Series: Shatter Me #2
Genre: YA Dystopian
Publication Date: February 5, 2013
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.
Uh, WOW! I am absolutely blown away by Mafi's newest installment, Unravel Me. I enjoyed Shatter Me, but its sequel is something else entirely. It is simply more. Powers are more powerful, angst is more angsty, and sexytimez are more sexy. I was completely engaged the whole time, sucked into the twisted world, ensnared in Juliette's desires and discoveries. Unravel Me is definitely a worthy addition to the YA world!
Like most book sequels, Unravel Me was less about establishing characters, and more about expanding them. But this book was somehow different than most other book sequels. Mafi introduces all these characters in book 1 and pretty much hands us certain opinions on them: Juliette is misunderstood, Adam is absolutely wonderful, Warner is evil, and Kenji is just some weird, foolish companion. In book 2, however, Mafi reveals that her characters cannot be summed up so easily. Her characters are so incredibly flawed, and troubled, and so frackin real. With this book, we discover that Juliette is actually deeply conflicted, torn between her true self and what people think of her. There were points where she would recede into herself, become whiny, lose the urge to try, and feel sorry for herself. And yet, it didn't feel like Juliette was weak, or annoying, or always depending on people to save her. Sometimes, she needed someone to hold her hand to get through things, but then she'd rise above and make the decisions of her heart, staying true to herself. Really, at the root of things, Juliette is extremely powerful, strong, and pretty kick-butt! If I was unsure about her before, I am now confident that Juliette is not a character that will be easily forgotten, or fade into the blur of other YA heroines.
We also discover that Adam is extremely moody. I mean, I still love him. I do. My heart broke for him several times. But he became kind of needy in this book. Like, I get that you really care for Juliette, dude. However, if the girl says she needs space just give her some. I don't know, I just wasn't rooting for him as hard as I used to. When he was with Juliette, I couldn't help but melt a little. Just...some of the things he says...*chills.* There are definitely still signs of that sexy, B.A. guy we all used to love. When he and Juliette are apart, though, I like her a lot more, for one. She makes decisions for herself, not worried about what Adam will think or do. Secondly, when they're apart, I realize that an emotional connection to him is severely lacking. We find out some interesting things about him, so I hope in the next book we'll get to see him deal with those things and overcome them, rather than trying to carry all of it on his shoulder. Now Warner is a whole 'nother story. Warner is just...Warner is...I don't even know how to describe ALL THE THINGS I FEEL about him. Before cracking open Unravel Me I kept reading about all the Team Warner advocates and I never EVER suspected I'd hop on the Warner wagon. I didn't think there was anything Mafi could do for me to see him as a legit romantic option. How wrong was I? I don't know necessarily that I would pick him over Adam...yet. It's possible for Adam to redeem himself and secure his position as number one in my heart. But Warner is this intricate man, this person so full of conflict. Another unforgettable character, that's for sure. Warner adds a definite twist to the typical love triangle...and the typical love interest. I mentioned earlier in the review that the sexytimez are more sexy. And, uhm, let me just emphasize that. Because YUM. I can't spoil anything but YUM!
While writing this review, I almost forgot to mention Kenji. Which is ridiculous because he has easily glided up to a high position on my list of Favorite Secondary Characters Ever. He provides the very necessary comic relief. Every word he says makes me want to hug him. There is very obviously more to him than meets the eyes, and while I would like to know his story, what he's seen and experienced, the little mystery makes him much more fun.
To me, the plot in these books comes second, maybe even third, to the characterization. It's kind of the typical YA dystopian story: a group of "different" people (the brave, the rebel, those with powers) rise up against the oppressive leaders. Blah blah blah. What I want to see more of is the world that Mafi has created. I want this broken, desolate world to have as much depth as her characters. I want to be surprised by the secrets and the treasures and the hideous layers that it holds. I got a glimpse of that in this book, but I want more! This world almost feels real, believable, scary. It's balancing on a precipice and I want it to be tipped. Of course, Tahereh Mafi's writing is beautiful. Sometimes her metaphors and similes and analogies flew over my head, but it's okay because at least they were pretty. The writing style she uses creates a very smooth pace, allowing you to fly through the book.There's not really a "dull" moment. The non-action-packed scenes contain just as much intensity, tension, and rapid flow of the scenes that are bursting with action.
Basically, Tahereh Mafi manages to exceed the usual YA book, bringing fresh, exciting elements to the table. I closed this book, took a deep breath, and actually said aloud, "Wow. That was good." Now I'm definitely going to (not really) die waiting for the third installment. Trust me when I say this is a series you don't want to miss. Can Mafi's next book beat Unravel Me? I'm not sure. It was pretty killer. But there is very clearly a distinct possibility. I guess I'll see!