Series: Shatter Me #3
Published by HarperCollins on February 4th 2014
Genres: Dystopian, Supernatural, Young Adult
Buy the Book •
<p>The heart-stopping conclusion to the New York Times bestselling Shatter Me series, which Ransom Riggs, bestselling author of Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children, called "a thrilling, high-stakes saga of self-discovery and forbidden love"</p>
<p>Juliette now knows she may be the only one who can stop the Reestablishment. But to take them down, she'll need the help of the one person she never thought she could trust: Warner. And as they work together, Juliette will discover that everything she thought she knew-about Warner, her abilities, and even Adam-was wrong.</p>
<p>In Shatter Me, Tahereh Mafi created a captivating and original story that combined the best of dystopian and paranormal and was praised by Publishers Weekly as "a gripping read from an author who's not afraid to take risks." The sequel, Unravel Me, blew readers away with heart-racing twists and turns, and New York Times bestselling author Kami Garcia said it was "dangerous, sexy, romantic, and intense." Now this final book brings the series to a shocking and climactic end.</p>
This review contains spoilers! Read at your own risk!
**For a non-spoilery review I strongly recommend this one from Love is Not a Triangle.
Ignite Me was a series finale I was anxious and nervous for. For one, Shatter Me has been one of my favorite series thus far, with its poetic and beautiful writing and complex and interesting characters. The nerves stemmed from a combination of fear of the massive love triangle that developed in the sequel, Unravel Me, and from numerous recent series finales that left me a little disappointed. I was leery of where this one would fit but I put my big girl panties on and jumped in with two feet on the day of release.
I should start out by saying I was a firm Team Adam supporter heading in. I found him protective and swoony in Shatter Me and he broke my heart in Unravel Me, but I had faith, despite the novella, Fracture Me. One has to hold onto hope sometimes, right? I was not a fan of that novella. It felt pointless, like just a rehashing of previous events, with no real substance. I guess novellas are supposed to be that way sometimes? I don’t know. I don’t really care for them in general and make it a habit of skipping them completely. But it felt just thrown together and then showed us a small piece of an Adam I didn’t recognize. But again, I had faith in my boy that he was just going through a hard time and Tahereh Mafi was trying to throw us off. I regretted reading it but in the scheme of things, it’s probably best I did or the Adam she created in Ignite Me would have surprised me even more so than it did.
If it was unclear the direction the love triangle was going to take heading in, it was immediately cleared up within the first few chapters. How so? Well, we spend the first approximately 15% of the book changing everything I enjoyed about Warner’s character. Every bad thing he did to Juliette in the previous books or that upset her was explained away into being untrue with excuse after excuse. Locking her up for future use as a weapon? Oh he was just following orders and studying her to try to help his sick mother. Making her hurt a child? Oh that didn’t really happen, it was a simulation chamber. He was trying to get her angry and find her strength to fight back and use her powers. That soldier he shot? He was a wife and child beater so it is totally fine. It left me thinking one word – convenient. Just the whole manner of how it was revealed to Juliette didn’t sit right with me. The only thing that he seemed to really be responsible for was trying to kill her best friend and boyfriend at the time. But in the end it didn’t seem to bother Juliette much.
I’m all for bad guys turning it around and turning into the good guy but being the villain was what made Warner so great! He was so complex and interesting that way! I didn’t care for this Warner like I did before. I would have rathered he stayed that way and Mafi found a way to still get these two to move past all of that and find love.
The next like 50% of the book then gave Adam a complete personality transplant. Adam became so upset with Juliette, and honestly, some of that anger was justified and warranted, to a degree. She threw him aside for his own good and moved on with his brother, the one person he hated more than his father. He overreacted something fierce though. We got chapter after chapter of him yelling at her, rehashing the same argument over and over, each one getting worse than the previous. It was repetitive and beyond ridiculous how far it went. Who was this Adam? I had never met him before because this was not the Adam I fell in love with. I know people sometimes change or become different version of themselves than we thought they were, especially in relationships, but this was overkill. Was Mafi trying to overcompensate for something? There was no reason for this to go on and on and to the extent it did to explain away why Warner was in and Adam was out. I’m not sure if Mafi thought that these role reversals and personality changes would happily sway Team Adam supporters to switch sides easily but if that was her intentions it failed miserably, in my opinion. Maybe she was just trying to make Juliette’s decision easier. My complete upset was not based on which guy won out in the end, it was how she chose to get us there. It was insulting and felt like a slap in the face as an Adam fan. In fact, what probably got my blood boiling the most was how Juliette then used Adam’s new behavior to rationalize that she never loved Adam in the first place. He was just the first person to show an interest in her that she could touch. There was never a connection to him. The connection to Adam stemmed from Warner. Wow. So glad that little bit I could hold onto from Shatter Me was so easily dismissed and taken away from me. And you know what? Adam was never given a chance to redeem himself. This mean and angry Adam was what we got until the end, the very little bit he played in the book at that point. How disappointing.
