For months seventeen year-old Juliette remains locked inside a cold brick cell alone. She counts the days. Hours. Cracks on the wall. And then. Without explanation, a young man joins her in her cell, seemingly against his will. She recognizes him as Adam, the boy from her former life, the only one who ever showed her kindness.
As he begins to chip away at her outer shell, she warns him again and again that he cannot touch her. No one can. Though it is the one thing she desperately wants.
Juliette discovers Adam isn’t the boy she once knew. Now a soldier, he takes orders from a cruel, power-hungry commander. One who has discovered Juliette’s curse. A leader who will stop at nothing to bend Juliette to his will and use her curse to destroy all who oppose him.
Stark, powerful writing fills the opening pages of this haunting tale. Juliette clearly stands on the brink of insanity due to her long stay in solitary confinement. Yet when she’s released, she seems to acclimate quickly to life outside her prison, surrounded by people, and the beautiful intense writing fades to a more romance-oriented tone.
It’s hard to say whether that opening pace would have been sustainable for the entire novel, but the change between the first chapter and the last is so stark, it’s almost difficult to believe it’s the same novel. Juliette the love-starved, impassioned teenager obsessed with her new boyfriend doesn’t drive the story like the complex, writhing girl trapped in a world unprepared for her presence.
Following the popular vein of romantic dystopian fiction, Shatter Me is likely to appeal to Divergent fans. Be prepared – this romance packs a pretty hormonal punch when it comes to sexual tension and desire. Mafi keeps the descriptions fairly clean, but the characters’ intentions are also wildly clear. Read below for more details.
Juliette is barred from human touch but longs for it. Sexual tension explodes. Then she discovers a man who can touch her with no ill-effects. In several scenes the couple passionately kiss and she vaguely describes being touched. She expresses a desire to have sex with him, but each time they pursue this opportunity, they are interrupted prior to actually sealing the deal. These scenes, though often (not always), are pretty intense (read: wowza!)
Juliette’s captor wishes her to torture prisoners of war for him. She resists. Juliette and a small child are placed in a small cell in which spikes randomly emerge from the walls and floor. A commanding officer executes a soldier by shooting him in the head. A couple of scenes show soldiers battling one another and receiving gunshot wounds.
A soldier gives a child a sleeping pill to keep him unconscious through a battle scene.