Series Review: Shatter Me (Books 4-6)

So, these are definitely the set of books that I prefer in the Shatter Me saga. Again, spoilers ahead for both the 1st and 2nd set of the Shatter Me books. But I will try not to give it all away!

In these books, Juliette and crew have overthrown the Reestablishment regime in Sector 45, with Warner by their side. They have killed Anderson and Juliette has declared herself Supreme Commander of North America. Things start getting really weird when the children of the other Supreme Commanders start arriving at Sector 45. Eventually we learn that they are there to spy on Juliette and the crew and report back to their parents. Restore Me is very slow to be honest. The only super critical event that happens is when Juliette gets kidnapped in the last, I don’t know ten pages?

Any way, it picks up after that as we learn that Juliette is not actually who we think she is and has a whole history with the children of the other Supreme Commanders, including Warner! A whole chain of events unfold from the kidnapping that ultimately leads the crew to the final battle for the world. Juliette finds out she has a sister who is essentially The Reestablishment’s secret weapon and they have been draining the life out of her to use her to their advantage.

These books are more fun than the first set for a few reasons.

  1. Juliette is no longer a scared and helpless little girl. She finally starts to face the demons inside her and take charge of them, even if she can’t drive them out fully. She really comes into herself and her powers and I enjoyed reading a version of her that is powerful and strong.
  2. Warner and Juliette are goals.
  3. Kenji and Warner’s relationship and banter was actually very entertaining
  4. Mafi starts to pull on our heartstrings a bit as we read about Juliette’s frankly traumatic upbringing and how far The Reestablishment would go for their own gain. The struggle between science and emotional ties is so stark in this story and it really starts to make you wonder, how far would I go?

A few critiques:

  1. Some Warner/Juliette plot lines were so forced, I just wanted to cut them out of the story. The whole situation with Warner’s ex-girlfriend? Come on, that was so middle school it made me roll my eyes.
  2. Anderson coming back to life like 12,983 times? It got so predictable by the time I was reading Imagine Me that it became a bit of a joke to me.
  3. Some decisions the crew made throughout these books were unforced errors to be honest and they just didn’t always match the picture that Mafi tried to draw of these characters sometimes.

Overall, I enjoyed the 2nd set in this saga. If they were stand alone, they would have been stronger than the 1st set. The ending of Imagine me brought me to tears, because I have a sister (you’ll understand when you read it). And the fact that Mafi brought us back full circle to the white bird with the gold crown atop its head and completely hit us over the head with a new metaphor, that is what I call good writing.

What did you all think? Let me know!

Any suggestions for what to read next? Any one want to start reading a book together? Let me know in the comments!

 

Series Review: Shatter Me (Books 1-3)

To start out, please note that I don’t think I am a good enough writer to be able to share this review with you all without spoilers. So, please beware! Spoilers ahead!

Where to start with the Shatter Me series? Well let me start by saying that the first three books and the last three books are two very different stories. Central characters are the same but the events and central story are very different. So, I will only be addressing the first three books in this review or it would just take too long to explain everything!

We meet Juliette Ferrars, in a world that is dying due to human pollution. There are no more birds, animals are scarce and the weather is unpredictable. Juliette is locked up in basically an insane asylum because she has killed a little boy, accidentally. Juliette suffers from a strange affliction that makes her touch lethal to all. She is, obviously, extremely scarred by not only accidentally killing a child and not being able to touch anyone, but as we find out also because of her abusive parents. Juliette is scared and alone and continues to dream of a white bird with a gold crown on its head which at first, symbolizes the freedom she longs for, or at least I thought so in the first three books.

Juliette suddenly gets a guest in her cell. Adam, who she recognizes eventually as a boy she used to go to school with, gets tossed in with her and she can’t understand why. Eventually, Juliette and Adam are released and Juliette finds out that Adam is actually a soldier in The Reestablishment. The Reestablishment is a regime that took over the planet in promises to undo the human damage that was done and return the world to how it used to be but surprise, surprise, they’re a bunch of lying assholes who just wanted to take over the world.

