Review: Reveal Me (Shatter Me #5.5) by Tahereh Mafi

TitleReveal Me
Author:  Tahereh Mafi
Publisher/Year:  HarperCollins Publishing 10/8/19
Length:  68 Pages
Series:  Shatter Me #5.5

Overview

This fourth companion novella to Tahereh Mafi’s New York Times bestselling Shatter Me series is narrated by fan favorite character Kenji Kishimoto!

The explosive revelations in Defy Me have left readers reeling and desperate for answers. This fourth and final novella in the series will bring readers back to the world of the Shatter Me before the final novel installment hits shelves in winter 2020.

My Thoughts

The summary here doesn’t do anything for the story – you really have no idea what it is that we’re going to walk into, especially knowing that we were left with some INSANE revelations in the last book. Whatever it was that they thought they knew about each other, about the Resistance, about what it was that Anderson had tried to do, well the story is far more complex. Adam and James are pawns just like Ella and Emmaline are. Warner is caught in the middle again as are everyone else and it’s a mess.

As you’ll remember, they had safely made it across the country to Castle’s daughters complex. A place that no one knew existed because no one knew she existed and it’s a sanctuary to recoup and figure out what the next move will be. Told from Kenji’s point of view, we see how this will play out.

Remember that he was drugged and kidnapped by Nazeera (who could still be playing both sides) and then his plane is shot down by the Resistance to get him to safety. All part of a plan that he wasn’t informed about.

The biggest thing here is that you know that Kenji is driven by emotions and that’s part of his powers. He’s able to put others at ease, but what happens too is that he’s doing that by not letting his emotions take hold of him. We haven’t seen what would happen if he can’t control that and there are moments in this novella that we come close.

Because Kenji is so invested in his friendships, in his relationships, he’s the one that takes the latest rounds of information the hardest. Adam and James didn’t come with them from Omega Point and that can’t bode well for their futures because we learned who their father is and that makes things dicier. Kenji’s emotions bottle up and then explode when he learns of their fate and that takes the story on a fast turn of anger, fear and distrust.

Add to that the feelings that he had for Nazeera at one point, and the fact that he doesn’t know what her motivations are. This turns quickly into a love / hate relationship and while i would love nothing more than to see them together, we don’t yet know what’s possible.

When things seem like they can’t get worse – they’re in hiding from Anderson (shocker – he’s not dead), Adam and James are in limbo. No one knows who to trust, what their futures will hold and who’s going to be able to save them. Juilliete and Warner are finally in a good place but will that last? Will anyone find happiness and what will the world look like when this all comes to a head.

The last scene is an intense one brought to us via screams from the sanctuary, the world changing physical structure and form, the sun becoming something that no one understands, and Julliette on her knees screaming her sisters name. All of this begging for questions to be asked on what’s to come next, and now we have to wait a few months to see how this plays out. I don’t know if i can be patient but i guess i have no choice. Enjoy!

Review: Defy Me (Shatter Me #5) by Tahereh Mafi

Title: Defy Me
Author:  Tahereh Mafi
Publisher/Year:  Harper Collins 4/2/19
Length:   352 Pages
Series:  Shatter Me #5

Overview

Juliette and Warner’s story continues in the thrilling fifth installment of Tahereh Mafi’s New York Times bestselling Shatter Me series.

Juliette Ferrars isn’t who she thinks she is.

Still reeling from the explosive events of the Continental Symposium and the secrets Warner has been keeping, Juliette has nowhere to turn and doesn’t know who she can trust. 

She’s desperate for answers, but to get them, she’ll have to face the nightmares that have been chasing her for a lifetime.

My Thoughts

WOW. honestly, let’s just start by saying WOW. Where we have gone in this 5th full length installment is a place of insanity, intrigue, lies, questionable trust, fear, love even. All of that in this compact story!

Nothing is what it seems – what happened at the symposium didn’t happen, or perhaps didn’t happen as everyone ‘saw’ it and that was done for a purpose. To make people question the stability and sanity of Juliette and to cast doubt on everything that she’s been trying to put into place. Add to that, Warner and Juliette go missing – kidnapped and it’s a race against the clock to find them.

We spend the beginning of this story still seeing relationships at a turning point. Juliette and Warner are not in a good place and while you can still feel the magnetism that pulls them together, there’s so much anger that they are pushed further and further apart. Juliette is back in a shell of her own making because of actions that were made from Warners’ direction and that scares a lot of people.

