UNRAVEL ME (Shatter Me #2) - by Tahereh Mafi
Published: 2013 - Harper Collins.
Genres: Young adult / romance / fantasy / futuristic
Triggers/Content Advisory: Mild fantasy violence. The occasional sexual scene.
Source: Thank you so much to Penguin Random House SA for sending me this book in exchange for an honest review.
There seems to be common reason why people love this series so much: WARNER. He's apparently amazing and apparently no one can resist him. I was skeptical going into this novel for that very reason.
Mafi's writing is very specific. Her style is her style and you can tell it's hers immediately. She writes well, with some gorgeous descriptions, rich sensory details, and strong atmosphere. But again, I often found her language too melodramatic and too purple. It's totally subjective - I like it and I appreciate her skill, but sometimes it's just too flowery for my taste. I also don't like how she'll describe one emotion or one experience in about fifty different ways; it's not concise, and it seems pretty pointless. Personally, I don't warm to that style of writing.
But the humour is sublime. I don't remember there being much humour in the first book, but thanks to Kenji's character, we get a lot of laughs and wit in this sequel. The humour's on point. And comic relief is actually needed in what is otherwise a rather dark, depressing tale.
The plot is weak. There's a lot more character interaction and dialogue than there is plot action and external movement, which is fine I guess, but also a bit disappointing. However, Mafi does deliver some truly divine plot twists which help keep things interesting. Those totally took me by surprise. They're brilliant.
I'm still eager for more of the world. It's quite limited in Shatter Me, and I'd hoped the author would expand on it in the sequel. Unfortunately, it could still use some fleshing out. We get to see more of the civilians and the rebel base, etc, but the scope remains rather cramped. I almost want a "satellite view", if that makes sense. I want more big picture stuff.
I love Juliette and I love her arc. She's still fragile, still intensely vulnerable, but I simply adore how selfish she can be and how she can make so many bad choices. It makes her human, which is why I love her flaws. I also like how the other characters aren't afraid to call her out for being selfish or for doing something stupid; she's never put on a pedestal, which is refreshing.
I officially love Adam's character. He was rather flat in Shatter Me, but in Unravel Me he's really rounded out and become more three-dimensional. He's tortured and moody, but he's also honourable and passionate and beautiful. Adam's a great character.
Then here's Warner. And I'm sorry to say I do not understand all the fuss about him. Yes, he is a well written, compelling character and yes he's an awesome psychotic villain, but please please please for goodness sake, he's better as a villain, not a love interest! I hate how it's blatantly obvious that the author ships him and Juliette and wants them to be together. I hate how Warner's getting so much page time and commandeering Adam's place as Juliette's love interest. It's just frustrating, because I think he's better written as a villain than as Juliette's bad boy lover. Sigh :(
I luuuuuv the romance between Adam and Juliette. I wasn't convinced by their relationship in the previous novel because it was so extremely underdeveloped, but now that we're in Book 2 it's easier to be swept along with them. And swept along I was. They have so much chemistry, their sexual tension is unbelievable, and the angst is palpable. I only wish, wish, wish, wish Mafi was rooting for them - unfortunately, it looks like Warner and Juliette are gonna be endgame. Which sucks.
Unravel Me suffers from second book syndrome, meaning there isn't much of a plot. But it's still an enjoyable, emotional story, and I thoroughly liked it. If only Warner and Juliette weren't taking over the ship...