(Shatter Me #3)
by Tahereh Mafi
February 4, 2014
The heart-stopping conclusion to the New York Times bestselling Shatter Me series, which Ransom Riggs, bestselling author of Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children, called "a thrilling, high-stakes saga of self-discovery and forbidden love"
Juliette now knows she may be the only one who can stop the Reestablishment. But to take them down, she'll need the help of the one person she never thought she could trust: Warner. And as they work together, Juliette will discover that everything she thought she knew-about Warner, her abilities, and even Adam-was wrong.
In Shatter Me, Tahereh Mafi created a captivating and original story that combined the best of dystopian and paranormal and was praised by Publishers Weekly as "a gripping read from an author who's not afraid to take risks." The sequel, Unravel Me, blew readers away with heart-racing twists and turns, and New York Times bestselling author Kami Garcia said it was "dangerous, sexy, romantic, and intense." Now this final book brings the series to a shocking and climactic end. (Goodreads Summary.)
There are ZERO plot spoilers in this review:)
I am an hourglass.
My Take On It
Well, this isn't going to be a review so much as my reactions on this book--because honestly I don't think I could write a thorough review without spoiling the book to those who haven't yet read it. And I REFUSE to do that disservice to anyone.
Well here is what my Goodreads Progress Updates from my reading looked like:
|02/04||page 94||26.0%||"Kenji Kishimoto. <3 That is all."|
|02/04||page 127||36.0%||"I'm not sure how I'm feeling about everything with Warner/Juliette/Adam yet but I must again reiterate that Kenji is my HERO. Love him so."|
|02/04||page 152||43.0%||"WHOA. This is getting intense. And something is feeling not right...."|
|02/04||page 160||45.0%||"On this page the magic sentence was spoken. Not gonna say that line but this line might be the most important, defining line I've read yet in the book. So I'm noting it here. Oh and Kenji continues to rock."|
|02/04||page 291||82.0%||"Jesus, there is so much sexual innuendo & tension right now it's killing me. There better be some Action in the very near future. Grrrr"|
|02/04||page 400||100.0%||"Holy anticlimactic."|
** by the way if you are dying of curiosity about what this "magic sentence" is that I allude to above, email or message me and I'll be glad to fill you in:) **
And really that about sums it all up.
I'm not going to tell you which boy won the girl. I will tell you that the boy that I think is the best match for the girl was the winner, and for that I am happy. But other than that little bit I'm not going to talk so much about the triangle really. Instead I'm going to tell you what worked for me in this book and what didn't. And again, I'm going to be about as vague as the updates above--so my apologies to those of you who are wanting a little more detail.
First and foremost, all, and I do mean ALL, my post Unravel Me predictions for Ignite Me fell through. NOT ONE PREDICTION CAME TO PASS. Of course there are upsides and downsides to this. Some things I feared were definitely going to happen didn't. On the downside, a lot of things I wanted to see happen didn't. I don't think I have ever been so outright wrong about how a book would turn out in my entire reading life. So kudos to Tahereh Mafi for keeping me on my toes. But that's not to say that I'm not also a bit disappointed that some of the things I really, really wanted didn't come to be.
Next up, three main characters do a complete 180 (in my humble opinion.) Now there are quite a few reviewers out there who will disagree with me on this point. But to me the characters of Juliette, Adam and Warner all ended up COMPLETELY different than how they were written at the beginning of this series. That's not really a bad thing I guess--I mean there is nothing worse than a static character--but I have to say that even though some of these character changes began showing up as far back at the novella Destroy Me--which released prior to book #2, Unravel Me, I sill found these abrupt character shifts to be jarring and unsettling. I kept waiting for the new Juliette, just to give an example, to revert back to the old Juliette. Same with Adam and Warner. It did keep me on edge, so to speak--it definitely drove up the tension-- but it also made me feel off balance, off center and very, very unsettled. You can see that above in the Goodreads progress graph--I kept feeling like something was off--something felt not right. It was hard for me to wrap my head around some of the changes--especially the changes that weren't alluded to earlier in the series--that were just all of sudden upon us in Ignite Me.
With all the crazy character shifts I have to say that there was one major exception. Kenji Kishimoto, perhaps the best secondary character ever written, remained Kenji. In fact, I'm going to start referring to him as True North, because he was the one character that I could consistently count on to be just as funny, churlish, flirty, and playfully arrogant as ever. Kenji has the tendency to steal the show in this series but never more so than in Ignite Me. PLEASEEEEE tell me this is not the end for Kenji, Ms. Mafi. Please tell me you have a novella, or better yet, an entire spin off series planned for him. I read yesterday in Jamie's interview with Mafi over at The Perpetual Page Turner (read that HERE) that Kenji is her favorite character to write--and that he is actually based on her older brothers in part. Clearly you love him as much as I, Tahereh (well, let's not go overboard here...I mean I really, really, really love him....) so let's have more of this shining star in the future, yes??
