Shatter Me #4
by Tahereh Mafi
Nikki’s Rating: 7 out of 10
Summary: Believing that taking out Anderson would be enough to change things, Juliette finds herself waiting for The Reestablishment to make their next move. Unsure of where the next attack is going to come from, Juliette scrambles to lead her people and keep the alliance with her soldiers intact. Things start to unravel when the children of The Reestablishment turn up, revealing the truth about her family, and that those closest to her, including Warner, are lying to her.
7 Rad Things about Tahereh Mafi’s Restore Me
(May Contain Spoilers)
If you didn’t know, I really have a thing for Byronic Heroes so yes, I love Warner! “Restore Me” provides us with more information about him and his life prior to events that take place in the Shatter Me series. There are now chapters from his point of view also allowing a better understanding of who he is and what he is feeling.
Last time I came across Adam in the Shatter Me series I wanted to punch him. And while I don’t really care for his character overall, it was nice to see him acting more like he was at the beginning of the series. I think Mafi does a good job of having complex characters such as Adam. He is not a villain and is generally a good guy but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t have flaws.
3. Conflicted Feelings
I appreciate that Mafi sheds light on one of the most overlooked dilemmas of abuse: a child loving their abusive parents. Both Adam and Warner grieve their father even though he was an asshole and they hated him and are confused by their feelings. In most cases, regardless of how awful parents are, we love them. It is ingrained, a biological and psychological bond that cannot be reasoned with. And of course, love and hate are not necessarily opposites but rather closer to each other than we are comfortable admitting.
“But the fire of true hatred, I realize, cannot exist without the oxygen of affection. I would not hurt so much, or hate so much, if I did not care.”p. 17
For a child who grew up devouring comics and begging the universe for Stan Lee to be my grandfather (I’m adopted), I really enjoy anything involving people with extraordinary powers. Doesn’t matter if the book explains it as a new race of humans, aka mutants, aliens, experiments or simply magic. I want powers damn it! And well since that is not going to happen anytime soon, I’m going to live vicariously through my book characters.
My fondness for Juliette stems from really connecting with her as a character. So many of her thoughts and/or diary entries could almost be literally taken from my own diary. Obviously I don’t have cool powers like she does, but I really relate to her self-esteem issues, constantly being mindful of what others think of her, and the self-hatred she struggles with.
“I want more than anything to just be confident and unapologetic about who I am and how I feel, and not have to try so hard all the time.”p. 159
6. Panic Attacks
For those who have never experienced a panic attack, I envy you, they are awful! It literally feels like you are dying and is not an experience I’d wish on anyone. Mafi describes them so well in “Restore Me” that I would not be surprised if she has suffered a panic attack in her life. They are almost indescribable unless you’ve experienced it firsthand.
“My heart is pounding in my ears. Blood is rushing to my head too quickly and it’s making me hot and dizzy. I’m strangled into speechlessness, numb in my bones. I feel nothing but an immense, impossible pressure breaking apart my body… I try to calm myself, calm my breathing. I try to be rational.
This is not a heart attack, I tell myself. Not a heart attack.
I know better.
I’m having a panic attack.
This has happened to me just once before, and then the pain had materialized as if out of a nightmare, out of nowhere, with no warning. I’d woken up in the middle of the night seized by a violent terror I could not articulate, convinced beyond a shadow of a doubt that I was dying.”p. 275-276
7. Defy Me
Juliette’s twisted story continues in Book 5 of the Shatter Me series, “Defy Me”.