Friday, December 12, 2014

Unravel Me - Review

Unravel Me (Shatter Me, # 2)

By: Tahereh Mafi

Published: February 5th 2013 by HarperCollins

461 pages

Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction, Dystopian, Post-Apocalyptic, Fantasy, Paranormal

Source: Personal Kindle Library

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Goodreads description--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.

**There will be spoilers for Shatter Me and Destroy Me.**

I said this in my review of Destroy Me but I feel like I need to say it again. When I read Shatter Me the only thing I really knew beforehand was that people loved it and that there were Team Adam fans and Team Warner fans. While reading Shatter Me it was hard to imagine that there could possibly be Team Warner fans because of how strongly Juliette feels about Adam and how negatively she feels about Warner. Just the simple fact that Warner could touch Juliette, like Adam, was the start to the whys behind all of that. But it was just difficult for me to imagine how the events could possibly play out that would even bring about a Team Warner. After reading Shatter Me, I polled my fellow readers to see if I should “bother” with the in between novellas Destroy Me and Fracture Me and with the exception of one no, everyone said yes, and I decided to follow their advice. Because Destroy Me is told from Warner’s POV, I think this is where a lot of the sympathies and Team Warner fans began to develop. When you can see inside someone else’s head, you understand them more and I find that I’m more sympathetic with them. But there’s a play on perspective because Warner guards himself so closely that I just had to wonder how Juliette would ever see the things that Warner feels. And so that’s essentially where I was starting Unravel Me.

Even though I really enjoyed Destroy Me, I was struck anew with how beautiful Tahereh Mafi’s writing style is in Unravel Me. Destroy Me was well written, but Unravel Me was on an entirely different level. Part of this is due to Juliette’s narration over Warner’s. And I actually love that there’s such a drastic difference between the way that she writes from each character. It just fits each one uniquely and perfectly. But the problem with Unravel Me being so much better was that I was highlighting in my kindle for DAYS and DAYS! And I’ll probably end up sharing WAY too many quotes in this review. You’ve been warner. Feel free to skip them, but I just love her writing so much. That being said, Kenji pointed out to Juliette that she was entirely too self-involved considering all the events going on around them, and he was so right. After that, it was almost like no matter how well worded Tahereh Mafi’s sentences were, I could only focus on how whiny Juliette was being.

I’ve got some beef with Unravel Me that only begins with Juliette’s complaining. I’m a little nervous about discussing my issues because some of them are spoilers. One thing I know I can say (that’s not a spoiler) is that even though I read Destroy Me and was able to see inside Warner’s head for a bit, I still found him hard to read and interpret through Juliette’s eyes. His motives and decisions didn’t always seem to add up with the information present or with the information presented in Destroy Me. So I can definitely see how anyone who might decide to skip the in between novellas will not be sympathetic to him at all. I was only beginning to be, and I was almost rooting for him (who doesn’t want to root for the guy who you can see is capable of more?). I did enjoy seeing the things that Juliette zeroes in on that they have in common, especially when they were things that Warner hadn’t pointed out in Destroy Me.

Another issue I had was in the conflict that arises between Juliette and Adam. I’m not going to go into any detail on what that conflict was, but I just had a hard time with it. I’m never really a fan of “leaving for the good of the other party”…I mean honestly, I think that happens in real life. There are times when you need to make a tough decision in relationships for the sake of the other party, but in books it just never seems to actually be used in the right way in my opinion. The characters tend to hover around each other which just leads to continually hurting each other. With Adam and Juliette…well I just struggled with that conflict.

***Spoiler*** Highlight to show spoiler: I found myself completely confused with the Adam, Juliette, Warner love triangle. Here’s why. We start off Unravel Me, and Juliette and Adam are “so in love” and Warner is public enemy number one. When Adam and Juliette are physical it’s like the world has stopped and it’s just the two of them. Yada, yada, yada. But then said conflict I discussed above comes into play and they have to put some distance between themselves. We know from Destroy Me that Warner truly does love Juliette for who she is. So when events take place that lead to Warner and Juliette having a few physical moments, Juliette does the same thing. It’s like she completely forgets about Adam. Warner is the only thing she can think and feel about in that moment. I hate when characters claim to be so in love with one person, but then there’s a connection they share with a third character and in describing the encounters with the third character the main character uses descriptive terms such as “best ever,” “never felt this way,” or other terms that render them incapable in the moment to think about the character they supposedly love. I don’t like it, but I can accept when this happens when the main character has emotional feelings for guy A but perhaps has a supernatural connection with guy B. I still tend to struggle with those scenarios, but as far as I know at this moment in time, there is no supernatural connection between Juliette and Warner that would explain why being with him in any kind of physical connection would severe or overcome her emotional connection to Adam. Unless her emotional connection to Adam isn’t as strong as she originally believed. But evidence doesn’t support this theory either. Ultimately, I know who I’m rooting for and why, but I have no clear vision of how Juliette actually feels and how she can bounce back and forth between the guys so completely like she does. *** End spoiler.