Juliette discovers that Adam’s commander, Warner (um yeah please remember him), sent him to do recon on Juliette in her cell only to release her and take her into his own custody to use her powers as a weapon for the reestablishment’s agenda. But, plot twist, Adam and Warner can touch her.

Throughout the three books, Juliette goes through a journey of discovering the power she holds within herself. She has kept people at bay for so long that she has to learn how to let them in so they can work together to overthrow The Reestablishment. She also has to learn to decouple herself from the scared little girl who shied away from everything and tried to make herself as small as possible for everyone else’s benefit.

I enjoyed these books for a few reasons:

  1. They are a really easy read and super fun to get through
  2. I love the way Mafi uses the language she writes with to reflect what is happening in Juliette’s mind (My sister and I are in disagreement on this point, she is not a fan)
  3. Warner. Duh, he is everything, even though he is just as messed up as Juliette (I am a sucker for a tortured and misunderstood soul)

Some critiques:

  1. It seems a bit too “middle school” at times. The dialogue between the characters is often not representative of the personalities Mafi draws up for us
  2. The plot builds to a bit of a disappointing climax. I mean, I guess it makes sense after the last three books come out, but I know these were a bit of an add on.

As a stand alone trilogy, these books are fun. However, I am personally more of a fan of the 2nd set.

What did you guys think? Which of the two sets was your favorite? Let me know in the comments!

 

Series Review: An Ember in The Ashes

A quick call out before I start: This series is not yet concluded as of the time I am writing this review. So, I am writing based on the first three books only. There are also some light spoilers in this review.

An Ember in The Ashes By Sabaa Tahir follows a young girl named Laia whose family and her people, the Scholars, have been torn apart at the hands of The Empire. The Empire is an oppressive regime that has taken over the land and enslaved or imprisoned almost all of the Scholars. Laia suddenly finds herself apart from her brother, the only family she has left, who was imprisoned by The Empire because of knowledge he possesses that can be critical to the rebellion against The Empire. In her quest to find and free her brother, Darin, Laia crosses paths with Elias.

Elias Veturius is finishing his final year at Blackliff Academy which breeds Masks. The Masks are the most terrifying and lethal soldiers in The Empire and will stop at nothing to carry out the orders they are given. But Elias is different. He does not embrace the side of him that Blackliff has created, he is gentle and kind and wishes to leave The Empire all together. But he is trapped in this world he was forced into.

When Laia and Elias meet, they are two very similar people, who are living two very different lives. Both Laia and Elias feel oppressed and stuck in a world they did not ask for. But Elias has power and Laia feels helpless. As the series goes on, they find they will play very important roles in each others’ journey to freedom from their oppressors.

The very interesting thing about this series is the world that Tahir creates. I listened to a podcast that she was hosted on and she spoke about her background, her family is from Pakistan. She spoke about how she modeled The Empire oppressors after the political strife she came to know within her culture. Laia struggles with this so much throughout the series, the notion of “Why is it always my people who suffer”. That struck me because, doesn’t everyone feel like that sometimes? Whether they are right or wrong or the severity of the oppression varies, we have all found ourselves in some kind of situation where we have asked “Why me” or “Why us”. I think that makes this story relatable to so many readers on so many different levels.

Aside from that, I personally do not enjoy Laia and Elias as characters. Elias is loyal to a fault and finds himself denying so much of what he wants and who he is because of who he thinks he has to be for everyone around him. It gets repetitive and sometimes irritating. In Book 3, I think he started to explore this more and I hope that in Ember #4 he will finally realize what he wants and what he needs to do to get it. Laia falls a bit flat to me but I believe this is written on purpose. Her character development occurs to an extent throughout the books but I think she is still lost in her world trying to figure out what the role she plays really is. And aren’t we all doing the same on some level?

