'I will not shatter, not again...'

Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi was released back in 2011, not long before I created my blog. For  while, it felt like I was seeing it everywhere I turned! I sampled it at the bookstore one day but put it down after a few pages. I just couldn't handle the strikethroughs. And honestly, I hated the original cover.

A year later, the cover redesign caught my eye and made me want to give the series another try. The first few chapters were still iffy for me, but I soon found my groove and flew through the rest of the book. I fell in love with Mafi's characters and writing, which I talked about in my review

My love for the series grew with Unravel Me, and prompted me to write letters to the characters and author in lieu of a review. Looking back, I have to laugh at how much I got wrong after that first read! My feelings have changed so much.

And when Ignite Me came out, it absolutely shocked me. I re-read the series before that book and started noticing hints of things that I'd missed the first time around. I was thankful for the experience because it gave me new insight into the characters and a deeper appreciation for what the conclusion accomplished. It also sparked my longest-ever review because I had so many thoughts on the concept of perception

When I heard Mafi was returning to the series with a new three-book arc, I wasn't really sure how I felt about it. I knew I wanted to read the new book, Restore Me, to decide for myself... but I planned to go in with low expectations. Four years had passed since I'd last read the series, so I knew I wanted to re-read them all first. I blew through them in a few days, and I honestly don't know if I would have liked them as much if I was reading them for the first time right now! Y'all, there is a lot of emotional angst in these pages, and it can be a little exhausting. I still I loved them, but I did realize that this isn't a series I see myself returning to again and again.

Starting Restore Me was a nerve-wracking moment! I hadn't read anything about the plot beforehand, so I had no idea when it was set in relation to the end of Ignite Me. When I realized that it picked up just sixteen days after the events of the previous book, I was shocked. It felt a bit surreal – as if the series had been frozen in time, despite the four years of real life that had happened since it first concluded. But the world was never the focus of the series and has always remained vague, so I was immediately sucked back in to the emotional dilemmas and conflicts between characters.

I won't spoil anything for this book, but I am going to proceed assuming you know what happened prior to this one. As I already mentioned, Restore Me opens sixteen days after Juliette becomes Supreme Commander of Sector 45. Nothing has really happened since that fateful day, though everyone is waiting to see how the other sectors will react to the news (especially in light of Juliette's powers and her age). A big portion of this book is focused on the reality of leading versus the fantasy that Juliette imagined. As I'm sure you can imagine, she's a bit unprepared.

The book flips between Juliette and Warner's point of view. I loved Warner's perspective in Destroy Me, so I was excited to get inside his head more. And honestly, it turned out to be my favorite part of the book! He's such a fascinating character, and I loved the complexity of his emotions. We start to see some of his past in these pages – and the fact that there's a whole lot these two don't know about each other yet. It's hard falling in love, fighting evil and facing up to the fact that you don't know the first thing about foreign relations.

As with all the previous books in the series, the relationships and emotions are the most memorable aspects of the book. So, in that essence, this felt like a natural extension of the story that started years ago. At the same time, the world and the plot are still a bit thin. This book seemed to be laying the foundation for the next two books, so it took a long time before it really felt like anything was happening. I'd love to better understand a few things from the ending, which was action packed but vague on the details. I'm sure everything will be explained in time.

Overall, I was really happy with this story. I loved checking back in with these characters, and it was easy to get swept up in Mafi's emotional torment. I don't think the additional books needed to be written, but I'm still going to follow along to see what happens next. Before it existed, I liked to imagine Warner and Juliette confidently taking on the world after the end of Ignite Me. Honestly, this is not that story... but I have hope that they'll get there by the end of this new trilogy. And if not? Well, I can always pretend they don't exist.

So Quotable
“Who says you can’t be cute and kick ass at the same time?” Kenji winks at me. “I do it every day.”
Release Date: March 2018 | Publisher: HarperCollins; HarperTeen
Pages: 448 pages | Source & Format: Bought; Hardcover

1 comment

  1. The only person that would have made me consider picking up the spin-off is Kenji because he's my absolute fave <3 But I'm glad you discovered that this book was actually pretty good (though I'm not sure now what you thought of the rest of the new series).


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