Book Review : Defy Me (Shatter Me #5) By Tahereh Mafi
The gripping fifth installment in the New York Times, USA Today, and Publishers Weekly bestselling Shatter Me series. Will Juliette’s broken heart make her vulnerable to the strengthening darkness within her?
Juliette’s short tenure as the supreme commander of North America has been an utter disaster. When the children of the other world leaders show up on her doorstep, she wants nothing more than to turn to Warner for support and guidance. But he shatters her heart when he reveals that he’s been keeping secrets about her family and her identity from her—secrets that change everything.
Juliette is devastated, and the darkness that’s always dwelled within her threatens to consume her. An explosive encounter with unexpected visitors might be enough to push her over the edge.
A Sneak Peek Into the Story :
Juliette was screaming.
She’s just screaming words, Kenji thought. They’re just words but she’s screaming it at the top of her lungs, with pain and agony that Kenji couldn’t understand, and it’s causing devastation that he never knew possible. It’s like she just –– imploded.
It didn’t seem real.
It was obvious that Juliette was strong, Kenji knew that. He also knew that they hadn’t discovered the depths of her powers –– but he didn’t image that she’d be capable of this.
Of the ceiling splitting open. Seismic currents thundering up the walls, across the floors, chattering his teeth. And the people, the 600 people that was in the room was frozen as the ground rumbled and shook under their feet. The chandeliers swung too fast, the lights too were flickering ominously. And then, before anyone could blink, three of the massive chandeliers rip free from the ceiling and shatter as they hit the floor.
Crystal flew everywhere. The room loses half its light, bathing the cavernous space in a freaking glow, and it’s suddenly a struggle to see what was happening. Kenji dared a look at his best friend, and he saw Juliette staring, slack-jawed, and frozen at the sight of the devastation.
As soon as it stopped, the shudders began again. This time rippling with renewed fervor across the floorboards, ripping through walls and seats and people.
He didn’t actually believe it until he saw blood. For a split second, it seems fake, as if some was playing a lame joke. It seemed staged –– like a joke gone bad, like a bad theater production –– with all these limp bodies in the seats with their chests butterflied open. But when he saw blood, thick and heavy, seeping through clothes and upholstery, dripping down frozen hands, Kenji knew that they would never recover from this.
Juliette just murdered six hundred people at once.
There’s no recovering from this.
As soon as thing calmed down, Kenji quickly shoved his way through the quiet, stunned, still-breathing bodies of his friends. Juliette was his main priority right now.
When he reached her, he immediately pulled her into his arms, her body cold and unresponsive against his. She was so terrified –– so surprised –– by what she had done that she could barely spoke. She looked like she had disappeared into herself somewhere, as if she had found a small room in her brain and locked herself inside.
“Princess, please,” he said, shaking her a little. “We have to go—now—”
And when she still didn’t move, Kenji figured he had no choice but to move her himself. He started hauling her backward. Her limp body was heavier than he expected, and she made a small, wheezing sound that’s almost like a sob. Fear sparked in his nerves and he gripped her closer to his chest.
“And it’s not insane to imagine that sometimes even horrible people are searching for a way out of their own darkness.”
And what happened next knocked the wind out of his lungs.
The room tilted. His vision blackened, cleared, and then darkened only at the edges in a dizzying moment that lasted hardly a second. Kenji felt off-center. He stumbled.
And then, all at once—
Juliette had disappeared.
3 Words to Sum Up This Book :
Repetitive, Purposeless, Weak
If you are looking for a review about praises on Defy Me, I’m sorry to inform you, this review won’t be it sis. Also, I might come off a little harsher than usual (but if you follow me on Goodreads then this is nothing new for you) because I’m actually kind of disappointed at Tahereh and what this series has become.
But we’ll get more into that later. Without further ado, let’s get reviewing.
Okay, let me just get this out right off the bat : the plot in this book is utter shit.
There, I’ve said it. That statement is now out there, floating in the World Wide Web for all to see.
Restore Me, book 4 of the Shatter Me series, was a let down for me. Now, don’t get me wrong, a lot of people loved it. But as per my normal hard-to-please-ass standards, I finished Restore Me completely unsatisfied because I felt it lacking in character and plot development. But whatever. People have their lows and highs, same goes to authors.