My FAVORITE character is Helene Aquilla. Oh, Helene. Her character development is downright amazing to follow, in my humble opinion. Helene is Elias’s best friend and she has to face so many horrifying things because she is trying to protect Elias from himself. I can’t say much about what she goes through without giving the central plot away but I can say that she is an amazing pillar of strength. And her love for Elias makes her so accessible, especially when it is not reciprocated in the way she desires. Her loyalty digs her into some deep pits that she has to climb out of. But, I am most excited to read about what becomes of her in Ember #4.

Overall, Tahir creates an awesome story that is extremely difficult to put down. There are currently teasers going around about the cover art of Ember #4 and I am already so excited to read it. This is a must read to jump into a world of political strife, love, pain, jealousy and almost everything else in between. You are guaranteed to find a favorite character within this crew.

Let me know what you all thought about this series and how much are anticipating Ember #4!

Series Review: Throne of Glass

Throne_of_Glass_series

I want to start by saying that I know that this series is a huge commitment, especially because the final book, Kingdom of Ash, looks more like an encyclopedia than an enjoyable read but just stay with me here and watch me try to explain how I feel about this series without trying to spoil it all for you if you haven’t read it.

I was originally introduced to Sarah J. Maas’s work via the A Court of Thorns and Roses Series, and I’m not going to give too much away here because I will do a separate review on that series, but let’s just say I was legitimately having withdrawals when I finished that series. Anyway, so naturally I went searching for something else to read that made me feel the same way I felt when living through Feyre’s adventures.

Through my research, the Throne of Glass series came up and it turned out I had already read the first book way back when there was ONLY a first book. When I realized the commitment I was signing up for, I shied away and honestly thought “I really don’t have time for this right now”. But a friend of mine was raving about the series so I decided to give it ago and said goodbye to the next few months of free time (I am a serial reader, if you have not caught on yet).

The book Throne of Glass follows a young assassin named Celaena Sardothian who is in a heavily guarded basically death prison. The book starts with an arrogant prince (Dorian) and his puppy dog Captain of the guard (Chaol) who show up to the death prison (Endovier) to release Celaena only so she can be Dorian’s champion in his dad’s competition. The winner of this competition basically becomes the king’s assassin on retainer for the next few years (4 years I think it is). We follow the tale of Celaena through this book as she uncovers some really strange stuff that is going down in the castle as the competition takes place and she figures out her role in all of it.

Long story short, after the first book we are following Celaena basically try to solve a mystery to explain why all this weird stuff is going down and why it keeps happening near her (I want to elaborate but there are no spoilers in this review!).

This series is full of plot twists that actually had me just staring at the last page of some of these books going “I am SO glad I don’t have to wait for the next book to be released”. Most of the time, I bought the book following the one I was reading well before I was done because who even knew where I would be and if I would have access to a bookstore the second I finished the book I was reading. I traveled to Greece with the Queen of Shadows book unread and I finished it just as we got to the airport to get back to the US (thanks to the ferry rides between islands! Greece was amazing, and I think everyone should visit). I was heartbroken because I had to wait 14 hours until I picked up the next book, poor planning on my part. But the story is captivating to say the least. Celaena was such an interesting character and her development throughout the series stays true to who she is and what we love about her in the first book but allows for her growth at the same time. And I love me an arrogant female heroine!

Some critiques:

  • The 6th book in the series Tower of Dawn felt a bit like Sarah’s editors just wanted to extend the series to make more money. I think the story could have been told simultaneously as the other events of book 5 were taking place. I liked the story and what was happening and some parts were vital to the plot but I would say about 75% of that book was fluff.
  • These characters were awesome and I really enjoyed their different personalities but they were heavily resembling the A Court of Thorns and Roses crew with some minor tweaks. Sarah loves her goofballs

All in all I highly recommend this series. It’s so worth the time. I could be a bit biased because of how much I loved the A Court of Thorns and Roses but I can see myself at some point starting up this series again.

What did you guys think?! Let me know in the comments I am dying to discuss this series with anyone!