Ok, enough about the characters--what about the technicalities, plotting and pacing and such? Well here's what you need to know--and I can't put this any better than my friend Jen @ Jen Ryland YA Romantics put it in her Ignite Me Review (Read that HERE), this book is 99% relationship drama- 1% everything else. Now let's again be honest. Isn't the main reason most of us have enjoyed this series because of the romance? I mean--yeah there is definitely a cool story underneath--Juliette has a death touch (and a few other crazy ass abilities it turns out) and the only people who can touch her are two insanely hot boys who also happen to be brothers (though one of them still doesn't know this) and who basically want to kill each other. Have in fact, tried to kill each other on numerous occasions. I mean isn't that stuff--that high drama that could stand toe to toe with any daytime soap opera--what has kept the majority of us enthralled? If I look at it from that line of thought than I should be out of my mind THRILLED that this final book devotes so much time to the romance/ relationship drama between Juliette, Adam and Warner. But here's the strange thing. As I was reading Ignite Me--as I was completely covered, drowning, in this super duper intense, explosive high drama--a very small part of my brain kept thinking....um...what about the rebellion? What about taking down the Restablishment? What about the ultimate baddie Anderson, Warner's dad, where is he in all this? And as the pages began to dwindle and the relationship drama monster continued to rage on, I began to worry. I began to wonder if we were going to get the proper ending that this dystopian thriller--like all dystopian thrillers--deserved. Did it happen in the end? Well, yes and no. There is resolution. The conclusion is not opened ended. But in my humble opinion it could've been better. It could have been longer. It could've been more explosive. It was, to me anyway, more than a little anticlimactic. (As you can clearly see above in the Goodreads graph.) So yeah, that kinda sucked for this reader.
Ok--so that was a downer paragraph, huh? Let's turn this around (because I always try to end with the positive) and talk about something better. Let's talk about what Tahereh Mafi pretty much always manages to get right: swoony, hot and heavy ROMANCE. Look, I read a lot of YA. And I read a fair bit of Adult fiction. But I gotta tell you--Tahereh Mafi can bring the steam. She is a bonafide expert when it comes to the 3 "S''s- steam, sizzle and swoon. Shatter Me was hot (hello, shower scene anybody??) But Unravel Me--for this reader at least--absolutely blew the cover off just about every other YA read out there when Mafi penned the now infamous chapter 62. Fans of that particular aspect of Mafi's writing will be happy to hear that Ignite Me has it's own version of the fabled Chapter 62 (Psst! It's Chapter 55--be on the look out!)
I've seen it written again and again, and I have to agree--Ms. Mafi if you should ever decide to do a little hop over into the adult genre to do some romance writing, I for one will DEFINITELY be reading.
I loved chapter 55---I did. And I could leave it at that and move on. But listen--and this might just be me: as much as I loved it, I loved Chapter 62 more. Read into that what you will but here is why: I loved the declarations in chapter 62. I loved the words. I loved those deep, soul baring, panty- dropping words, people. And while there may or may not be some panty -dropping in chapter 55, there didn't seem to be as many words. And I kind of missed that.
So, overall my impressions of Ignite Me? I have to say that I am torn as a reader. There were some things that I definitely liked. Some important things. But there were a lot more smaller things that I didn't. And for me at least, all of those smaller things really started to add up once I finished reading and started to mull it all over. The romance was great--but the characters shifts this late in the game kept me off balance the entire book. The triangle was messy--as triangles tend to be, which is why one of my close reader friends is officially challenging herself to go triangle free in 2014-- and the way that it ended did not sit well with me on the whole. A lot of plot threads that I thought would lead somewhere just didn't at all--and that bugs me because it feels like a missed opportunity in some ways. But I get that Mafi wrote this book to chronicle the evolution of a girl, a girl who started out a frightened shell of a person, and winds up being a leader of a rebellion in many ways. If that was Mafi's ultimate goal with this series than I must admit she succeeded. But for this reader anyway--I had hoped for a little more--and can't help walking away from this series kind of deflated and bummed out. For me, this book didn't compare to Unravel Me in terms of complexity, action, and swoon appeal.
But that's just me being honest. And my opinion should, by no means keep all of you out there from experiencing this series for yourself. I hope that it won't :)
Find Tahereh Mafi here: website / goodreads / twitter / facebook / youtube / tumblr
Read more reviews of Ignite Me:
The Perpetual Page Turner
Jen Ryland/ YA Romantics
The Starry-Eyed Revue