Then there’s Kenji and Nazeera – the couple that won’t admit that they are attracted to each other. It’s so nice that we can continue to see how Kenji develops following his novella. the sweet human side that we saw is really the same Kenji that we get here. Seeing how he’s not able to be tough anymore around Nazeera and how shes’ maybe willing to take a leap of faith with him, that’s makes for a great few chapters.

On top of all that relationship stuff, the way that our amazing author wrote this story is even more complex and engaging than the others. We’re used to seeing chapters change from people’s POVs but in this story we’re not only alternating who’s telling us the story, but we vary in the time that things are happening. There are memories that are coming back from when they were children, when all this started and this really lays the groundwork so that as the characters begin to see what’s been kept from them, we get to see it as well.

The key here is that there are far more friendships from childhood than anyone knew. They were friends, they were safe places, they were reasons to keep living, and yet those same reasons for crying.

When Juliette realizes that she’s an experiment, that her sister is one as well ,all that the hands of Warner’s father, and her parents – things begin to spin. FAST. Juliette is really Ella, and her sister Emmaline is the one who’s in worse shape. The girls used to be best friends with Nazeera back when they were 5 years old, and when Ella was taken from her family, Warner was there to witness it all. Even Adam had a role in this as Warner’s father kept tabs on him and pushed him into the role that he had in Ella/Juliette’s life.

This story is an insane roller coaster. People that we thought died didn’t. People that we thought were killed in past books maybe aren’t dead. People that want to die save the lives of many, and people that we love get hurt.

Omega Point isn’t safe anymore, Sector 45 isn’t safe so they are left scrambling for another place to live while everyone hatches a plan to find Warner and Juliette/Ella before it’s too late. And once they find them, depending on the shape they are in, figure out what moves to make from there.

We’re constantly debating who to trust – the Supreme Commanders’ children aren’t to be trusted, or are they? The Unnaturals (those that have special powers) find that there’s an interesting link there, and that they were all destined for a different life at the hands of someone that’s become important. Castle still knows more than he shares but never opens his mouth. Nazeera is a true wild card and continues to make us question every single thing she does, especially when ghosts pop up.

Where we are left at the end of this installment is even more uncertain. We have moments to think there may be hope for the future, but at the same time, we see that there are still so many powerful forces against them, with money and weaponry to beat them that it seems bleak. Is Ella strong enough to take control, will she and Warner reconcile? Will Castle finally share all that he knows? Will we ever get to the bottom of what the Reestablishment stands for and what can be done to bring them down? SOOO many questions and far far too long until we get the next installment to get answers. Enjoy!

Review: Shadow Me (Shatter Me #4.5) by Tahereh Mafi

Title: Shadow Me
Author:  Tahereh Mafi
Publisher/Year:  Harper Collins 3/5/19
Length:   55 Pages
Series:  Shatter Me #4.5

Overview

Juliette is still reeling from Warner’s betrayal, and Kenji is trying to balance his friendship with her with his responsibilities as a leader of the resistance against the Reestablishment. Things get even more interesting when an unexpected person from Omega Point’s past surfaces.

The ending of Restore Me left readers gasping, and this novella full of Kenji’s signature sass and big heart is the perfect story to tide fans over until Defy Me, the shocking fifth book in the Shatter Me series, hits shelves in April 2019.

My Thoughts

Every time we get a new installment, i’m reminded that it’s been a while since the previous one, and while I hate being in limbo and a bit fuzzy on details, I don’t quite have it in me to re-read everything to get fully back up to speed. So, in this novella, where we are is a bit out of sync in my mind but that’s ok. Ms Mafi does a fantastic job of grounding us in the moment in time where the world has completely turned itself upside down.

This time around we get a snippet about Kenji – what’s going on in his head personally and what he’s being left to clean up in reality. There’s always been this humor about him, the ability to make situations less dramatic, but what we find out here is that there’s even more drama and depth than we ever knew.

Juliette continues to be in such a precarious position, and Kenji takes so much of that weight on his own shoulders because he’s been closest to her for the longest time, and because it’s his nature to be overly compassionate. We see that even more so in this book, and we hear his internal monologue giving us bits of the history there to understand even more.

We really get the chance to see another side of him – the side that perhaps is covered up by all the humor that he puts out in the world. The jealous side – the part of him that wishes that he could have what everyone else seems to have – even if he has to witness first hand the pain that comes along with finding his perfect person.

This is a bit of a snack to hold us over until Defy Me comes out in about 2 weeks, we find ourselves with Kenji trying to save Juliette from the after effects of the Symposium, and Juliette then going missing – Nazeerah becoming even more a mystery and all hell breaking loose….All of this is both too much and not enough to keep the chaos on my brain at bay. I need to see what happens, who’s still alive and what impact this is going to have on the world as they know it. Enjoy!

Review: Fracture Me (Shatter Me #2.5) by Tahereh Mafi

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Title:  Fracture Me
Author: Tahereh Mafi
Publisher/Year: HarperCollins  12/17/13
Length:  68 pages
Series:  Shatter Me #2.5

Overview

In this electrifying sixty-page companion novella to the New York Times bestselling Shatter Me series, discover the fate of the Omega Point rebels as they go up against The Reestablishment. Set during and soon after the final moments of Unravel MeFracture Me is told from Adam’s perspective.

As Omega Point prepares to launch an all-out assault on The Reestablishment soldiers stationed in Sector 45, Adam’s focus couldn’t be further from the upcoming battle. He’s reeling from his breakup with Juliette, scared for his best friend’s life, and as concerned as ever for his brother James’s safety. And just as Adam begins to wonder if this life is really for him, the alarms sound. It’s time for war.

On the battlefield, it seems like the odds are in their favor—but taking down Warner, Adam’s newly discovered half brother, won’t be that easy. The Reestablishment can’t tolerate a rebellion, and they’ll do anything to crush the resistance . . . including killing everyone Adam has ever cared about.

Fracture Me sets the stage for Ignite Me, the explosive finale in Tahereh Mafi’s epic dystopian series.

My Thoughts

It’s been a while since i had entered this story line so it was a nice little tease of what’s to come.  I think this is one of the nice things that i’ve seen with Tahereh Mafi, and with this series.  there’s a lot of character development and a lot of depth to the story line that we don’t always get everywhere.  it’s complicated at times since there’s always a lot going on, but i think that it’s nice to get.

What we have here is the scene of the attack that Omega Point is trying to avoid while trying to rescue a few of their own.  This follows a scene in the previous book where Kenji was injured by Juliette accidentally and almost killed, so he’s not at 100% which makes things more complex.  We also know that there’s a troubled love triangle still in play between brothers Adam and Waner over Juliette who tries to make things better by ‘walking away’ from Adam since her powers are harmful to him.

All in all though, with this short 68 page novella, we get a glimpse of what’s to come.  We see that Omega Point is damaged beyond repair, Juliette is taken captive, and the few remaining are left to hide out, plan and try to stay alive.

What’s next for them, we have no idea, but i’m sure that Ms. Mafi won’t leave us hanging and there will be plenty of anxiety, angst and super natural powers at play.  Honestly, i just wonder who will survive and which relationships will hold true.  I love that James, Adam’s little brother plays a continuously strong role, and I’m hoping that he survives….

Review: Unravel Me (Shatter Me #2) by Tahereh Mafi

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Title:  Unravel Me
Author: Tahereh Mafi
Publisher/Year: Harper Collins Publishers 2/5/13
Length:  461 pages
Series: Shatter Me #2

Overview

tick tick tick tick tick it’s almost time for war.

Juliette has escaped to Omega Point. It is a place for people like her—people with gifts—and it is also the headquarters of the rebel resistance.

She’s finally free from The Reestablishment, free from their plan to use her as a weapon, and free to love Adam. But Juliette will never be free from her lethal touch.

Or from Warner, who wants Juliette more than she ever thought possible.

In this exhilarating sequel to Shatter Me, Juliette has to make life-changing decisions between what she wants and what she thinks is right. Decisions that might involve choosing between her heart—and Adam’s life.

My Thoughts

Oh how the suspense makes me fear what a book will really be like.  Especially when you get a novella in the middle as a tied me over and it really is a good story albeit not one that’s really aligned in the timeline of the story.

in any event, i think that even with my toddler amount of patience and wild imagination, there were places that this second installment took us that even i was unprepared for.

so…we meet up with Adam, Kenji and Juliette at Omega Point where Kenji took them as a safe haven and because they too wanted Juliette for her super human powers.  As a refresher for those of you who may not have read Shatter Me yet, Juliette has this power that she can incapacitate anyone who touches her skin.  she was put into an asylum when she was just 14 because she inadvertently killed a toddler just by her Touch.

Adam knew Juliette growing up and enlisted in the Army as a means to provide for his brother since his mother and father ‘died’.  Kenji was in the army with Adam and was his best friend for a while when they were there.

Adam was then sent to hunt Juliette and bring her back to Warner who oversees Sector 45 and is the son of the COMMANDER SUPREME.  Warner held her hostage, adam and she escape, kenji tracked them down and somehow they got to Omega Point.

so that basically takes us to where we are – Juliette finds that Adam is alive and is getting better, she meets Castle who runs the place along with various others who ALL have super powers.  She continues to develop her relationship with Adam since they know that he’s able to touch her for some unknown reason….and being the only person (other than Warner) who can do that – it’s something that they revel in.

So….Juliette has a hard time ‘adjusting’ since she’s not sure if she trusts the motives for Castle wanting her at Omega Point, things are getting very strange outside because Warner and his guards are hunting even more aggressively trying to find Omega Point because they have even more reason to believe that it exists and that there’s something brewing, and there’s just so much complicated stuff going on.

While at OP, Juliette discovers that her 2 past bouts of super human strength actually weren’t flukes and that she’s possibly the stronger super human to be found yet – she almost single handedly destroys the place when she thinks that Adam’s being harmed without his consent.

See..the thing with OP is that they do thorough testing to determine what someone’s power is and they’ve decided that since Adam can touch Juliette that he must have some type of power of his own…and there’s the rub.  Something not so good is going on, and it’s taking a toll on his body and there are consequences here.

So Juliette gets mad, almost destroys the place and has even more to deal with since her relationship is now falling apart romantically and she’s made no effort otherwise to make friends with those there.

Outside of OP, Warner is desperately trying to find Juliette.  he’s angry that she got away but he’s also so in love with her that he’s not willing to let go.  It’s only when 4 of the OP residents get taken hostage and 2 get freed, and Warner is taken as a trade for the others that Juliette realizes that there’s much much much more going on here.  Shes a bundle of messy teen angsty nerves and i have to say that i kind of like what’s going on.

So…so much going on that i feel like i have to hold back and not talk about the parts that i loved but pose a few questions that might be considered leading.

so SPOILER WARNING.  I’m going to try really hard not to blab anything, but my questions might give away a few things

1) can we trust Warner?  Do we want to?

2) what’s going to happen with Adam? his health?

3) Does anderson know about his son(s)?

4) Does anderson know about powers (since he knows about Omega Point) and does he have any?

5) Will Juliette be able to use her powers for the right team and which side is the right side?

6) are you team Aaron or Adam?

so, i really can’t for the third installment of what i believe to still be an untitled story.  Thanks for another amazing step into dystopian fantasy!

Re-Review: Shatter Me (Shatter Me #1) by Tahereh Mafi

I’ve been staring at the cover of Unravel Me for about a week now trying to get ready to read it, and realized that i owed it to myself to do a quick re-read of Shatter Me – the first book in the series.  I needed to make sure that i was fully up to speed on what happened, with whom, and it what order and what i needed to remember.

so for those of you that haven’t read it yet, we’re introduced to Juliette who is 17 and has been locked up in an asylum because she’s got some ‘power’ where she can’t touch another living person because she will kill them through some power in her skin.  the reason that she’s been locked up is because she accidentally killed a child that she was trying to help and her parents and society didn’t have any other option for her.

What I need to point out here is that society has gone to shit (at least that’s what people think because of what they’ve been told), and the ‘Re-Establishment’ has taken control of the world in the hopes of overpowering everyone else of influence and creating their own super power.

So while Juliette is locked up, after about a year of solitary isolation, she’s given a cell-mate and a guy at that.  she doesn’t know what to make of it and thinks that they are trying to kill her off or something like that.  Well…after a little bit of time, she begins to get these little flashes of recognition of her cell-mate – his eyes mostly really remind her of something/someone from her past.