I decided to give Tahereh the benefit of the doubt, and plunge into Defy Me with somewhat of a tad bit less enthusiasm compared to Restore Me. And I think, that might be one of the better decisions that I’ve ever made. Because had I gone into Defy Me expecting fights, and rebellion and action, I might have burn this book to ashes by now with my disappointment alone.
“What’s her name?” the boy asks. He’s still staring at me, and this time, I stare back. There’s something in his eyes, something that makes me feel safe.
“This is Juliette,” Mr. Anderson says, and looks me over. “Tragic”—he sighs—“just like her namesake.”
Simply put, there is nothing going on plot-wise. There was so much flashbacks that could have been explained in a page –– a chapter if you really want to stretch it. But no, Tahereh decided to fill a good 75% of the book with it. I would have been okay with it if those flashbacks give the readers some new insights every time we read it. But you already know it didn’t.
It kept going on and on and on and fucking on about Warner and Juliette’s childhood. Sure, at one scene they were drinking orange juice, at another scene they were watching birds fly, but at the end, the readers already understood the important point since page 4. Warner and Juliette used to be childhood buddies, and then? And then, what?
It was the after “And then” that I was curious about. But it was what Tahereh opted out to explain. Instead she just went on and on about their childhood stories like some broken radio.
I mean, I guess it’s her book? So she can write whatever cheap crap she wants in it?
POINT OF VIEW
This book was marketed as the book that will be written from Kenji’s –– Juliette’s bestie –– point of view. Your girl initially wasn’t exactly excited about this idea, since I’m a die hard Warner fan. But whatever, I still love Kenji, so I don’t mind it too much.
But after reading Defy Me, I actually wished that Tahereh had never went down this route to begin with.
“I turn, stare at the wall. I can’t be distracted by her anymore. She knows I’m into her—my infatuation is apparently obvious to everyone within a ten-mile radius, according to Castle—and she’s clearly been using my idiocy to her best advantage. Smart. I respect the tactic.”
Because now –– instead of the strong, smart and independent Kenji that I have always portrayed in my head –– whenever I think of Kenji, he has now morphed into an insecure, relationship-crazed teenager.
Not to say that it’s bad or anything, I mean, you do you. But seriously, it fell so far from what I’ve imagined Kenji would be in my head that it was kind of staggering to see him turning into such a shallow character.
Warner changed, the same goes to Juliette.
Reading Defy Me felt like I was going back in time. It’s like, instead of the plot progressing, I’m reading a plot that is regressing.
Care to know what our lovely “strong” main character Juliette did for the best part of this book?
And would you like to know what our cunning, devilishly cold yet caring Warner did for a good part of this book?
Pine for Juliette.
I mean dude, come-the-fuck-on.
We are already at book 4, why the fucking hell are we going back to book 1 Juliette and what happened to the cold and calculating Warner that we all love and root for?
“I feel everything when you touch me, love. I can feel your excitement. Your nervousness. Your pleasure. And I love it,” he says quietly. “I love the way you respond to me. I love the way you want me. I feel it, when you lose yourself, the way you trust me when we’re together. And I feel your love for me,” he whispers. “I feel it in my bones.”
There was no development in their characters at all. One was always the victim and always either crying or passing out –– and I get it, her life sucks and everyone wants to kill her –– but I mean, can we get some development down here please? Instead of seesawing back and forth with her crying and being depressed? And the other just slowly but steadily turning into this spineless love-sick puppy that couldn’t get anything done without his girlfriend.
“There’s a palpable heat between our bodies, and her eyes are big and beautiful, blue green.
Like the globe. Like the whole world.”
Tahereh, what is going on, girl? Are we going to keep regressing until we go back to the Stone Age?
Despite all that complaint that I just did, one of the thing that I really enjoy about Tahereh is her writing. Yes, it could be flowery and a tad bit over-exaggerated sometimes, but there is just something about her writing that made me want to read more and more and never want to stop reading. Regardless how bad the plot was.
The Verdict :
The Shatter Me series used to be one of my all time favorites when it comes to Young Adult genre. But after reading Restore Me and now, Defy Me, I’m sad to say that that is not the case anymore.
After reading Restore Me and Defy Me, it’s starting to feel like Tahereh is now just trying to continue down the series for money and that she is in fact already running out of ides for the series.
But hey, at the end of the day, that’s just my two cents. Despite me not liking it, and unable to finish this book, a lot of people seems to be liking the new installment to the Shatter Me series. So it could be that I have grown out of the series, and maybe it’s time to move on.