (not her deadly touch) that took even her by surprise. There were plenty of times it could have come in handy, but she neglected to use it, and I pretty much forgot about it until she whipped out this ability near the end. Maybe she'd forgotten about it, too?

Then there's the villain, Warner...disgusting, smarmy, seemingly flat-out evil. Perhaps too evil? I like my villains with at least a teaspoon of some redeeming quality. He's obsessed with Juliette and determined to be a couple, much to her disgust. He insists that Juliette could be happy being as power-hungry as he is, but he does not know her very well since Juliette is sickened by the thought of hurting people.

I wish we learned more about what caused the environmental catastrophe for a couple of reasons: 1) I might have been better able to understand how The Re-Establishment was able to seize control. 2) Simply, it could have added an interesting element to the story.

This book was a roller-coaster for me. I was very intrigued by the opening, I found myself a bit bored in the middle with Warner, and then I was intrigued all over again during the last thirty pages. I'm glad it ended on a high note because I can look forward to the sequel.