Words & Sinew

Semi-occasional reader & blogger who just really loves Rob Kazinsky. My playstation is basically my child.

Shatter Me

Shatter Me - Tahereh Mafi & at: http://wordsandsinew.blogspot.com/2012/08/shatter-me-by-tahereh-mafi.htmlFirst thing: stunning writing. It just blew me away. Mafi's words just flow and there's this particular rhythm you can't find anywhere else. I could search all day for the right kind of words to describe her creative writing style, but it's better if you just experience it for yourself. Here's a portion I marked that particularly struck me:"The air is crisp and cool. A refreshing bath of tangible nothing that stings my eyes and snaps at my skin. The sun is high today, blinding as it reflects the small patches of snow keeping the earth frozen. My eyes are pressed down by the weight of the bright light and I can't see through more than two slits, but the warm rays wash over my body like a jacket fitted to my form, like the hug of something greater than human."And there's a hundred more lines like that which paint a picture so vivid, it makes you awestruck. Sometimes though I found myself lost in all the borderline flowery language. There's just too much going on. Too many verbs. Too many metaphors. Too many odd allusions that leave you scratching your head, wondering what it's suppose to mean.The one thing about this book that a lot of people were talking about was the use of strike-through. Normally, the only type of font format allowed in novels are italics. You never see words bolded or underlined, never mind strike-through. But damn, Mafi makes it work. The strike-through doesn't distract. It adds depth to the plot and Juliette herself. They are the secret truths of Shatter Me's universe and the secret thoughts of Juliette's head. Juliette is scared and angry and sad and there's so much she wants to say that she has to bury deep, deep, deep inside of her and all those striked-out words represent her anger, her sadness, her guilt, and everything else in-between. They also show her perceptiveness because she has learned to see through other people when others would not do so for her. Tahereh Mafi has introduced a very innovative writing technique and I'm excited to see more of it.Another technique I thought really brought me into Juliette's head was the sparse use of commas and periods. While technically they're run-on sentences, I say that they further emphasize the paranoia and frenzy Juliette has come to known due to her isolation. It brings you further inside her head, making your realize just how much the Reestablishment has warped her mind.Speaking of Juliette, her romance with Adam was intense. Their relationship falters, stops, and back-tracks but once it becomes established, man it's intense. For some, it could probably borderline insta-romance, but the history Juliette & Adam have pre-Reestablishment may salvage that thought. While I'm not in-love with the pair, it would slightly pain my heart if anything happened to them. And for whatever reason, I kept picturing Adam Levine as Adam. Look, they have the same name and everything.Juliette's relationship with Warner is far more interesting, however. The struggle for power between the two is fiery. Warner just keeps trying to push her over the edge so she can fully embrace this power she so desperately does not want. It's captivating to read Juliette struggle so much with this power and then to have this powerful person goad her into it through threats and fear. Juliette's relationship with both Warner and Adam are representations of the choices she has when it comes to her power. The gentle choice, Adam, tells her she is not a monster and that she has the power, with her touch, to help people. She is a loving, caring person. But then the other choice, Warner, tells her that her power is a weapon she can use to bring people to their knees before her. She can command people, get all the things she desires because it is clearly better to be feared than loved. Both of these boys tell her two different things, two different ways she can control her fate, and go so much more beyond than just a simple relationship: it's the two different lives Juliette could have depending on how she chooses to embrace her power.I'm afraid to say after I finished the book, I was left with far too many questions. I know it's a trilogy but there were just so many things buzzing in my head that just did not make sense. Like where in the hell did the Reestablishment come from? How did it start? Whose in charge anyway? There's just a lot of blanks in this universe that weren't filled in. Another is Juliette's power. It was never specifically explained and while we were shown it, there's still far too many blanks to paint a clear picture of what it is. If anything, her power reminds of of my favorite X-Men's, Rogue. There are just far too many important portions of the book that weren't properly explained or explained at all which unfortunately bothered me more than I wanted it to. There's a section in the book that perfectly described certain factors in the book: "She can't touch anyone except for you." "Right." "That seems awfully convenient." But I suppose a lot of things in YA are awfully convenient, aren't they?Shatter Me is a complicated, intricate, and thrilling read. While you may become susceptible to several holes in the plot, its painfully complex characters with humanities so apparent and Mafi's striking and innovative writing will swallow you whole.Also at: http://wordsandsinew.blogspot.com/2012/08/shatter-me-by-tahereh-mafi.html