Narrator: Kate Simses
Series: Shatter Me #1
Published by Harper Audio, HarperCollins on November 15, 2011
Genres: Dystopia, Romance, Young Adult
Length: 9 hours 12 minutes
Juliette hasn’t touched anyone in exactly 264 days.
The last time she did, it was an accident, but The Reestablishment locked her up for murder. No one knows why Juliette’s touch is fatal. As long as she doesn’t hurt anyone else, no one really cares. The world is too busy crumbling to pieces to pay attention to a 17-year-old girl. Diseases are destroying the population, food is hard to find, birds don’t fly anymore, and the clouds are the wrong color.
The Reestablishment said their way was the only way to fix things, so they threw Juliette in a cell. Now so many people are dead that the survivors are whispering war – and The Reestablishment has changed its mind. Maybe Juliette is more than a tortured soul stuffed into a poisonous body. Maybe she’s exactly what they need right now.
Juliette has to make a choice: Be a weapon. Or be a warrior.
My Initial Reaction…
I was blown away by the incredible writing in Shatter Me from the moment I started it. I think that, more than any other element, captivated me and held me to the very end.
The narration by Kate Simses was impeccable. She’s a perfect fit for this style of writing and she really made it work for me. Shatter Me is incredibly poetic and not just the words, but the rhythms and sounds of the words wove together beautifully — something I don’t know if I could have fully appreciated if it weren’t for the narration. This is a book to listen to. You’ll notice this scratching sound and it took me a couple chapters to figure out what it meant exactly – it’s meant to be the scratching of the pen, canceling out words. Once I understood that, I loved it, since it was a beautiful addition to the stream of consciousness sytle writing. Once the book gets more emerged in the dialogue and action, Kate Simses continued to do a great job – now bringing to life characters rather than just the poetic style. She’s on my list of favorite narrators now.
It really takes a while to start getting to know these characters. You don’t even know Juliette’s name for several chapters – but, for me at least, this really worked because it added to the quality of Juliette’s disconnect from the world and all life. Juliette was born with a curse/talent (depending on how you view it). Just by touching another person she tortures and sucks their life out. She has no control over it and it has made her deadly. As a result she spent a good part of her life scorned, hated and feared. When we enter the story, she’s locked up in a mental institution/prison. Juliette is a character that I couldn’t help but love. Life has been cruel to her and she has every ability to be cruel right back. But she doesn’t want to be. She’s caring and sensitive. All she wants is a connection. She craves interaction and if only she could be touched. I can’t even imagine what life would be like without ever feeling another person’s touch. But Juliette has survived it all as an incredible person that I had to root for.
I have to say that although I didn’t necessarily dislike him, I never really connected to Adam. And maybe that’s because I didn’t ever really believe in his connection with Juliette. He seems like a nice guy but there’s something about him that just seems a bit too uncertain and weak for me to even believe in a lot of what he says or does. I think that may just be me, but he wasn’t doing it for me. Warren, on the other hand, I loved. In the OMG He’s absolutely HORRIBLE kind of way. He’s everything I want in my evil characters – scarred, evil, a bit insane, and ruthless. What can I say? Sometimes the bad guys steal the show – and in the Adam vs. Warren scenario, he totally did for me.
I really enjoyed the story for Shatter Me, but I have a couple qualms. First of all, I feel like we spent a little too much time caged up to get a real feel for the world. It’s a dystopian and for me that means that the world is so incredibly important. I’ve had a lot TOLD to me about the world from Juliette’s memories and what she’s been told – but from the time she spent out in it, the whole humans destroying the world and making it environmentally dangerous and deficient didn’t come through. I get that’s how it is, but I didn’t see it. What I really saw was humans oppressing other humans – and maybe that’s the point. Time will tell. It certainly didn’t hurt my enjoyment of the overall story, but it did raise lots of world questions for me.
My other qualm is where the series is headed. The last 15% of the book was action packed and full of exciting discoveries. I enjoyed every minute and yet felt this tinge for the familiar. I don’t want to ruin anything for anyone so I won’t say what specifically felt too familiar, but I will say that I hope I’m wrong and it’s not going down that path. Because it would ruin the spectacularly inventive quality I was enjoying oh so much.
Shatter Me has a haunting, poetic writing style that I just adored and for that reason alone I would pick up book 2. But I also loved the main character and the action that took off was great so I look forward to seeing where things end up.