It was Freud who first told us that human beings are driven towards things that bring us pleasure. Later on in his teachings, he corrected this and saIt was Freud who first told us that human beings are driven towards things that bring us pleasure. Later on in his teachings, he corrected this and said that sometimes people do things that don’t bring them pleasure, rather the opposite. Why go watch a horror movie or take a ride on a rollercoaster if not that we find something in things non-pleasurable. As such, I find myself reading series in their whole, even if I didn’t like the first book. One such series, is the Touching Juliette trilogy. Though I disliked Shatter Me a whole lot, I still read the sequel.
Unravel Me picks up where Shatter Me came to its conclusion and sees Juliette ready to begin her training in Omega Point. While Juliette and her new comrades are training for their war against the Reestablishment, Warner is out to hunt her and get her back in his life. All the while, Juliette and Adam are trying their best to make things work between them, without her killing him with an all too eager kiss… Being the second book in a trilogy, this book was pretty lame, even by middle-book standards. This is quite a big book with an awful nothing happening. For about three quarters, Omega Point – and more specifically Juliette – is training for the oncoming war. However, on page, there is almost no training happening. Instead, the book displays everything between training sessions, ranging from Juliette sulking and complaining to Juliette lusting after Adam. Even the action sequences are watered down by Juliette drooling over Warner, and this isn’t helped by the latter’s arrival at Omega Point. It’s pretty clear where the focus lies in this series. The longest chapter in this book is right before the conclusion and consists of twenty pages steamy almost-sex between Juliette and Warner. It became frustrating to the point that I wanted Juliette to get it over with and hook up with either of them, just for her to get rid of all that bottled up lust. It wasn’t really helping that the romantic subplot – although subplot is stretching the truth a bit since this is what the trilogy is all about, set in a dystopian society on the brink of a war – constantly dragged her to and from either of the guys. Tiresome, really, especially when every single reveal concerning Adam and Warner takes this plot a step closer to the big cliché it already is. The introduction of Warner’s father as a new antagonist also merely serves the romantic plot. Cause whereas Warner used to come across as a psychopath in Shatter Me, Mafi did everything in her power to make him likeable and as much a victim as Juliette in this sequel. Introduce brutal tough-love father? Check! Include hard upbringing? Check! Tender moment with puppy? Oh yes! In terms of character, not much changes from the first book in the trilogy. Juliette is even more whiny and can’t seem to find a balance between overthinking her every thought and impulsively reacting to whatever is happening around her. Adam and Warner are still mostly there for the sake of maintaining the love triangle. Captured the baddie who’s after your most prized soldier? Sure, let them alone for hours upon hours cause she is the only one who can get through to him. No matter that there are tons of others with special abilities who can coax the needed information out of him. Don’t they have a mindreader or something like that? Guess not, cause that would mean that there’s no need for Juliette and Warner to be alone. Conveniently, every other character seems to have the needed abilities. When the final chapters of Shatter Me introduced Omega Point and its X-Men inhabitants, things seemed to clear up cause the original X-Men do have cool abilities. None of that there, cause all the abilities displayed fit perfectly in the plot. Need to raid some storage facilities? Let’s use our human transporter! Need to be sneaky? Our invisible guy can project his invisibility! I can’t help but feel that this reads like a recipe, where you know what you want in the end and use the exact ingredients you need to get there. Everything else is dismissed. Development of the side characters is one of those things that don’t fit in the mix that makes up Unravel Me. Whether Omega Point-member or Reestablishment, cardboard is what you get. Seeing this, it puzzles me why Kenji comes up as a favourite character, let alone one of the most funny characters in YA-literature. If being rude for the sake of being rude gets you there, well… Kudos to Kenji but I found him to be funny nor great. Also, while I have no problem with swearwords, using profanities just for the sake of it, is not the way to make a character cool or fun. The other new character are simply forgettable. There were twin-nurses, a pseudo-shrink and a coffee-addict. But the latter two might have been one and the same. The writing, however, did improve. There are still way too many metaphors and hyperboles than one should be legally permitted to use, but the purple is toned down and that’s a good thing. The same goes for the strike-outs. Still too many and too gimmicky, but we’re getting there. One thing that didn’t improve and irked enormously, is the use of numerals instead of writing the numbers fully. Sentences like “I’ve been here for 2 weeks now” just don’t sit well with me. Not only that, in my opinion, the writing just does not fit the novel at all. Is it just me, or are there others who think that, in a world on the brink of total destruction, where birds don’t fly and food is scarce, where war is raging and people are merely slaves to the system, all those metaphors just don’t fit at all? I don’t mean to imply that the writing needs to be completely barren, but it doesn’t come across as believable to me that Juliette’s every other thought consists of poetic language. Even more so, at one point she refers to something as not being a wellness centre. How on earth does she know what that is? While the overly poetic writing not fitting the story is just a minor issue, the characters using words and similes that don’t have a place in their world – at all – is just wrong. At that point, it’s not Juliette speaking anymore but rather the author.
