Review: Ignite Me (Shatter Me #3) by Tahereh Mafi

February 14, 2014 Book Review, Uncategorized, Young Adult 40 ★★

Ignite MeIgnite Me by Tahereh Mafi
Series: Shatter Me #3
Published by HarperCollins on February 4th 2014
Genres: Dystopian, Supernatural, Young Adult
Format: eBook
Source: Bought
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:

Shatter Me | Unravel Me | Fracture Me

About Tahereh Mafi

Tahereh Mafi is a girl. She writes books and reads books and drinks way too much coffee.

Sara @ Forever 17 Books

40 Responses to “Review: Ignite Me (Shatter Me #3) by Tahereh Mafi”

  1. Joy (Joyousreads)

    God. I could incite all the ways Adam was the best choice but it’s all moot. Sigh. I read this book at the cabin until the wee hours in the morning. When they were going on and on about the same ol sh*t, different pile over and over again, I wanted to chuck the book outside. I wish there was a rating lower than one star.

    Great review, Sara. I had to cut mine short because it was way too freaking long. Lol.
    Joy (Joyousreads) recently posted…Ignite Me [Shatter Me, #3] by Tahereh MafiMy Profile

  2. Allie @ Little Birdie

    I could NOT AGREE MORE. I’ve pretty much said the exact same thing as you on my Goodreads review.

    It’s not even that I’m bitter, I’m just outraged at how much retconning went on – every bad thing Warner did was erased (except torturing Adam, which nobody seemed to care about) and then Adam became King Douche. I don’t get it at all.

    It was ridiculous.

    I gave the book three stars because I enjoyed the other aspects – such as the war and how it all ended, Kenji etc. But I was tempted to give it a two, just because of the ludicrousness of erasing everything that made Warner an interesting villain and everything that made Adam a great guy.

    Plus, the ultimate WTF – Juliette saying she never really loved Adam. Did she not start sobbing saying ‘I wish I could love you less’ at one point in Unravel Me? She went from that to realising she never truly loved him? I CANNOT WITH THIS.
    Allie @ Little Birdie recently posted…Review: Unbreak My Heart {Melissa C. Walker}My Profile

  3. Lauren @ Love is not a triangle

    This is a GREAT review! You outline your points well and defend them. Also, I agree with 100% of everything you said. Especially this: “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.” YES. And everything you said after that point in the paragraph. I’m still sad that Adam wasn’t given any redemption or point at all, invalidating EVERYTHING from Shatter Me. UGh. This still makes me angry. But it also felt off to me as well. Though we’re clearly in the minority with this, so I don’t know what to think anymore. Anyway, you’re awesome and I’m so thankful we had each other to get through this book.
    Lauren @ Love is not a triangle recently posted…On Valentines Day: A Plea for the Other GuyMy Profile

  4. Nick @ Nick's Book Blog

    We’ve talked about this a lot already and I think ranting with everyone has helped me overcome my frustration. I hope it’s helped you too. See, my problem wasn’t that she ended up with Warner either, but how the author changed their personalities to justify for her choice. Ah whatever. This series was never a favorite of mine, especially since the world-building was weak for a YA dystopia.
    There are far better books out there. 🙂
    Have you by any chance read Kristen Simmons’ Article 5? If you haven’t, I highly recommend it. It’s got a fabulous romance (no love triangles), great world-building and some wonderful characters.
    Nick @ Nick’s Book Blog recently posted…The Object of My Affection #1My Profile

    • Sara @ Forever 17 Books

      It did help to know there were others who felt the same way!

      I have read Article 5! It’s a favorite series of mine though I still need to read Three. I need to pick myself up a copy soon! I also really enjoyed the Legend series. From start to finish it was probably the most consistently good dystopian I’ve read.

  5. Nereyda @Mostly YA Book Obsessed

    I’m bummed you didn’t like this. Although I was expecting it when I was reading it 🙂
    I’m not sad you really didn’t like it because I’m a Warner fan or because I did, but because you were so excited for this and it always sucks when a book lets you down. I really hope wither Adam or Kenji get their own book because everything felt so unfinished (kind of like how VA felt unfinished at the end) but I REALLY hope there is no love triangle. ESPECIALLY involving Adam or Kenji.
    Kenji is fucking awesome. LOVE his character!
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  6. BornBookish

