Book Review: Unravel Me by Tahereh Mafi

Posted February 9, 2013 by Debby in Book Reviews

Book Review: Unravel Me by Tahereh MafiUnravel Me by Tahereh Mafi
Series: Shatter Me #2
Published by Harper on February 5th, 2013
Genres: Dystopian, Science Fiction, Supernatural, Young Adult
Pages: 480
Format: Hardcover
Source: Purchased

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.

4 Stars

I first read Shatter Me about a year ago. One of the first books I read after I got back into reading. I loved it so, so much. But it was before my reviewing time, so I never posted about my love for it. This review thus also works as my endorsement for that book. I digress, Unravel Me doesn’t disappoint. I was hesitant about it at first, but there’s no middle book syndrome, and it’s just as engaging as the first one.

I’m a huge dystopia fan. However, one of the biggest reasons why I usually love dystopias doesn’t apply here. That would be awesome worldbuilding. That’s not the appeal of this series. I love this series so much because of its unique prose and characterizations.

I would call Unravel Me the character growth installment of the series. It’s amazing. I mean, I’m all for the strong female characters usually but Juliette is not that. But in Shatter Me we came across such a unique character – I got sucked in and literally experience the book through her eyes and thoughts, more so than any other novel I’ve ever read. For some reason, the vulnerability of a character trying to convince herself she isn’t crazy hit close to home. (Proceed to make assumptions about me as you wish.) It was just so believable and portrayed so beautifullly.

In Unravel Me, the first third of the book is slow. Juliette still has her fair share of angst. But then, she starts to grow. The catalyst for change? Not one of her love interests, oh no. Kenji, the hilarious secondary character, hands her a huge reality check. You have no idea how much that pleased me. After that, you see her grow. Not just through her actions – but through her thoughts!

This series gets a lot of critique for its writing style: super verbose, exaggerated metaphor use, run-on sentences, strike throughs, etc. I loved that unique quality. I instantly just knew what Tahereh was trying to defy conventions and just write like a crazy person to portray a crazy person. It’s not specifically her style – it’s more the characterization. But in this installment of character growth, you see that Juliette changes through the writing style. Throughout the novel the prose becomes less verbose, less metaphors are used, less run-on sentences are used, less strike throughs — because Juliette is exposed to society, getting to know people, and thus finding a sense of sanity she didn’t have before. Seriously, all the props, Tahereh! It was so skillful and beautifully done.

So this is yet another series with a love triangle – I know, say it isn’t so. But it’s one of those rare instances where I like it. Eek. In Shatter Me I was firmly in favor of Adam. In fact, I didn’t get other people’s obsession with Warner at all. I read Destroy Me, the bonus novella from Warner’s point of view, but didn’t like it. I still didn’t like Warner. He just seemed a creepy stalker emo dude. And here… Oh geez. It’s another love triangle that has me sitting on the fence! Ahhh. I can’t believe this. I’m such a pushover, apparently! While Destroy Me didn’t get me to see Warner in a different light, Unravel Me definitely did. I mean, and then there’s the infamous Chapter 62. My god guys. You might want to read this book just for that. I don’t know if I’ve ever read a hotter scene in YA. Be still my heart.

So… Team Adam? Team Warner? I dunno guys. To be honest, Tahereh’s writing is so amazing and so convincing, that no matter which way she decides to go in the series conclusion, I’ll probably like it. For now, I’m saying TEAM KENJI – because he’s seriously the best character in the series.

So in terms of characterizations, growth, prose, and romance, I love this series. Plot is decent. World building is my only hesitance. And I said that that’s not the focus for this series, but ultimately it is the reason this is a four orange read and not a five orange one. Because if I’m reading a dystopia I do want to know the fine details of the political situation: how that government came to be, WHY they take over – what their purpose really is (aside from apparently killing people for the fun of it), and other such questions. Maybe that’ll still come. But for now, that is one point that could be improved.

Summing Up:

This is a massively engaging read. Compulsively readable. My high hopes for this series have not been let down yet.

Recommended To:

Fans of (hot) romance and intense characterizations.

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2 responses to “Book Review: Unravel Me by Tahereh Mafi

  1. Now that I wrote my own review, I can finally read yours haha. I agree that I love this series because of the dystopian elements, but SO MUCH MORE because of the prose and characters. It’s unique in that way. The character growth was incredible and happening before I even realized that it was happening (does that make sense?). I love how Juliette became stronger and stronger without realizing it herself.

    Also, I quite liked Warner. (YES. I SAID IT.) BUT I am still Team Adam all the way. Warner is broken and I understand him so much better and yes, Chapter 62 was HOT. But I’m not on his side. In fact, I agree on Kenji. He’s my favorite character now.

    And YES! I also wrote about how the plot and the world building were okay, but nothing special. If it weren’t for the BEAUTIFUL prose and the incredible characters, this book would have been just average, I think.

    • YES I’m so glad you finally read it. This review was so lonely without any comments… Sadface.

      I totally get what you mean about Juliette’s growth. Though I was so close to giving up on her until Kenji gave her that reality check. Then I just knew that this was going to be good. I hope that in the third one she’ll be even stronger. I might prefer reading about a female main character this way. I always claim to like strong female characters, but here you really see where that strength comes from, so it’s much more meaningful.

      I’m so glad you like Warner!! I agree I don’t know if I want him to be with Juliette but… wow, more development on him and I’m there! Chapter 62 was amazing. And YES KENJI ♥♥

      Indeed, I think the unique writing and characterizations save this book. Otherwise it would be nothing special. But the series has stolen my heart. I want the last one. NOW. GIVE IT TO ME.