Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Review: Unravel Me by Tahereh Mafi

Unravel Me

Author: Tahereh Mafi
Release: February 5th 2013
Genre: Dystopia, Paranormal, YA
#2 in the Shatter Me trilogy
Series: Shatter Me (#1), Ignite Me (#3)


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.


I want to say Warner was the only good thing about this book. But it wouldn't be completely true, although Warner was one of the main points why this has a high review.

I hated Shatter Me. Well, okay, not hated, but I really did not like it. So, color me surprised to say that I did enjoy Unravel Me. I bought this book right away back when it was released, against my better judgment and it has rotten away on my shelf ever since because I dreaded picking it up. But, I got up and did it, after skimming Shatter Me to refresh my memory a bit, and now it has something between 3 and 3.5 stars.

I still didn't grow to love Juliette. Especially in the beginning, she was unbearable. If she couldn't be with Adam and having heavy make-out sessions with him, she was moping around, being antisocial and feeling sorry for only herself. She was selfish. She was weak. She was annoying. She got better later on, although not much. The end looks a little promising for her, but if she starts getting better only in the third and last book, it's already too late. Of course, she has grown vastly from the shy, timid girl confined in an asylum, but she's still way too self-conscious and childish for my taste. I mean, I'm sorry, but was I expected to agree with everything Kenji said about her?

“Now I am trying to give you a chance to fix things. I keep giving you opportunities to do things differently. To see past the sad little girl you used to be — the sad little girl you keep clinging to — and stand up for yourself. Stop crying. Stop sitting in the dark counting out all your individual feelings about how sad and lonely you are. Wake up. You're not the only person in this world who doesn't want to get out of bed in the morning. [...] You're not in that shitty asylum, and you're no longer stuck being Warner's shitty little experiment. So make a choice and stop wasting everyone's time. Stop wasting your own time.” 

Hell yes. Because I whole-heartedly agreed to this. 

Which leads to the fact that Kenji was an amazing character. He was the only source of comedy in this novel and it would have been way too bleak without him, it was bleak enough as it was, so I was very glad Kenji was there to lighten the mood. And to break apart either Adam and Juliette's hormone releases or their pity parties. Thank you, Kenji, you saved them from my strangles. Adam was okay in Shatter Me, but he was too melodramatic in this book. The world doesn't end if your girlfriend breaks up with you, but he sure acted like that. Other responsibilities, like training his abilities or looking after his younger brother seemed more or less forgotten. Well, maybe not his training, because that was the only way to repair what's broken, after all. Still, he annoyed me so much. And if I choose the other guy, the blond one at that, over the epitome of my dream guy (brown hair, blue eyes), it's saying something.

Let's get to said blond boy. Oh God, Warner was so perfectly written. I was already intrigued by him and his nature in the last book, and it was extremely interesting to see so many more sides to him. He's just such a complex character that I absolutely love to explore and read about. His character takes a drastic turn and he's left with a lot of new choices and decisions. He is experiencing something he has never thought he'd ever do, feeling things he doesn't even really understand himself and he's such a tortured soul you can't help but fall for him a little. Tahereh Mafi created a masterpiece with this guy, who's so ruthless and mysterious and at the sime time gentle and caring, and someone who would burn the world down and build it up again for the girl he loves. He's an unexpectedly passionate person, and it was so incredible to see him unravel like that. (Great quote: I want to believe in the boy with a tortured childhood and an abusive father. I want to understand him. I want to unravel him.”)

So, about the plot. Like its predecessor, this book wasn't very exciting plot-wise, sorry. Not for me, anyways. The whole book, and I really mean the entire length of the book is spent in that underground cellar. They go above ground like three times. The rest is taking place under the earth. What? Excuse me, but it's not that fascinating reading about teenage relationship drama happening below ground... The few times they did face the sky, though, were very nicely done. That plot twist with Adam and Warner was ... well, I did kind of see it coming. I don't know why, but I just did. I'm very interested in seeing how that will play out, though. My theory about the issue of why both those guys are the only ones able to touch Juliette, being that only those who truly and honestly care about her can touch her, didn't prove to be true. But I'm content with the solution Mafi came up with, it was believable and well explained. I loved the reveal of Warner's first name, too, by the way.

Now, what I really loved, besides the character development, was the romance between Juliette and Warner. It was just.. argh it was so nicely done. It's been a long time since a book relationship actually managed to give me butterflies and make me feel the chemistry between the characters, but this relationship did. For Juliette, it evolved from hate and disgust to wonder and intrigue about that boy in front of her, questioning what she knows about him, and then it shifted to admiration and ultimately love. (Yes, I think Juliette loves Warner) For Warner, there's intrigue about Juliette as well, and a kind of obsession about this girl he thinks he can understand, and then for him it goes straight to admiration and wonder about her, until finally, he starts to deeply care and lose himself to her, and suddenly, he loves her. I have read Destroy Me. And I have absolutely loved it. The romance between Juliette and Warner is so nicely and intricately done it leaves me not caring for Adam (and his relationship with Juliette) at all, but wondering about Juliette/Warner and wanting to read more of them, and wanting them so, so much to end up together and be happy, because they fit perfectly together and could make each other so happy! Make this happen, Mafi. Please, please, please, don't be so oldschool and make her end up with Adam just because he was the first and the "safe" choice. That'd be boring. :(

My last point is writing, which was painful at worst, and tolerable at best. I'm sorry, but I don't really enjoy the author's writing style that much. I'll say it is unique, and you have to adjust to it. It reminded me a bit of the writing style of Blood Red Road, which I despised and hated. This wasn't half as bad, but it wasn't very nice to read, either, at least not for me. Some things were just absolutely ridculous, like this:

“Sometimes I wonder about glue.
No one ever stops to ask glue how it's holding up. If it's tired of sticking things together or worried about falling apart or wondering how it will pay its bills next week.”

What? I'm sorry, but ... what was that? Didn't we have that with teardrops in a similar fashion already in the last book? Why?! Is this supposed to reflect on Juliette's scattered mind, hinting at the fact that maybe, just maybe, she has gone off the deep end just a little bit? Or is it actually meant to be deep and philosophical? I don't know, man, I don't know.

All in all, I am looking forward to the sequel. Very much looking forward, because the novel ends on a mean cliffhanger and I really really want to know what happens next. 

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