    I could not agree with you more!! I was an emotional wreck for at least a week after reading this! Everyone assumes that if you didn’t like this books it’s just because you were Team Adam, which of course was part of it but it was more about the way Mafi went about it that bothered most people. Like you said, I could have handled Juliette choosing Warner. I didn’t want it to happen but I could have accepted it, IF she hadn’t explained away every bad thing Warner did, bashed Adam’s character,and claimed Juliette never loved him in the first place because let’s be real, we all know she did. This book totally ruined the whole series for me, I can’t even hold on to my love for the first book and just forget the rest because she tore the first book to shreds in this one! Shatter Me was one of my all time favorite books that I recommended to everyone. Now I feel like I should apologize for putting them through it. Sigh….
    BornBookish recently posted…Review: The Body Finder by Kimberly DertingMy Profile

  7. Pam@YAEscapefromReality

    I agree with everything in your review. I was actually going to post a spoiler discussion (er, rant) but I don’t think I will because you basically wrote everything I was thinking about. I reread Shatter Me and Unravel Me before I read Ignite Me and with it so fresh in my mind, it makes what the author did even more obvious. The manipulation, the pushing so hard to get us all to agree that Warner was the right choice. Warner was a great villain, and what I really thought was amazing was how she wrote a villain that was complex and that people were rooting for. But instead of keeping him that way, suddenly everything he did didn’t actually happen. What??? That makes no sense. And then suddenly Adam is just a big jerk. What??? I have no problem with Juliette choosing Warner, it was the way that it happened and what the author did to both Warner and Adam in order for it to happen. The more I think about it, the more it bothers me. I actually gave the book 4 stars on Goodreads because it was a page-turner and it was emotional and there were many aspects that I loved, but thinking about it more makes me want to lower that rating. Oh well! And yes, Article 5 is fantastic. I just reread it and I’m going to reread Breaking Point before I read Three. Great post!!
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  8. Kelley

    For the first time I found a review that totally agreed with my opinion. Every single one of my friends couldn’t understand why I was on Team Adam and how I wasn’t happy with the ending. I am happy (okay, fine, I’m not happy, but I’m okay with it!), but I just couldn’t stand how Mafi twisted everything around and made Adam the bad guy. I mean, what happened to that caring and loving guy in Shatter Me? It makes absolute no sense. And she didn’t even allow him to redeem himself! Which totally peeves me. And now that you mentioned, I can now totally agree and see that Mafi was really twisting and manipulating and trying to make Warner the best choice. Ugh! I just can’t describe my feelings about this book. Add Pam’s, BornBookish’s, Allie’s, Nick’s, and Lauren’s comments together and that pretty much sums up on what I feel. I am so glad you posted this because I know now someone understands how I feel about Ignite Me and I don’t have to feel bad and snubbed about it. Thank you! 🙂 oh and you had an AMAZE-ONG review

  9. Tanja

    I knew that this will happen right after Fractured Me so I truly wasn’t surprised. I did liked Adam at the start but after that novella I lost interest and he wasn’t character I wanted to “win” in a way. But still Warner was greatly developed if you ask me. I admire the author who can make me love the character after I hated him. Sorry you didn’t enjoy this one as much. Great review 🙂
    Tanja recently posted…ARC Review: Stolen Songbird by Danielle L. JensenMy Profile

    • Sara @ Forever 17 Books

      Fracture Me had me worried, for sure. But I couldn’t help but to hold onto hope Mafi was trolling us with that, trying to throw us off. And a part of me felt like a character would be killed off in this sort of love triangle.

      I personally didn’t like the Warner development at all in this book. I prefered how interesting and complex he was before she completely redid his character. But I see what you are saying about how you admire Mafi for making you change your mind about it.

  10. Stephanie

    This is so disappointing. We read Shatter Me at the same time and I loved it. I skipped over Unravel Me, wanting to wait for The third to release because I didn’t want to have to get the cliffs notes. Now ill probably never read the third. I’ll just pretend it never happened. This is a classic case of yet another trilogy gone wrong.

  11. Jessica@Lovin' Los Libros

    “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.”—– SARA. SARA. SARA. YES.

