Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi

I was able to get my hands on an advance reader’s edition of Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi and I read it in a few days. The premise was good: dystopian world, teenage girl with the Rogue-like ability to kill with her touch, hot guy, bad guy, new tyrannical form of government, lots of action. So why did I hate it?

*takes deep breath*

First off, it was compared to The Hunger Games because of its suspense and action. Pahah, yeah right. That’s like The Wizards of Waverly Place claiming to be better than Harry Potter. Or an American Idol hopeful claiming to be the next Whitney, Britney, or Mariah. 

Not likely.

Secondly, we already have Rogue from X-Men, and I’m not sure how Mafi got around pretty much plagiarizing the whole idea of the main character, Juliette, having the exact same super powers. The exact same super powers. I mean, yes, it’s an awesome concept, but it’s been done. At least expound upon it or change it in some way–kill with a kiss, can only non-lethally touch members of her own sex, withers plants and food–SOMETHING.

But the language, oh the language. That’s what absolutely destroyed it for me. It was the most overly-done, laughablely dramatic inner monologue that I have literally ever read. Some of the sentences were actually painful, they were so bad. Cringe-worthy is the only way to describe it. I don’t know what Mafi’s editor was thinking, but creating meaningful metaphors and similes clearly slipped their mind. Here’s a gem. She talking about a teenage mother at the grocery store:

“Her legs were standing crossed at the ankles, her child was on a leash she thought he thought was a backpack. She thought he was too dumb/too young/too immature to understand that the rope tying him to her wrist was a device designed to trap him in her uninterested circle of self-sympathy. She’s too young to have a kid, to have these responsibilities, to be buried by a child who has needs that don’t accomodate her own. Her life is so incredibly unbearable so immensely multifaceted too glamorous for the leashed legacy of her loins to understand.

Did you catch that last sentence? The leashed legacy of her loins. It just makes me shudder every time. This is an example of trying way way way too hard at it’s finest. It’s a kid on a leash for crissakes. And no, that’s not a typo. There are about a hundred commas missing from that paragraph. It kills me a little inside, it really does.

And that’s not all. Painfully over-extended sentences like this spatter every single page like gravel in a scraped knee. Murdering minutes = spending time. Breaking knee caps = feeling weak. Deep blue pools I’m drowning in = eyes. Every fist in the world has decided to punch me in the stomach = I am upset. My heart is an exploding water balloon in my chest = my heart is racing.

The list goes on. And on. And on.

I was literally just flipped through random pages to find those.

The first half is excruciating, and the second half is bearable. Bearable, not great. Not good. Bearable. And it clearly leaves an opening for sequel, which I will be glad to pass on.

If only this book sucked the life out of me while I was reading it, I would have been spared the unendurable agony of 340 pages of my time wasted.

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About Chelsea McDonald

As an avid reader since I was big enough to hold a book, I continue to enjoy losing myself in the thrall of a good story on a daily basis. Since many of my cohorts do not share the same passion, Cracking Spines will be the perfect outlet to express my adulation or frustration concerning the books that cross my path. In this way, my loyal followers will be able to enjoy the stories that are worthwhile and avoid the duds altogether. I also have a Shelfari account at http://www.shelfari.com/chelseamcdonald15 View all posts by Chelsea McDonald

2 responses to “Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi

  • megsays

    Glad for your honest review of this one. I’d been contemplating reading it for a while as I kept getting messages in my inbox around its release (and I think the e-book was deeply discounted.) I don’t think it’s really my style though and I tend to be disappointed when novels are compared to THG and don’t live up to the expectation.

    • Chelsea McDonald

      Yes, I thought it looked interesting too at first. I read it because I got a free pre-publication edition at work. I read it and I was DEEPLY disappointed, and even at times embarrassed for the author because of how corny the whole thing was. You can definitely skip it without losing any sleep!

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