By Tahereh Mafi
February 5, 2013
Ages 14 and up
Reviewed: ARC from Publisher
OK, so SHATTER ME by Teherah Mafi was good, sure – but UNRAVEL ME was even BETTER! Seriously. I’ll admit, it took a bit for me to get into the highly unusual (but insanely creative!) writing style of SHATTER ME when the book came out last year. But gradually, as Juliette grew out of her shell, so too did I get use to her journal-style thoughts. Then, after falling in love with Warner in the short novella, DESTROY ME, I was more than ready to read UNRAVEL ME. (I know, Warner. Of all characters to adore like, I chose him…)
There are two pressing issues that our characters are faced with in UNRAVEL ME:
Pressing Issue Numero Uno is the relationship between Juliette and Adam and their ability to stay together as they had been throughout SHATTER ME. You know, since Adam is one of the only people who can -for whatever reason- touch Juliette without dropping dead… Why he can touch her is answered early-on in the book. YES! There are ANSWERS to some of the questions raised in book one! (But then again there are also even more new questions that come up in their place…)
Pressing Issue Numero Dos is the matter of the Reestablishment, Omega Point and Juliette’s place in the whole mess. We join Juliette as she trains herself to rein in and control her power, plus learn the full extent of what she can do. Ah, Juliette… Mostly gone is the timid social outcast from the first book. Note, I sad: MOSTLY – she does struggle to acclimate herself to being around other people, and she even loses her temper once or twice to near-catastrophic outcomes (lots of angst and excitement to be had here, folks!)
Both of the issues mentioned above are handled in such a manner that one issue (Numero Uno) is front and center during the first half of the book and one issue (Numero Dos) is front and center during the second half. I found the second half of the book to be the better half.
Juliette gets to kick some serious Reeastablishment butt in this book people! She changes drastically over the course of the book. At first I thought she was still a bit weak and too dependent on her relationship with Adam. But all that drama is resolved early on, leaving room for some social independence and some awesome butt-kicking action. Adam is great, guys, a true swoonster I’ll agree, but it is Juliette’s interactions with Kenji, the leaders of the Reestablishment and especially Warner that get this girl going.
My emotional connection with the book kicked in when Adam became a background presence. Adam and his relationship with Juliette just weighed the overall mood of the book down to the bottom of the deepest, darkest abyss on Earth. Kenji, Warner and the X-Men-esque action soared the story up to the stars and beyond.
The book stands solidly on its own as a pivotal installment to the series. No middle book syndrome here, guys! Too much happens to move the story forward to accuse the book of that. (And, oh, the revelations! So many revelations!) Of course, it ends, not necessarily with a “cliffhanger”, but with a carefully planned setup to what promises to be an action-packed finale.
I am proud and honored to be the Official Blogger for UNRAVEL ME in the Dark Days of Winter 2013.
I look forward to what Tahereh has in store for us in 2014 and beyond!