    Ok, here we go. I have only read Shatter Me. I haven’t read either Unravel Me or Ignite Me all the way through, but what I’ve pieced together is that Mafi is not true to her characters. That is a huge pet peeve of mine. I LOVED Adam in SM. And I think it’s crap that Juliette is saying she never felt anything for him. Really? You don’t have that kind of chemistry and then just chalk it up to nothing, I’m sorry. And really Warner? I’m all for redemption- don’t get me wrong… and I know it’s been a long time since I’ve read SM, but he was freaking CRAZY. I do not condone our heroines falling for sociopathic loons. Ok, I’ll stop here. I won’t rant and rave, but this one series that I just can’t fangirl over with everyone else.
    Jessica@Lovin’ Los Libros recently posted…Review: Be With Me by J.LynnMy Profile

    • Sara @ Forever 17 Books

      lol I love your rant! Yeah, I don’t blame you in not finishing the entire series. Part of me wishes I never read past Shatter Me so I could pretend everything is happy and content for Juliette and Adam without all the extra drama and crap that happened afterwards. I can’t fangirl either. Just, nope.

  12. YA Book Queen

    I skimmed to avoid spoilers, but I’m sad to see that this book didn’t live up to the previous ones. I loved her poetic writing style, so that’s a shame that it wasn’t quite there this time.

    Glad that Kenji is still fabulous, though 🙂
    YA Book Queen recently posted…Review: THESE BROKEN STARSMy Profile

  13. Jen-Jenuine Cupcakes

    *COMMENT HAS SPOILERS* In case someone is reading this. 🙂

    I have yet to write my review for this book and I think I might link back to yours with a tagline, “What She Said,” because honestly, you said everything I felt. And this is coming from a die-hard Warner fan.

    I always *knew* there was more to Warner but I LOVED him as a villain. But like you said, everything was explained away so easily and poor Adam…I was tempted to go back and reread Shatter Me but I’m afraid that might break my heart all over again.

    Maybe I’ll go spend a little time with Harlin instead. He never lets me down. 😉
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  14. julie

    OMG thanks for this review. I stopped after reading book 2, and I was a warner fan just because he made the first book interesting. Adam was cardboard for me. I thought that he warner made a better villain. Great review 🙂
    julie recently posted…Austenland the MOvieMy Profile

  15. Lily

    I completely understand how this book might not have been some peoples favourites. To be honest most of the negative things you said about Ignite Me i agreed with, I did feel the ending battle was too short, I did feel Adam’s character was changed SO MUCH and so on but at the same time I feel like I could accept that. I think i better explain my feelings in my review and i don’t want to go into too much depth here because if i do i’ll never shut up but i could live with the way everything ended. I do wish the ending could have summed things up more but at the same time i’m accepting that the series was more about Juliette’s journey than anything else really and when I look at it from that perspective i’m okay with the ending.
    Lily @ Lilysbookblog
    p.s great review
    Lily recently posted…Ignite Me (Shatter Me #3):Review *MAJOR SPOILERS*My Profile

  16. Andreea

    I have ordered the book and I am still waiting for it to arrive. There were no copies left and now I have to wait 4 more weeks or so for my copy to arrive. I am mad.

    Anyway, I will come back after I read it because I don’t want to be spoiled.
    Andreea recently posted…Birthday Book HaulMy Profile

  17. Annie

    yes and yes and yes. Thank you for saying pretty much everything I thought about this book.

    I will admit that after reading Destroy Me I liked that Warner revealed those things to Juliette and I did like that part of his character.

    But everything else – every thing about Adam. It wasn’t at all that he didn’t end up with Juliette. It was like he wasn’t even the same character at all and that was frustrating. And I love how you pointed out that all he did was yell and it was the same fight over and over again. He was such an interesting character in Shatter Me and I didn’t mind him being angry when he had every right to be but I also wanted him to be other things or do something else. It was like he was this one note character I didn’t recognize at all.

    And YES it would have been so awesome if they all went after Anderson together.

    And SO TOTALLY I wanted more from that whole brother reveal.

    And also Kenji and James were great. I just… sorry for turning this comment into my own little rant but it’s so awesome and exciting for someone else to voice everything I was thinking 🙂
    Annie recently posted…pantser or plotterMy Profile

  18. starryeyedjen

    I’m sad that everyone either loved or hated this book, but I’m also glad that it evoked such strong reactions from readers. We were so invested in the story. I can’t even believe how invested I got because I didn’t even really love Shatter Me. I agree, though, Kenji stole the show. And I didn’t even like him very much in the first book either! So weird! I’m sorry you didn’t love this or even particularly like it. Hopefully you’ll find your next favorite read soon and be able to move on from this. 🙂
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  19. Mimie

    just finished reading this book and was screaming and crying all alone until i found this review of yours and i was like FINALLY SOMEONE IS WITH ME I AM NOT ALONE THANK YOU!!!

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