When I first heard of Shatter Me, I knew instantly that I would fall in love with this series. A fast-paced dystopian adventure with a kick-butt female protagonist, who also happens to possess lethal powers that enable her to try and stop the actions of a corrupt government… I was hooked! After hearing all the hype and rave reviews surrounding this series as a whole, I was pretty sad to admit that I didn’t love Shatter Me at first. I wasn’t completely in love with it, like everyone who had read it seemed to be, and I just did not understand why it was so well-loved. Before you question why I still gave it such a high rating despite being upset with the story, let me break down my main annoyance in regards to this book.
Juliette, at the beginning of Shatter Me, was extremely annoying. She continued to make wrong choices for all the wrong reasons, and it led her absolutely nowhere. Her blatant insecurities rubbed off on me the wrong way, and made me feel just as anxious and worrisome as her. Reading this book was a bit stressful because of this, and I found myself simply trying to push through the story rather than savouring, and enjoying, it.
With being that said, this annoyance was short-lived. Juliette’s many internalized problems, coupled with the initial slow pace of the novel made for a rough start that (thankfully) only lasted about the first 150 pages. After that period, the novel really took off, and I began to see just why people fell in love with this story.
Unravel Me, like Shatter Me, definitely had its slow moments, though they were not to the same degree. They were much more few-and-far-between and acted more like small bumps and cracks in the pavement of the story, rather than a pothole that left the reader stuck and troubled.
Ignite Me, unlike its predecessors, was overflowing with so much juicy, rich content that there was absolutely no room for a slow pace to creep into the bloodstream of the story. Much like how a glass of water can only contain so much content before shattering into millions of crystal shards, Ignite Me brought about so many feels, so many tears of happiness, sorrow, and frustration, so many sexy, sweet love scenes that the walls of the Shatter Me glass could not possibly contain all of the excitement and burst at the seams, allowing the contents to spill off the page and seep directly into the reader’s hearts. Ignite Me left me succulently satisfied, yet yearning for more, more, more.
One thing that I appreciate so much about this series as a whole is not the beautifully crafted plot, nor is it the breathlessly striking characters. No, it’s the fact that Mafi does not use the detail that she is writing for a younger audience as an excuse to “dumb down” her writing.
So many YA books are written in the most plain manner possible. It’s a reoccurring theme within this genre that leaves younger readers, like myself, thinking, “Do they really think we aren’t as literate as our elders?” I find this a very frustrating reality of most YA works, and although I truly love the genre, it is a huge problem for me. However, Mafi seamlessly and eloquently breaks out of this YA cage, so to speak, and enriches her audience with lush, lavish language and absolutely captivating imagery.
When describing the Shatter Me trilogy, I like to label the writing as “one giant metaphor”. I’ve never read a book that implants such rich imagery into the reader’s mind through the use of continuous metaphors, or one that uses such complex vocabulary in such a tasteful way- one that doesn’t make the novel seem like a textbook. Mafi does not treat her, generally, younger audience as being below her, or as being incapable of understanding such a beautiful prose.
She treats us like mature, intelligent humans through her writing, and because of that, I hold such high respect for her.
The Shatter Me trilogy is one that I would recommend to anyone that loves a well-rounded story that’s packed full of action, suspense, and lots and lots of romance. This series almost borders between a romance novel and a dystopian. It is very romance-heavy, and the plot is largely driven by an (at times very angst-filled) love triangle. Most of the characters are extremely lovable and come to hold a special place in your heart by the time you reach the conclusion of the series.
A small thing I wish would be added to the series to enrich it even further would be the addition of more humour, especially in Shatter Me. Aside from side-character Kenji Kishimoto, nearly all the characters either have a very dry, sarcastic humour that is very scarce throughout the trilogy. The addition of more humorous moments would have made Shatter Me a bit more readable, but again, this is only a small critique and one could argue that the series is just as good without it.
My small problems with this series are greatly outnumbered by the number of aspects that I loved about this series. I would gladly devour another book if Mafi decided to write one! After finishing the series, I was so sad to say goodbye to the story and especially the characters. They will pull your heart in each and every direction possible, and leave you saddened to let them go by the very end.
Working in collaboration with Jodie Loves Books