Release Date: February 5, 2013
(Thank you to ATWT for allowing me to participate on this tour!)
Published by: Harper Teen
Unravel Me (Shatter Me #2) by Tahereh Mafi
time for war.
Juliette has escaped to Omega Point. It is a place for people like her—people with gifts—and it is also the headquarters of the rebel resistance.
She's finally free from The Reestablishment, free from their plan to use her as a weapon, and free to love Adam. But Juliette will never be free from her lethal touch.
Or from Warner, who wants Juliette more than she ever thought possible.
In this exhilarating sequel to Shatter Me, Juliette has to make life-changing decisions between what she wants and what she thinks is right. Decisions that might involve choosing between her heart—and Adam's life.
1. (+/-) Juliette, the protagonist - Juliette and I have had a rough past and I still found it hard to like her in this book. She and the other characters were so self absorbed that it was hard to relate to them. She, especially in self pity; in the first 200 pages, she undergoes what I'd call a regression--keeping to herself, that strength she gained towards the end in Shatter Me fading in the face of a new environment, enough so that for a while, Adam is basically her only friend (though she lives with a group of people with paranormal abilities, maybe not as scary as hers but still). I thought her struggle trying to stay good while protecting herself and her friends was really interesting, and I found I could identify with her more in those moments than when she'd complain about how people would judge her, though really she'd made no effort to talk to the other members of Omega Point. After the first half of the book, I grew to like her more. At one point, she's assigned a pretty dangerous mission, and she says something like "Maybe I was just meant to die." There was something about her, her unlikely response, that endeared me to her more this time around.
2. (+) World-building - By no means is this world building complete, but I'm fine with that--that is, I'm fine with not knowing precisely how our world devolves (there's a brief mention of growing cancer rates and the weather becoming terrible) so long as I'm given something concrete. Unravel Me details the way Juliette and other paranormal powers work while exploring the extent of Juliette's and whether or not she can "project" the way others can. It also gives more details on Omega Point's structures underground and on how The Reestablishment is organized, though it's kind of vague about how it came to power. One thing I will say is that the Reestablishment is weird. Really weird. Of all the elements in this world, I'd like more information on this, so I could visualize the Reestablishment better than I do now, this pseudo government that rose to power and stripped people of almost everything without the people fighting back? or before they fought back? or? Why the obsession with repeating numbers (3333 sectors, 555 in each area)? That just seems like an odd reason to split ruling regions, not something a logical corporation like this pseudo govt. would do. Now that we know more about Juliette's powers and the war has started, it seems like the next book will really focus on the two factions, and we'll know more.
3. (+) Romance - You learn the reason why both Adam and Warner can touch Juliette. You learn Warner's first name. Warner gets a whole lot of screen time, and good screen time in this with less outlandish maneuvers, though not less manipulative. I found Adam and Juliette's relationship to be extremely dramatic and honestly, kind of annoying in this novel. Teen angst to its max. I was also kind of frustrated that both Adam and Juliette had kept secrets out of fear for how the other would respond, but Adam was the one who got angry for that; Juliette doesn't pay attention to that part? She gets frustrated no one will tell her what happened but not angry at Adam... I was always more of a Warner fan just because his character seemed more complex than Adam's (Adam is that typical broody, protective, I've always loved you type, which I'm quite sick of), so I enjoyed seeing Warner's relationship with Juliette become deeper--I'd be surprised if the people who said they hated him before still hated him after reading this.
4. (+) Character Development - First 200 pages, Juliette regresses... but after that, after people trust her to get shit down, she does--seems like she just needed a little push?--and she becomes fiercer, more willing to use her power. I was happier with her decisions when she grew more confident of herself and her needs in the growing war. I was especially proud of the ending, and if Juliette sticks with what she said... then she's truly going to kick some ass in the next book, and I'm quite looking forward to that.
5. (--) Villain - You know... I'm not sure there can be as dangerous a villain as Warner was in Shatter Me. The villain that rises to take Warner's place didn't have the same panache and realism. Two reasons for this, I think: one, Juliette can take the villain down if she acts quick enough; two, every time she met with him, it felt like it was a bad-guy-explains-all type of thing.
6. (+) Side Characters - Thank God for Kenji. He completely stole the show. When I was giving Juliette the evil eye for her self pity (and for the DRAMA), he came in and told her what's what. He provides humor for this dark, dark book and is also admirable for his strength and tenacity, and the charisma he exudes. Other characters like Winston and Castle are further developed, and new ones like Juliette's roommates--"the girls"--and Brendan are introduced. Though this book doesn't have a huge character cast, the ones that are introduced I'd like to know more about.
7. (+) Plot - Much better this time too. Last time I took issue at how little progress was made, how it was like they were constantly on the run, like nothing had really happened. I'm not saying there's a whole lot of action in this one--this trilogy is very much also a trilogy on Juliette's growth character-wise, so I don't fault the plot for not being as action filled--but I got the sense that the war was progressing, that there was growing tension, and both sides were about to make a move on the other.
8. (+) Writing - Tahereh Mafi's writing style reminds me of spoken word, and I love it. I can imagine it being performed, with the dramatic imagery and prose and the way the words flow. She makes Juliette's voice so, so strong, like I'm there with her, even if I'm not Juliette's biggest fan. Mafi also writes killer hot and steamy romance scenes, which is great for this trilogy.
9. (+/-) Pacing - I've already kind of mentioned how character development went in stages, and for me that also correlated with the pacing. Not much is happening in the beginning--Juliette is hiding herself away from the judgment--and as such, I struggled a bit to get through that part and onto the action.
10. (+/-) The Cover - It's pretty, artsy like the writing, and symbolic with the bird in the eye and the coldness of Omega Point, but it freaks me out a little.
A sequel that surpasses the first book, and I can't wait to find out what happens next. Especially look forward to reading more of Tahereh Mafi's writing.