Book Review 6

Book Review: Shattered Me by Tahereh Mafi

Traci Kenworth

 

Harper, an Imprint of Harper-Collins 2011     Science Fiction       338 pages
Hook: I’ve been locked up for 264 days.

 

Juliette has been a prisoner of the Reestablishment, the initiative that was supposed to help the Earth’s dying society. The same people that pulled her out of her home and put her in an asylum. Now, she’s getting a cellmate. She has no idea where she is, only that it took her 6 hours and 37 minutes to get there.

There are soldiers stationed below. The Earth has changed. There aren’t as many trees as there were before scientists say. The animals are gone. Weather and seasons have changed. People are starving to death and the Restablishment promises to fix everything. They came in and took over. They’re burning books, destroying evidence of life before this.

Her new cellmate is a boy. He reminds her of someone she used to know. She doesn’t allow anyone to touch her. Bad things happen. Dead things. When they are released into the showers, she decides to help him, protect him, to not be afraid of him. His name is Adam. It’s a name she’s always liked but she can’t remember why.

Her parents stopped touching her when she was old enough to crawl. Teachers made her work alone so she wouldn’t hurt the other children. She’s never had a friend, a mother’s hug, a father’s kiss. She realizes she knows Adam—but he doesn’t remember her. They went to school together. Adam is the only person who didn’t want to hurt her. Five soldiers burst into the cell and take her away, she thinks to kill her. She awakes to find Adam is one of the soldiers. She’s introduced to the leader of the Reestablishment in these parts, Warner. He offers her a proposition. He wants her to torture people for him. He makes her Adam’s charge.

The Reestablishment meant control. Only the healthy were kept, the sick, locked away. Adam shows her a room of the finest things. This is what Warner’s offering her. She’ll be free—but Adam’s prisoner. Adam is moving in. When she doesn’t eat or dress the way Warner wants, Adam is hurt because of her disobedience. She vows to be the perfect mannequin. She finds her notebook from the cell with a purple dress Adam suggests she wear. He has written in it: It’s not what you think.

She finds hope in his small communication.

Later, she finds him in the bathroom and sees his bruises. He didn’t betray her. She realizes he’s a friend. Adam can touch her without dying. He understands why Warner wants her now. Adam wants her. He says he’s going to get her out of there. He has a tattoo. It’s a white bird with streaks of gold like a crown atop its head. It’s flying. This is the bird she’s dreamed about since she was locked up.

A desperate run for freedom will begin…

This book was riveting. It was all that it promised and more. And I suspect that given how things ended there will be further books in this world. Juliette Ferrars makes one feel sympathy for her, despite the horrifying things she can do. Adam becomes a hero to root for. While Warner is creepily evil. He truly is one of the better villains I’ve run across lately. Running hot and cold, sane and insane, with a twinge of vulnerability—Tahereh Mafi did an excellent job of portraying his character.

I heard good word of mouth about this book beforehand and I’m glad I acted upon it. I’ve skipped recent reviews of it on other sites so as to not interfere with my own perception of it, but I’ve got to say, RUN to your nearest book store and pick up a copy of this. You won’t be disappointed. I have definitely found an author to watch for in the future and this book is going on my Keeper shelf.

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