Whenever I see someone is reading a book that they are probably going to dislike, I start to question their motivation behind reading it. I mean, whyWhenever I see someone is reading a book that they are probably going to dislike, I start to question their motivation behind reading it. I mean, why put yourself through torture when you could be reading something that rocks your world? But I do it myself, and Shatter Me is a perfect case in point. I love a good dystopian, but when the romance is more prominent than the world-building, it's probably going to end in frustration and also some feelings of guilt - why am I reading something that I won't like? Isn't that really unfair on the book?
In the interests of full disclosure, I read Shatter Me for Book Club *waves to awesome book club girls Jana and Karin* - and although I've owned a copy since shortly after it was first released, I possibly would never have gotten around to reading it otherwise.
First, the characters. Oh, Juliette, you are a contradiction - and normally that would mean I'd dislike you with a burning fiery passion. Alternately brave and shit-scared, she wasn't easy for me to like. But to be fair, she'd just spent a year in complete isolation in an asylum, so I'm a little bit more forgiving on the inconsistencies than I would normally be.
Connecting to the characters is, of course, the romance. Now I'm really sorry to all the Team Warner readers out there, but I don't get the bad boy attraction. He's a dick. A power-hungry, abusive dick. And he will never redeem himself to me.
Adam is sweeter, and much more the boy that I'd pick if I was Juliette - he's caring and kind and has this weird childhood-protective connection to Juliette that I found rather fascinating, even if it is a little too close to insta-love for my comfort. And sadly, that's pretty much all I have to say about the romance/s in Shatter Me - they just didn't rock my world.
It would be impossible to review Shatter Me without talking about the writing style - it's...unusual, and it took me a while to get used to all the metaphors and stuff, but by the end I actually enjoyed the style far more than all the other elements of the book put together. It's wordy, but it's not overwhelming - despite the fact there's a lot to take in, some of which works and some of which is just completely over the top, it's easy to read. Which is actually quite a skill.
The world building is interesting for what exists, but that's just the problem - there's not enough volume for me to have been completely sucked in by it. Humans have fucked up the environment and Juliette has a strange super-power that allows her to kill/hurt/maim people by touching them - sounds really cool, but there's just not enough substance for me.
Am I glad I read Shatter Me? Yes. I enjoyed the writing style immensely once I settled into it, and I could easily have read the whole book in one sitting. However, a bit more world-building and a bit less love-triangle-insta-love-romance would have made it far more memorable and enjoyable for me. I do own the second book, and maybe one day I will actually read it, but I'm undecided right now....more
State of Emergency is a new adult romance post-apocalyptic dystopian. That's a whole bunch of very specific genres, and it's also one of the rare postState of Emergency is a new adult romance post-apocalyptic dystopian. That's a whole bunch of very specific genres, and it's also one of the rare post-apocalyptic books that also fit the dystopian bill (under my very specific definition), as the world goes to shit when a crazy bunch of dictator types take over the world after an EMP.
However, the characters are so inconsistent that I found it a struggle not to roll my eyes pretty much all the way through the story.
Cassidy is an isolated, directionless young woman, trying to find a job after not going to university, when an EMP strands her in the middle of the city. Upon arriving home, she jumps in her EMP-proof car and starts the drive to her father's cabin in the country. Now, Cassidy and her father are preppers which is fine and consistent with the EMP-proof car. However, Cassidy has never shot a gun in her life, and in fact later in the story refuses to, only to later on pick one up and be a great shooter. Inconsistency aside, what kind of hard-core prepper that has a cabin in the woods DOESN'T have experience or at least an understanding of guns?
OK so she's a little confused when it comes to firearms. However, when the romance kicks in after she picks up an ex Navy Seal on the road, she is apparently so dazzling and beguiling that he throws out his years of training and experience and pretty much trots around after Cassidy, even when she has the most ridiculous ideas (yeah! let's go to a refugee camp, because as all preppers know, nothing bad EVER happens in refugee camps!).
Probably my favourite part of the story was Cassidy and Chris trying to survive on the road, in bad weather and encountering some crazy travellers, but even those interactions just seemed off - EVERY SINGLE PERSON goes ape-shit crazy within 24 hours of the EMP. Now I can imagine that there'd be looting, some panic buying and some megalomaniacs trying to take control when the authorities are helpless, but would everyone REALLY go all cut-throat-bandit-survivalist within 24 hours? I really hope not, and it did get a little tiring that pretty much every person they met had robbing and murder on the brain. And that Cassidy continued to walk into ridiculous situations.
Personality wise, she's also quite irritating - mentioning several times how she had no friends before the EMP, which I understood the first time she mentioned it - the more often it was mentioned the more I felt like it was just a way to make me feel sorry for her as a reader. And I didn't.
State of Emergency has an intriguing premise, a lot of potential to be a true post-apocalyptic-dystopian series which is rarer than you would think, and combining romance with such a desolate backdrop could have been a great juxtaposition, but in the end the inconsistency of the main character stopped me from truly enjoying it....more