Favorite non-spoiler quotes:

-The world might be sunny-side up today. The big ball of yellow might be spilling into the clouds, runny and yolky and blurring into the bluest sky, bright with cold hope and false promises about fond memories, real families, hearty breakfasts, stacks of pancakes drizzled in maple syrup sitting on a plate in a world that doesn’t exists anymore. Or maybe not.

-But time is beyond our finite comprehension. It’s endless, it exists outside of us; we cannot run out of it or lose track of it or find a way to hold onto it. Time goes on even when we do not.

-It’s like my skin and bones have been craving contact, warm affection, human interaction for so many years that I don’t know how to pace myself. I’m a starving child trying to stuff my stomach, gorging my sense on the decadence of these moments as if I’ll wake up in the morning and realize I’m still sweeping cinders for my stepmother.

-He’s kissing me like he’s lost me and he’s found me and I’m slipping away and he’s never going to let me go.

-“Do you have any idea how awkward it is to wave at someone and have them ignore you? And then you’re just looking around like a [jerk], trying to be all, ‘No, really, I swear, I know that girl’ and no one believes y—“

-I gasp
d i s  a   p    p    e     a     r     s

-How many times, I hear a voice whisper in my head, how many times will you apologize for who you are?

-“We have a million things to take care of down here, and less than none of them involve your love life.”

-I know that he is a tortured soul who, like me, never grew up with the warmth of friendship or love or peaceful coexistence. I know that his father is the leader of The Reestablishment and applauds his son’s murders instead of condemning them and I know that Warner has no idea what it’s like to be normal.
Neither do I.
He’s spent his life fighting to fulfill his father’s expectations of global domination without questioning why, without considering the reprecussions, without stopping long enough to weigh the worth of a human life.

-I forget sometimes, that there are people out there who still manage to smile every day, despite everything.

-I’m so confused, because I don’t even know who he is anymore. He’s 100 different people.

-“Finding this,” he says, his voice soft as he pats the cover of my notebook, “was so”—his eyebrows pull together—“it was so extraordinarily painful.” He finally looks at me and he looks like a completely different person. Like he’s trying to solve a tremendously difficult equation. “It was like meeting a friend for the very first time.”

-I’m checking my pockets for spare words and sentence but I’m finding none, not an adverb, not a preposition or even a dangling participle because there doesn’t exist a single response to such an outlandish request.

-Because what if one day I slip? What if one day I fall through the cracks and no one is willing to pull me back? What happens to me then?

-I want to study the secrets tucked between his elbows and the whispers caught behind his knees.

-”On the darkest days you have to search for a spot of brightness, on the coldest days you have to seek out a spot of warmth; on the bleakest days you have to keep your eyes onward and upward and on the saddest days you have to leave them open to let them cry. To then let them dry. To give them a chance to wash out the pain in order to see fresh and clear once again.” ….This blond boy has my secrets in his mouth. …”So much of it was like seeing myself on paper,” … “Like reading all the things I never knew how to say.”

-I’m only just beginning to realize how quickly I came to rely on the healing properties of an excellent hug.

-“I want you,” he says. He says “I want all of you. I want you inside and out and catching your breath and aching for me like I ache for you.”

-It’s a wanting so desperate, a need so exquisite that it rivals everything, every happy moment I ever thought I knew.

You guys, I could keep quoting and quoting. And believe it or not, I cut out the quotes where I highlighted entire pages at a time. I just can’t help it. This book is packed with so many beautiful words.

I didn’t spend much time talking about the secondary characters, because there aren’t too terribly many of them. But Kenji is an absolute favorite. He’s the one that puts Juliette in her place when she needs it the most, but he also brings the comedic relief as well.

Unravel Me wasn’t as good as Shatter Me even if it was headed in more of a direction that I want to go because of the confusion I had with the triangle. I still love Tahereh Mafi’s writing. Some twists were unexpected, and others were merely annoying. But either way, I’ve GOT to know what happens next. Unravel Me gets 4 Stars from me. Have you read Unravel Me? What did you think? Let me know!

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