While Shatter Me was not up my alley, I still read Unravel Me. Not a lot has changed to make me change my mind about the Touching Juliette-trilogy and even though these books are far from good in my opinion, I still find some pleasure in reading them. It’s strange, cause the plot and characters annoy me to bits, but I still want to continue to know how it will all wrap up....more
I’m always looking for new books and series to read, for I love discovering hidden gems. If that book manages to stand out in one way or another, it’sI’m always looking for new books and series to read, for I love discovering hidden gems. If that book manages to stand out in one way or another, it’s even better. When I heard about the Touching Juliette-trilogy, I didn’t feel the need to read it right away – cause to be honest, the series title, Touching Juliette, doesn’t bide well for the content between its covers. However, I heard that the writing should be superb and poetic, so when I came across it in the library, I decided to give it a go. Looking back on my reading experience with Shatter Me, I can only say that if this book was written in 1984, Prince would have sung about Purple Prose rather than Purple Rain.
Juliette Ferrars is a 17-year old girl with a lethal touch. Literally. When she touches someone, they start squirming and if the touch lasts long enough, they die. For this, Juliette was locked up and isolated from the outside world. Not that that world was much to speak of, cause it has been shred to pieces in the war and now everything is so messed up that even birds don’t fly anymore. After being locked up for more than a year, things start to change for Juliette when the government wants to use her as a human weapon in their war against the rebels. Things get even more confusing when she meets Adam, a boy who’s immune to her touch… Plotwise, the premise of Shatter Me isn’t half bad. The trick is to act upon it rather than let it go to waste. Alas, it’s the latter that happened. The plot isn’t moving in a direction that’s particularly interesting and the focus is more on dressing Juliette up in all kinds of fancy dresses and moving towards a love triangle. Funny how YA-literature handles the romance. First off, it seems as if a book isn’t complete without any sort of romance and once the romance is there, it almost always has to be a triangle. Is it just me, or does the fact that there are two guys lusting after the same girl and said girl lusting after both of those guys, a complete fiction. Funny enough, the love interests tend to be the complete opposites of each other, so as not to alienate a whole bunch of readers to make the protagonist’s choice even more heartbreaking. While I think the triangle-stuff is a bit overdone, it’s not a complete turn-off if done well. Alas, Juliette has a big case of the insta-love. Never mind that she knew Adam before, from what she told it barely counts as a foundation for any kind of love besides infatuation. Her relationship with Warner is not only a case of the insta-love, but also adds a big spoon of Stockholm-syndrome into the mix. This is one big saccharine-overload. The titbits of action nor the ‘big reveal’ a.k.a. ‘this book is an X-Men knock-off’ manages to salvage what’s left of it. The lack of redemption lies for a part with the characters who are completely unbelievable. Juliette, for starters, has to be one of the most annoying protagonists I’ve ever come across. She’s constantly whining and downplaying herself and has so much self-pity she can build a new world upon it. Not only that, she’s also incapable of accepting a compliment and thus becomes frustratingly annoying whenever she speaks or thinks even a single thought. Was she supposed to be a strong heroine? Perhaps I read another book, cause Juliette to me is far from whom everybody seems to be talking about… One of the things I heard people applaud her for, is for her strong will by not accepting the food. Fine, swell. Then explain to me how a girl, deprived from any form of healthy natural light, oxygen and food, for more than a year, appears to be beautiful with luscious and wavy hear and is so strong. Oh well… Funny how, once released, Juliette becomes a horny teen lusting after either Adam or Warner. Both aren’t that much of a character either. One is a sick psychopath lusting after Juliette and the other also occupied with Juliette and touching every inch of her body. So much for character development. Which brings me to the writing. Presented as original and poetic, I find it gimmicky and convoluted. At first, the strike-outs are a nice touch, but the novelty of it quickly fades and turns into a gimmick. Whereas this technique could have been interesting in deepening Juliette as a character, it’s mainly used to convey Juliette’s lustful feelings towards Adam. The writing as a whole also doesn’t fit the story. The world is supposed to be a bleak and barren place and Juliette’s situation is never more than iffy, yet the writing never brings that across. On the contrary, the pages are filled with metaphor upon metaphor, one even more silly than the other. The metaphorical overkill is a bit overwhelming, but once you learn to look through it, it’s nothing more but a device used to mask the lack of plot or character growth. If purple prose didn’t already exist, it would have found it’s origins with Shatter Me.
The one thing almost all of the positive reviews are adamant about, it’s the writing, which is supposed to be this stellar piece of brilliance and poetic achievement. However, not even the best paint can completely hide huge cracks in the wall, and when those cracks are at the foundation – the plot and the characters – not even all the metaphors in the world can fix that one up. In the end, I can understand why some might enjoy this book a lot, but unfortunately, I’m not one of them. I want more than some convoluted pretty writing and gimmicky witty strike-outs centred around an love triangle, but that book is not Shatter Me. ...more
Before starting this review, I’ll have to admit that I’m not big on aliens and Sci-Fi in general. But because of the praise Rick Yancey has been2.5/5
Before starting this review, I’ll have to admit that I’m not big on aliens and Sci-Fi in general. But because of the praise Rick Yancey has been receiving for this and previous novels, I decided to give it a try, also because the premise – an invasion consisting of different waves – spiked my interest even more. I did know, though, that it had to be a very good to excellent book to change my mind about aliens and stuff. So, did it succeed?
As we dive into this book, we meet Cassie, a young girl who’s seemingly the only real human being left on the whole planet. For some time, aliens have been taking over Earth in different waves. First, there was the black-out, then came a tsunami, followed by the plague and lastly snipers. In the midst of all this, Cassie lost her parents and got separated from her brother. Her promise to retrieve him keeps her going, siding with the mysterious Evan Walker to find her brother and fight to survive. The main story, as I already mentioned, was quite intriguing and engaging. I actually thought that this might be the first alien-esque book that I might actually come to like. That was, however, before the plot took a wrong turn. As it happened, (view spoiler)[ all the adults got killed, and the children are being ‘rescued’ by humans who’ve been taken over by some alien thing. Those children are brainwashed into soldiers who are sent out to kill other humans and this is the alleged ‘Fifth wave’ (hide spoiler)]. See, I quite liked the idea of the different waves in which the aliens – or should I say ‘Others’? – are taking over the planet, but their grand scheme is pretty flawed. They claim to have been studying the human race for a long time now, so they could have come up with the perfect way to rid the planet of everything human. The first four waves are acceptable attempts at trying to reach their goal, but this fifth one doesn’t really make sense, does it? Why leave your success in the hands of (view spoiler)[children, for crying out loud? Sure, it does shock more than if it were adults, but so many things could go wrong. And they do go wrong (hide spoiler)]. Another thing that bothered me, was the whole red and green thing. Later on in the book, it becomes quite clear what triggers the difference, but at first, in the bus, it just doesn’t make any sense to me. Moving on from the failure that is the fifth wave, the romance as well is all but brilliant. In fact, I don’t really understand the need to force some romance in novels like this, especially a cheesy romance like this one. It kind of turned it all into a knock-off of the already not so brilliant The Host by Stephenie Meyer. Which brings me seamlessly to the characters. Most of them came across as quite believable considering the circumstances though they are not particularly likeable. Cassie came across as harsh and unlikeable. Her harshness was believable seeing all she went through, but it made me not care about her at all. Evan Walker, on the other hand, was everything but believable. When you discover the truth about him, it was on the one hand very predictable, but on the other hand it didn’t add anything at all to the story except to generate some more angst by Cassie. The writing itself was pretty much ok. Rick Yancey has a nice, fluent way of writing which allowed me to read it pretty quickly. I also liked the shortness of the chapters, so it never really dragged even though the first part was quite slow. I did wish, however, that there was a better distinction in the different voices. There are four characters who are POV, but except from the little kid, all the teens sound quite similar which made it not that easy to figure out who’s POV you were reading from. Alse, seeing as Evan has quite a peculiar disposition, I had hoped that you would be able to tell – if even for a little – in the writing when he was POV. Alas, it wasn’t the case, which made Cassie, Evan and Ben’s POV’s all one blur. So in conclusion, while the initial premise held the promise of potential, I think that potential was wasted on trying to be too many things that are already out there, instead of trying to be something new, unique and exciting. This caused me not to buy into the plot and detracted from the general joy that could have come from reading this book. It’s not that I had a terrible time reading this – I did finish it, so there was something there – but this could have been a lot more. ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