To wrap up my thoughts on the love triangle, I think I must clear up any notions some might have that I didn’t like this book just because of Adam. Believe me, there have been other series I adored with my guy losing out and I still enjoyed the last novel. In the end, it is probably for the best Juliette moved on. I wouldn’t want Juliette with this Adam either. Nor him with her, for that matter. Adam became someone who was afraid to fight, wanting instead to try to find a way to stay safe with his brother. I understood why he felt this way. But that wasn’t Juliette anymore. She wanted to fight. And Warner was more supportive of that. Warner and Juliette did have some scenes together, eventually, that I enjoyed. Mafi sure can write sexy scenes, I’ll give her that. But spending almost 75% of the book on this love triangle was overkill. I was rolling my eyes, yelling at the book to move on and I even started to skim, which is sad for a series I used to hang onto every word of. It could have been done so much quicker, leaving more room for the final showdown and other issues I was dying to see resolved. And it could have been done with more respect to the characters we grew to love and the passionate fans that stood by them for all of these books.
Finally towards the end things started to happen and it picked up for me, getting me excited and out of my foul mood. But it was all so rushed! I had been waiting and waiting for the big reveal to Warner that Adam and James were his brothers and it literally happened and ended within a few pages. That was it. It was basically glossed right over. Warner instantly changed his attitude towards Adam and Adam seemed to almost do the same. *sigh*
Juliette developing into the full force of her powers seemed pretty quick too. All of a sudden she was this huge powerhouse that no one could content with. She wanted to switch the soldiers’ allegiance and it happened with one tiny speech and superpower show. Not to mention her newfound desire to run the Reestablishment? Uh huh. Which leads me to the final showdown… that wasn’t. Juliette was a total badass at the end but did Anderson even have any lines, or more than one? And in all honesty, I wanted Warner and Adam to be a part of Anderson’s takedown. After everything that man did to them, they should have been there! Can you imagine if the three of them found a way to work together for it? It would have been epic and that might have really created a bridge between them for the future. I would have loved that. But alas, this was not meant to be.
Something else I noticed lacking in this finale was the beautiful writing style that is Mafi’s writing. There were a few passages, mostly later on in the book, but for the most part it wasn’t there. God, I remember soaking in all the beautiful words in Shatter Me and Unravel Me but they were noticeably absent here.With how the book was so focused on repetitive aspects of the love triangle and rushed through the actual action and excitement, it makes me wonder if Mafi rushed through, or struggled, writing this. It felt so off to me.
So just what did I like? Kenji! He stole the show, as usual. Thank god for his humor to lighten things up and make me smile. James was as adorable as ever, the bits and pieces we saw of him. And again, Mafi is spectacular at writing love scenes that cause chills to run down my spine. I hope she writes a romance novel someday, a standalone without a love triangle, preferably. lol
I apologize for how ranty and lengthy this review has become. I just… I have a lot of feelings on this book and I needed to get them out so I can have some sort of closure and move on. In fact, I’m not even touching upon a few other issues I had like the world building, my dislike for Juliette, and the lack of use of the Omega Point characters. But I’m thankful to have had so many fellow readers and bloggers to talk to as I was reading Ignite Me and immediately after. The support in knowing I was not alone in my thoughts, when so many positive reviews were circling, was just what I needed.
So if you are skipping the whole review and coming down to just this last line: Ignite Me lost what made this series so great for me – the beautiful poetic writing and complex and interesting characters to root for.
Past reviews for the series: