Review: Unravel Me by Tahereh Mafi
Rating: !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! and also WTF with a touch of HOLY EVERLOVING GOD
and a healthy heaping of swooooon
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.
WARNING: This is a sequel to the book Shatter Me. There will be spoilers for SM in this review. Click here for my review of Shatter Me.
The cover: Don't mind that sound, it was just my eyeballs exploding from all that beauteousness.
The story: I seriously don't know how to be coherent about this book. Submerging in Juliette's world and brain is both disorienting and gripping. Exhilating is an accurate word. If exhilarating can also be used to mean heart wrenching and action-packed and swoonalicious.
Seriously, the only way I'll be able to make any sense here is by breaking it down into sections, so I'll just go ahead and do that and let the gifs do the heavy lifting.
The writing: Mafi continues to be one of the most wildly creative writers I've ever encountered. Nobody writes like her. Seriously, nobody. As in, she literally comes up with turns of phrases that nobody has ever used. It's completely gorgeous. Every now and then I'd come across a sentence that made me sigh with happiness. Sentences so magnificently constructed you just wanted to frame them and hang them on your wall. In Shatter Me, I sometimes thought the language use a bit much, in spite of it's gorgeousness, but in Unravel Me I feel she perfectly strikes the balance between lyrical magnificence and clarity.
The plot: Honestly, I can't even say anything! Anything remotely descriptive would be a huge spoiler. It was perhaps a bit slow in the beginning, but once the ball got rolling, it was just, basically, a whole lot of !!!!!!!!! and I DON'T EVEN. I MEAN WHAT. Up. Down. Heart goes through a shredder. Brain explodes. TWISTY TURNY NONSENSE revelations galore!
Yeah, that's basically an exact transcript of my reading experience.
Juliette: My favorite lunatic heroine. We left Juliette at a high point at the end of Shatter Me. She'd finally found people like her at Omega Point, she and her beloved Adam we safe, there was a master plan to save the world in the works. Unfortunately, Juliette has pretty much reverted to her old, closed off, emo self at the beginning of Unravel Me. Poor J just doesn't know how to be a person, which is kind of what I love about her. Yes, the constant bemoaning and self-loathing got old, but it's kind of adorable how completely inept she is at basic human interaction. I guess that's what happens when you spend your formative years in a dank cell. You just aren't that good at making friends.
|My tip: Don't sizzle them with your murder hands.|
Once Juliette gets over herself and gets committed to the Omega Point program, she starts to gain more agency and become more in tune with her dark side, so to speak. Girl's a complete loose cannon, is what I'm saying. And I love it. I don't dare say more, lest I spoil anything, but when she interacts with Warner and various other evil people, all of whom have pretty definitive contact with their own dark sides, things get innnnnteresting.
Adam: I have mixed feelings about Adam. I loved him in Shatter Me mostly because of what he brings out in Juliette, rather than on his own merits. He's pretty much the emo king in Unravel Me. Yes, tons of sucky things happen to him. But the dude is drowning in his feels in a way that to me was a bit much. It fit well with his characterization, but I found myself going, "Oh, Adam's on the page again, things are going to get weepy, sigh," but that is also because I'm a big biased Warner fan and I frequently let my prejudices get the best of me. For the record: I love love triangles, and I ADORE this one. It's seriously one of my favorites. It's complex, messy, and nobody is coming out a winner (I like characters to suffer, because I'm cruel). I could argue for and against both guys. Juliette probably shouldn't be with either of them. Or maybe she should be with both. I'm not sure. But when it comes to personal taste, I'm a Warner girl through and through. Even though I still like Adam.
KENJI. Kenji, you adorably handsome little ray of sunshine! He stole this book blind along with Adam's little brother James, which is a tough feat, considering it also contains Warner, the love of my life. Kenji is that awesome, hilarious, level-headed friend we all wish we had. You know: the get-a-grip friend who always tells you when you're being an enormous emo drama queen, who's a total straight shooter and whose words can be harsh but always come from a tough love kind of place. That's what he is for Juliette. Just when's she about to veer into semi-insufferable territory with her constant woe is me (though, to be fair, a lot about her life seriously sucks), our beloved Kenji is there to knock some sense into her.
WARNER WARNER WARNER: I. Love. Warner. Seriously. He is one of the most complex, richest, messed up, beautiful, heart-shattering, mind-boggling characters I've ever come across and I ADORE HIM TO PIECES. I love reading about him. He is so damaged, you guys. He and Juliette are both such damaged souls with such dark parts of them that it is just a joy to watch them interact. It's this swirling vortex of feelings and awesomeness. So many layers. SO MANY FEEEELS.
It takes a while for Warner to show up. And though the wait nearly killed me, it seriously paid off. Because it brought us to what was, for me, the very best part of Unravel Me: watching Juliette and Warner interact. This is not just purely from a love triangle perspective, either
The only problem with gobbling up Unravel Me so fast that I forgot to breathe is what in Warner's name (WHICH I KNOW!) I'm going to do until the next one comes out.