Disclaimer: If you loved Shatter Me, perhaps don't read this review. I didn't.
First Impressions: Unnecessarily flowery and convoluted prose was not only annoying but made finishing this book impossible for me. It is extraordinarily rare for me to fail to finish a book I've bought, but I really couldn't bring myself to in this case. The main character was completely over-the-top and unrealistic I couldn't relate to her at all. I simply felt no connection to the rest of the characters, except perhaps Warner and that was only because he appeared to have more than one dimension. There was a distinct lack of any likability in other characters, probably carried by the lack of humor and inadequacy of setting. I would call it a light read, except I couldn't stomach it enough to actually finish reading it.
Things I Liked:
1. Sexual energy between main characters: Mafi obviously has some skill in constructing the scenes of intimacy here. In some ways this book read like a watered-down erotica. Perhaps if it was erotica it would have been more palatable, as the overly descriptive prose probably would have been a positive and not a negative.
Things I Didn't Like:
1. The prose. I HATED the writing style here. Although I appreciate a writer who can take risks with their style, this was so over the top it appeared as if Mafi was just trying to be different. The strikethroughs, although annoying, were just the very tip of the iceberg. The convoluted and unnecessarily prevalent metaphor was what really got to me. If she had used these metaphors more sporadically throughout the prose it could have actually been a positive and not a negative. But within one paragraph, the amount of metaphor used to describe very simple feelings or actions made me want to vomit. It was flowery, it was highly unnecessary and it made it so sickly sweet and over the top. It was the main reason I got to the last few chapters and just couldn't bring myself to finish it.
2. Juliette. I just couldn't bring myself to care about this whining, unrealistic female protagonist. She was completely dependent on the male characters around her to direct her or save her, and had absolutely no backbone. Reduced to a crying mess around Adam and an outwardly angry however spineless individual around Warner, she really only had one dimension and it was downright annoying. Additionally, she was written as a classic Mary-Sue in every way. I'm sorry, but what kind of tortured soul gets let out of basic enslavement for three years without sunlight, adequate physical exercise or hygiene, yet appears as a supermodel with literally every main male character able to comment on how beautiful and perfect she is?! I've seen better fanfiction written by a 13 year old hardcore fan of Draco Malfoy who tries to inject themselves into Harry Potter by creating a OC which represents the perfect version of themselves!
3. Character. Everyone was the classic good vs. evil. Very little time was bothered exploring the backgrounds of the characters aside from perhaps Warner, which was just alluded to briefly. For me, Warner was the only slightly interesting character, and I think that it was for this reason.
4. Laziness Convenience of plot. So there just happened to be a car full of groceries waiting to whisk Adam and Juliette away from the bad guys right when they needed it? So Adam and Juliette just happen to be immune from the radiation that would otherwise kill everyone in sight? So Adam and Warner just HAPPEN TO BE THE ONLY PEOPLE IN THE WORLD TO BE ABLE TO TOUCH JULIETTE?! I don't think I need to say much more. It was unrealistic and downright stupid to read. If a writer can't even be bothered to create a realistic and imaginative escape route for their protagonist/s then why would I spend my time reading the content?
5. The dialogue. Did anyone else notice how often Adam just said "Juliette..." ?!?!?! Like he's some kind of smitten lover who can't possibly formulate words to describe how perfect Juliette is? It didn't create urgency or emotion, it just looked stupid. The rest of the dialogue was stunted, awkward and convoluted.
I guess you can tell that I didn't like Shatter Me. If you can get past the awful writing, terribly cliche and Mary-Sue protagonist and lacklustre plot, maybe you'll like this book.