I absolutely love this book! Combine The Hunger Games with the X-men and you have Shatter Me. I was looking for something to read next and read the first chapter of this as a trial run and could not put it down. My favorite character from the X-men is Rogue so this book hit me right away as something I would love! =)
First of all the structure is unique. It is written as a sort of journal. So, it is first person POV and a bit like stream of consciousness which takes a bit of getting used to. However, Mafi uses a lot of strikethroughs and repetition and lack of punctuation to show that our main character’s sanity (who, by the way, you don’t know her name without looking at the synopsis until several chapters in) is hanging by a thread. Mafi’s writing is beautifully poetic and full of unique and powerful metaphors. Impecibly done. Every sentence is crafted to show you exactly where our heroine is emotionally, physically, psychologically. Not a word is wasted.
Juliette, our heroine, is an exquisitely crafted character. I could relate to her because as an extremely loving, protective, touch-oriented person myself, I cannot imagine the insanity I would be driven to by being denied the ability to touch people. Yet, somehow, Juliette hangs on to her humanity after being completely shunned by her entire world. Though she has tried to close herself off to being touched emotional as well as physically, she does so mainly to protect others. Though she screams inwardly to be touched, she wants to protect the world from her curse/gift. She has never intentially hurt anyone and cannot imagine doing so.
Adam is…wow…I don’t have an adjective perfect enough for Adam. He is loving, devoted, determined, trusting, vulnerable, believable… As his character develops throughout the novel you just want to squeal with little schoolgirl giggles because he is just so…right…? That’s all I got…he baffles my vocabulary. Juliette and Adam set each other free emotionally. They are equals in the relationship, neither needing one more than the other, neither taking more from the other, neither always being the rescuer/rescuee. It is balanced. There is mutual benefit.
Warner is our villian and boy is he the perfect villian. A perfect villian, in my mind, is someone who you can sympathize with to a degree but you still hate him in the end. One, who though wrong, thoroughly believes himself to be right. Warner believes he is doing right by Juliette and in some twisted way actually cares for her. Disclaimer: I got the Kindle version with extra stuff in the back…part of which is a journal from Warner’s POV so…that may have skewed my perception of him. Also, Mafi seems to contrast he and Juliette quite a bit. Both had rough childhoods/difficult relationships with parents. Both have a certain level of power/giftedness. Both have been completely stripped of their basic need to feel loved and accepted for who they are from parental and societal figures, yet they react oppositely. Warner turns into a power hungry, obsessive, maniac and Juliette remains loving, compassionate and protective.
In short, drop everything…everything short of a baby/small child…and read this book! I am so looking forward to Unravel Me!