Fashionista dictators and the women who love….er, hate them, or, a review of Shatter Me

Now. Before we begin, you need to click here. It’s a thoughtful, tasteful song that fits one of the male leads really well (I am lying). I will let you guess which one. Ready? Okay, here we go. Shatter Me, by Tahereh Mafi, is a tale of Juliette, a girl with a number obsession and an inability to touch people without hurting them, Warner, a boy with a Juliette obsession and a taste for tyranny and fashion, and Adam, who’s…interesting, I guess? He has lots of symbolic tattoos. As always, spoilers ahoy.

Things that made SiameseMayhem purr, in no particular order

We open with Juliette in prison. Due to her isolation, she has made a habit of counting in her head and always knows how much time has passed at any given time. This girls likes her Arabic numerals; no wimpy letters for her. 1, not one! She also likes to cross out things. A lot. And she has a bit of a Faulknerian attitude towards punctuation. I know this sounds like a recipe for a gimmicky disaster, but it actually worked for me. Her numerical obsession and her constant thought-censoring paint a portrait of a repressed girl who’s barely holding onto sanity, which is, um, kind of understandable considering all the trauma her world has on the menu. She can’t touch people without hurting them, she has spent 264 days in solitary confinement, and the commander, otherwise known as Warner, of Sector 45 (an area part of the larger Reestablishment, which is your typical repressive regime) has taken an interest in her abilities.

Despite this lovely mishmash of pain, pain, PAAAAINNN, Juliette never forgets her moral core, and for that, I love her. Even in the face of all the pretty dresses Warner showers her with. She stands up to him, but she doesn’t waste time throwing a tantrum when it becomes apparent that the danger is real (Thank goodness. I like my girls polite, smart, and deadly. Juliette delivers). Also, also, she gets the best of our villain. It is delicious. Sorry, Warner, but you were kinda asking for that one. Next time, cool it with the emotional abuse and lying and using Juliette as a torture device, kay? I don’t think Juliette likes that very much.

Also, Warner. Warner was fascinating. He’s a little bit of a dictator, in case you didn’t notice, and he seems to have a fondness for military chic and breakfast and hygiene, so naturally I like him in spite of my better judgement. Like I mentioned earlier, he is ever so slightly obsessed with Juliette, to the point that his entire military base knows about it. He’s been collecting files on her for a while (that’s not creepy) and has pitched the Juliette-as-torture-device idea to higher-ups so he could spring her from prison (thanks, Warner!). It’s all fine dining and fabulous clothes from there for Juliette, but she is understandably displeased, what with the whole torturing people thing.

Most interestingly, Warner is a bit pathetic. He’s one of those demented lovelorn antagonists who’s like,

Excuse me, I have to go add this song to Warner’s playlist. Which I am totally not making. No way.

And the girl’s all,

Go watch this movie.

You’ve seen that scene in movies, right? Not quite a love triangle, just a heroine, her boyfriend, and the stalkerish antagonist who’s just too wrong/twisted/ugly. Basically, the Snape of the love triangle. Warner’s not quite a Snape, but he has that codependent desperation you can almost taste. And everyone knows it.

“Warner is ruthless. He has no mercy for anyone….But he’s starting to crack, Juliette.  He’s so desperate to have you…join him. And for all his threats, he doesn’t want to force you. He wants you to want it. To choose him, in a way….He’s losing his edge.”

Very insightful Adam. Thank you. Also, I may have terrible taste in fictional men, which I have suspected for a while now.

Unlike in the movies, however, Warner does not fall in a vat of conveniently placed lava after declaring himself, and for that, I am grateful, because his interactions with Juliette are easily the most interesting part of the book. And who knows? He might just steal the heroine.

Oh, oh, and I nearly forgot to mention Warner’s sass.

“You killed him,” I manage to whisper. “You just killed him–”

“You’re very astute.”

Shine on, you beautiful dictator, shine on.

Things that did not make SiameseMayhem purr

Adam, easily. He was interesting in the beginning, but he got a bit bland by the end. Also, tanks are not the best places to make out, for future reference. Like, he has cool relationships with his brother and his friend Kenji, but he makes WAY too many lovey-dovey speeches. What’s more, he drags Juliette into his giant vat of mushiness every time he appears on the page. Ew. No. Stop. I like my romance understated, mkay? Also, he didn’t have closets upon closets of military chic.

Worth reading?

Let’s just say I have a mental Warner playlist full of Britney Spears and Lady Gaga songs. Basically, my own demented version of a marriage proposal. And I already ordered the sequel.

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