The vast amount of dystopian fiction that has been produced in recent years is almost unbelievable. Not all that glimmers is gold though, and whi2,5/5
The vast amount of dystopian fiction that has been produced in recent years is almost unbelievable. Not all that glimmers is gold though, and while a lot of these books sound really exciting, few are really worth the time, I think. Which means that I’m picky when it comes to buying these books cause I’m not an unconditional fan of the genre. I do like to stroll the shelves in the library and pick them up for a read. Just for – free – fun. Thus I happened to stumble across Legend and it got me intrigued, cause I’ve heard a lot of good things about this book upon its release some years past. It’s about time to see what it’s all about.
Storms and floods have made Los Angeles a harsh place to live in the future, and the war the Republic is fighting against the Patriots from the Colonies has transformed the once beautiful city into a military society. Here, children turned ten, have to take a Test and depending on their results, they are awarded a place at university of deported to the working camps. June, a prodigy, is climbing the societal ladder. Day, a rebel and most-wanted criminal, is trying to survive day by day. Under normal circumstances, their paths wouldn’t have crossed, but when June’s brother is killed, Day is suspect number one and June is out for blood. As is the case with most dystopian novels, the plot is actually nice, although not terribly original nor exciting. The idea behind the military society and the plague-subplot makes for a good read. The worldbuilding, however, isn’t what it should be. There is constant mention of the Republic and the Colonies, but it’s never explained who is who and why. It’s not that I want to know it all right away, but some initial worldbuilding to place the events in a bigger picture would have been nice. Now, it’s just confusing bordering on messy. As it is, there are two main mysteries in Legend. First and foremost, the search for Metias’s – June’s brother – killer, and second, the truth about the plague. Sadly enough, both mysteries are solvable halfway through the book, which leaves you with two protagonists stumbling about trying to figure out what you know all along. The hints that are being dropped are so big, it’s a real effort from their side not to have seen them. The conclusion as well, was fairly predictable, but nonetheless, it was enjoyable to read. Legend is told through the perspectives of June as well as Day, and their POV’s alternate chapters. Every chapter mentions which POV you are reading from, which is a good thing seeing as there is almost no difference between June’s voice and Day’s. If it weren’t for the chapter titles, you’d have a hard time figuring out who was POV. June as well as Day are prodigies, and while there is nothing wrong with that, you’ll have to give them an edge to make your characters interesting. Unfortunately, June nor Day holds that edge and they come across as flat and utterly unbelievable. Sure, June might be a prodigy, but she’s only fifteen and being so high up the ranking just doesn’t match with the way society is structured. In the midst of all the military control and trying to contain everyone and everything – and going to horrible lengths in order to achieve it – they hand a lot of responsibility to a girl of only fifteen? Beats me. Day’s bag of tricks comes across as unbelievable as well. Climbing up the walls of buildings – with a butchered knee – in mere seconds? Sure he’s not Clark Kent or Spiderman? Despite my annoyance with the characters and the predictability of the plot, this books wasn’t all bad. In fact, I quite enjoyed reading it. It’s fast paced and exciting, and Marie Lu’s writing style is simple and clean, which keeps you reading.
Legend has gotten some hype a while back, and while I’m not convinced that the hype was justified, I had quite a good time reading this book. While it is predictable and the characters don’t interest me at all, the stuff that was going on was exciting enough to keep me reading. If I stumble across the sequels in the library, I’ll pick them up, cause if you want a light read between some other stuff, you can’t go wrong with Legend. ...more