After a few weeks of sharing a cell, they are ‘broken out’ by the reestablishment and to Juliette’s dismay, she learns that her cellmate is a soldier, sent in to make sure that she wasn’t truly crazy as many in the asylum are, and to bring her to Warner who is the head of Sector 45.  Warner knows of Juliette’s powers and wants to use her for his own benefit.

so…Juliette has become a pawn, and all the while didn’t know what to expect and who to trust.  Not long after she’s been taken by Warner, she learns that her cellmate Adam really is the kid that she knew from her past, and that they actually shared a mutual opinion of one another.  They weren’t ever able to talk to each other, but they both saw something powerful that drew each one to the other that it grew into someone quite unique.

Now that Juliette is captive, and Adam was used as the means to bring her in, they’ve had the opportunity to talk about their feelings from the past and realize that they actually share the same mutual respect and love for each other.

That’s when things get hairy.  See…Adam knows that it’s not safe for them to be there, and Juliette has no intention of helping Warner do what he wants, meaning that she HAS to get away.  They take an opportunity to escape and run as fast and as far away as they can.

In their travels, they come to a safe haven where they think they can hide for a bit until they are discovered not too long after arriving.  it’s Kenji , Adam’s best friend from the army and there’s confusion as to how he knew where to find them.  Low and behold, Adam and Juliette have to make a decision about whether to trust Kenji or not, and in this story, you’re never quite sure what’s real and what’s being made to seem one way or another.

In any event, i’m really excited about Unravel Me since there’s a lot that i want answers to.

1) What makes Juliette the way that she is?

2) what happens with Juliette and Adam

3) what’s the deal with Warner?  what’s in store for him?

4) Omega Point?  What’s that?

Destroy Me by Tahereh Mafi

One of the things that i love about some of these fantasy series that i’ve been reading is when there’s a book 1.5 or a .5 to read while we’re waiting for the next installment to come along.  Destroy Me is just that – the semi-sequel to Shatter Me that kind of ties us over until Unravel Me comes out.

So in this short story, we’re in Warner’s head – after he’s lost Juliette to Kent and Kishimoto and well, he’s devastated.  He can’t help but think about her all the time, not because he’s lost some of his power and authority due to being injured while she escaped, and disappointing his father who’s the supreme leader, but because he’s actually convinced himself that he loves her.  that will always get a man into trouble.

so we’re in Warner’s head for a bit – experiencing his weaknesses as he’s healing and trying to figure out what’s happened to Juliette and how to get her back.

to be honest, there wasn’t too much development behind this story, but what we do learn is that his father knows that Juliette isn’t alone in what she is…and you have to wonder if it’s because he knows that maybe his son is like that too?  i seem to remember that there was a scene in Shatter Me where Warner was touched by Juliette and nothing bad happened to him while she shocked and harmed everyone else that touched him.  just a thought.

so i guess we have to wait until Unravel Me comes out to see if Warner’s imagination is getting the best of him or if he’s on the cusp of accomplishing more and finding more than he hoped.

Cliffhangers

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you know a good author/book when you’re reading reading reading and you can’t seem to put the book down, and then all of a sudden it’s like you’re SMACKED in the face because the book has ended with a major cliffhanger.

Veronica Roth and Insurgent is that example right now.  It took me just over 2 days to read the whole thing and i’m really happy to say that i didn’t figure it all out while i was reading which is my biggest problem.  it’s kind of hard for me i think because my mind jumps ahead to figure out what the twists are going to be and what’s going to happen in the ending that sometimes i rush through what i’m reading to just GET THERE.  With Insurgent, i really wanted to read it all through quickly of course, but at the same time, making sure to catch all the details since there was a lot going on.

what kind of always leaves me feeling a bit depressed after reading such great books though, is that i always wish that i could be that creative and have a story like that holed up in my brain just waiting to come out – but it never happens that way does it?  i like to consider myself to be relatively creative, but i wonder if i’d have it in me to write a story like Divergent/Insurgent, or well…just about anything great that’s out there.

aside from lack of personal creativity (clearly) is the notion that i just realized an author to one of my new favs Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi is really young.  she’s an AMAZING writer yet she’s sooo young.  i don’t know how she did it/does it, but that takes a lot of talent (for lack of a better word).

anyway, now i’m 1/3 of the way through Kristin Cashore’s Bitterblue and that’s going to be yet another one that i have to stop myself from trying to figure out before i get into it.  i’m already 200 pages in and I wish i knew the twists and turns that i know i’ll figure out if i just read patiently.