Category Archives: The Hunger Games

Robin’s Reviews

Shatter Me Series, Book 1

shatter-me-new-eye-co1a459Having told JSI readers last week that I was reading the Shatter Me series by author Tahereh Mafi, I felt compelled to review the books for you. I may even make reviewing a regular part of my blogging. With that in mind, my reviews will reflect the way I like to be reviewed myself, knowing what the reviewer liked and what she could have done without. In addition, I will avoid reviewing books in the JAFF genre unless I can comfortably give the author 5 stars.

I don’t know exactly what I was expecting when I began reading the series, but this wasn’t it. Consequently, my first thoughts of Shatter Me, Book 1, were rather negative. The writing is sometimes difficult to read, because it’s nearly all stream of consciousness from the heroine’s point of view, and she’s a mess. But she’s a really hot mess, according to every man who looks at her. She wouldn’t know since she hasn’t looked in a mirror in three years.

Our protagonists, Juliette and Adam, are not normal. I expected that, knowing that the books were Dystopian Young Adult.

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Tris, Peeta, and Gail (The Hunger Games)  are the most pedestrian of all the DYA heroes I’ve read. Their abnormalities lie in their strength of character, physical abilities, and compassion. In short, they are very believable. I read the books around four times.

Edward and Bella are both supernatural. Edward is a vampire. (I hope I didn’t spoil The Twilight Saga for you. Is there anyone on the planet who hasn’t heard that Edward is a vampire?) He can read minds. Bella is a shield. I read the series at least ten times. (The books are YA, but not Dystopian.)

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Divergent features Tris, who is divergent – a mixture of all the factions, and Four, who appears to be the same, but really isn’t. I never quite grasped why, for he embodied all of them, but for the plot to work, Tris had to be the only true divergent one on the planet. Hence, poor Four, who has already suffered enough, loses his divergent status. I read the books three or four times. Are you sensing a trend? divergent-series

Shatter Me opens with Juliette in an asylum.  She has a supernatural gift (think Rogue in X Men), and she is traumatized beyond endurance. Adam (Bella in The Twilight Saga) is placed in the cell with her. She has had no human contact in more than three years. She can’t touch anyone without killing them, so she’s reverted to a nearly feral state. The books are all from her point of view. Once I understood her difficulties, I was more impressed with the author’s writing. It works for Juliette, though it grated on my English teacher’s nerves. Another thing I didn’t care for, Juliette whined constantly. I began to lose all sympathy for her.

Also, I need to say that there is a good bit of touching and sensuality in Shatter Me, though body parts aren’t named, and they are constantly interrupted before they can do very much physically. They never get past touching, much to Juliette’s frustration. Her inner dialog is quite loud about what she’s experiencing, but not specific. To me, that isn’t erotica, and it didn’t offend me, but it might offend you. I can understand how a person who could never touch anyone in her entire seventeen years without killing them could be carried away if she finally finds an unusually handsome, well-built, kind young man (eighteen years old) who can touch her and not die. Juliette is starving for physical contact.

All of the main good guy characters have supernatural gifts, and I could identify nearly all of them from X Men, The Fantastic Four, and The Avengers.

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The first book in the series, Shatter Me, deals with Juliette’s discovery of more ways to use her gift and revelations about the other supernatural characters. Mafi sets up the next two books, setting the stage for us to hate the antagonist, Warner (another aspect of Rogue in X Men), and The Reestablishment. Every good DYA features an evil government which must be battled. The Reestablishment serves quite nicely.

If you think I didn’t like Shatter Me, think again. I’m rereading the series. If I weren’t caught up in the story, I wouldn’t reread it. Now that I’m reading it with a better understanding of the characters, I’m enjoying it more.

Any book that gets a reread from me deserves 5 stars.

Come back next week for a review of Unravel Me, the second book in the series.

 

may the odds be ever in your favor …

!More Questions!

How uncomfortable were you reading about the Capitol’s obsession with the games and the Tributes? It read like a parody of the West’s obsession with reality shows and those participating in them. The irony of the lavish food, clothing, and interviews being as much a part of the show as training the Tributes to kill, the Avoxes,  and all the technology in place to keep them from jumping off buildings was interesting.

I also wondered if there were Hunger Games South America, Africa, or Asia like there is America’s Next Top Model, or American Idol.

How, she wondered, did Cinna came to be comparatively normal being a stylist in the Capitol.

Big, big, big, big day! in the words of Effie Trinket, the escort of the tributes of District 12. Effie knows the ropes, but we of JSI are going down uncharted territory as we’ve never done a group read. I’ll throw out some questions and I’m sure the others will chime in with clever insights and sharp wit.

CHARACTERS

Off the top of my head, looking at Katniss’s circumstances, which Austen heroine does she most resemble?

Same question about Gale and Peeta. No, you know I meant which hero(es) do they resemble. Sheesh, this is going to rough. 😉

CULTURE

Katniss called the place, “the artificial candy capitol.” And it seems to be, but the affected ways of the people seem to closely mirror our own Hollywood. And the affected speech of the prep team is a lot like the Devonshire Drawl, a slanguage of the Cavendish clan in Georgian England.

Everything new has a past.

CRAFT

I am enjoying the way that Suzanne Collins really knows how to realistically up the ante when it comes to her plot. Each step in the story raises the stakes for particularly Katniss and Peeta, but the other Tributes as well.

If you’re a writer, you know this isn’t always so easy.

So, take your pick and comment on all aspects of just one. We will be in and out all day commenting as well. Scroll down for other new posts.

Take care–Susan Kaye

We’ve decided

that Bunny Trails™ will be accepted in the group read. And that spoilers are inevitable. We have questions and prompts ready to go.

If you don’t care for either of these things, sorry. We won’t be able to accommodate you this week.

Join us Monday for the group read of The Hunger Games.