December 26, 2013

Review: Unravel Me

Unravel Me
by Tahereh Mafi

Release Date: February 5, 2013
Publisher: HarperCollins
Age Group: Young Adult
Rating: 1 2 3 4 5

Series: Book 2 in the Shatter Me series

it's almost
time for war.

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.

My Review:

Cover: I really like the cover redesign for this series. The old cover with Juliette in a dress didn't suit the series at all. I admit it's difficult to guess what the new covers symbolize. The only thing I can pick out is the bird reflected in the iris is a reference to Adam's tattoo and how a bird symbolizes wings of freedom and all that. The frosted eyes I guess are supposed to represent Juliette's current state. The covers might seem a bit unapproachable, but I find them unique and different, and I'm definitely in love with them. They represent Juliette the best. Also, if you look on the author's tumblr, this really seems like her kind of thing (plus she seems to have a thing for eyes).

Writing: (5/5) This is probably one of the few books I fell in love with purely because of the beautiful writing. Now this is how you write first person. This is Juliette's voice and no one else's. First person is a very personal narrative (as it should be) because we're seeing this from the main character's eyes. I've never felt this more than I had with this book. The writing, I don't know how to describe it. A lot of thought was put into each sentence. It doesn't just sound good though, it has a lot of depth too. Some people think the book is inspired by X-Men and other superhero stuff, but it's only very shallowly similar to that. Mafi says it's inspired by human nature and I can see that, it definitely is. 

Setting: (4.5/5) The  flaw with the setting, I find, is that it's very vague. On some level though, I felt that more is less with this series. So I guess this isn't really a flaw... If the author went on to explain with detail more and more about the setting, I feel it would become unbelievable. The more they explain, the more I can see behind the story and at the author trying hard to try to make sense of the world to the readers. This destroys the realism and the story for me. You have to do it subtly and not info dump. It's like the author says, OK my book is a dystopia and goes on to explain in the first chapter why their book is a dystopia, they don't show you. So I guess that's where the book went right with the setting.

This series had a main character with a lot of depth, amazing writing, and a great overall concept of human struggle. I think it could have been even more amazing if it wasn't set in a dystopian world. It felt like the author was a bit swept away with the excitement of the "dystopia" trend. I'm not saying that the setting was necessarily bad, it just wasn't new and the series could have been more amazing if it had a more unique setting.

Plot: (5/5) I finished reading this book so fast. I had to forcefully stop myself from reading it and go to sleep. There was never a dull moment. This took an extra  couple of months to be released. I was worried it wasn't going to be as good as the first, but it was just as good if not better. Plus the book was longer (and larger) in comparison to the first one! If you enjoyed the first one, then trust me, you'll love the second one. 

Main Character: (5/5) The book was written through Juliette's eyes and I love Juliette. The author wrote her so incredibly well. She was very kind and self sacrificing but she was also so lonely and afraid. I've read in some reviews that people didn't like how Juliette was so afraid and reverted a little back to her former self in this book, but I wouldn't like as much if she didn't. It's not easy nor believable to change so fast and I hate when main characters changes last second. Change doesn't always have to happen slowly, but it does have to be believable. The pacing of Juliette changing and discovering who she was and dealing with her flaws was believable and true to Juliette's character. 

Villain: (4/5) Supreme Commander (this title sounds a bit funny) Anderson was the main villain in Unravel Me, not Warner (who wasn't really much of an antagonist in this book). I think Anderson was written very well, the best he could have been written. He was an interesting character and I do want to learn more about him. At the end of the day though, there doesn't seem to be much more to him than being cruel and evil. It's hinted a little otherwise, but we'll see where the last book goes with him.

Other Characters: (4/5) 
Adam Kent: Adam wasn't necessarily a horrible character, but I think most people agree he fell flat in comparison to Warner and Juliette. It's not that he doesn't have a tragic back story (though the whole abusive drunk father is beyond overused) like them, but he's not as complex. Tragedy doesn't always equal complexity, I mean look at most villains! That's really all Adam has going for him. He's not complex, he lacks depth. Yeah, sure he's kind, but so is Juliette, even more so because I know that her kindness isn't easy. The author seems to have tried to add more complexity to him in Unravel Me, but it still wasn't enough. To be clear: I don't hate Adam, but I don't love him either.
Warner: Warner and Juliette are my favourite characters because they're so complex and fascinating and I can't stop reading about them. We see Warner in a completely new light in this book and if you haven't read Destroy Me (the novella from Warner's point of view - more on my thoughts about it below) this will be a surprise for you.
Kenji Kishimoto: Kenji is a more lighthearted character and I appreciate his humor in comparison to the rest of the more, shall we say, gloomy cast, but his humour did feel too much for the atmosphere at times. I did like how he punched some sense into Juliette though.
Castle: Castle was pretty naive, I liked that about him. I wouldn't call it naivety either; to change the world and even people, you have to believe beyond a doubt that this is possible.
Sonya and Sarah: You might have already guessed by the teacup names, but I didn't appreciate the only other major female characters were twins that shared the same one trait personality.

Romance: (5/5) There's a lot of both Adam and Warner (especially Warner) moments, so I think you'll be happy no matter which one you prefer. As far as the romance goes, I don't really know who Juliette should end up with. I do prefer Warner, but that's because I like him better as a character. I'm not really sure who's more right for Juliette, though. I completely trust the author on this note. I love the romance for this series because the main character isn't flat and bland. I can completely understand why anyone would like Juliette. 

Other Comments: I hate this new YA novella trend. They're horribly written and a waste of time. The only one I adored was Destroy Me (my review). After reading Unravel Me, I ran into a completely different problem with novellas. Although I loved Destroy Me, it ruined a bit of the fun of finding out about Warner within the series. I wasn't on the same page as Juliette because I knew more about Warner than she did (because I read Destroy Me and she didn't). I loved Unravel Me, but I'm pretty sure I would have loved it even more if I hadn't read the novella. It was kind of a spoil to discover Warner's character and thoughts before I actually read the book. 

There's another novella between Unravel Me and the last book, Ignite Me, Fracture Me. This one, I assume, is an attempt to make Adam's character more likable and although I'm all up for that, I won't be reading it until I read the final book in the series. I wouldn't have even considered reading the novella if I didn't love this series so much. 

That's what I basically recommend. If Shatter Me and Unravel Me are some of your all-time favourite books, don't read the novellas until you finished reading the entire series. 

Overall: (32.5/35) Like Shatter Me, the main thing I loved about Unravel Me is the beautiful writing. It was the perfect narrative to Juliette's character and made me love her so much. I found the book to be very thoughtful. I couldn't put this book down, there wasn't one dull moment for me. The writing, the main character, the plot, the romance - I adored this book as much as I did the first, maybe even more so. This is definitely my favourite read of 2013!

1 comment:

  1. I'm glad I read this review because I TOTALLY agree that the new novella trend is a waste of story space. I don't get why they're so important. I've never read one that moved the story along. My friend told me to read Destroy Me before Unravel Me, but now I want to wait. I might not even read all. Hmmm
    But now I'm REALLY excited to see what's up with Warner and Adam - because I'm in love with Adam and I don't want that to change but it might and oh my gosh I just know I'm going to get my heart broken! ACH!

    Anyway...great review! Love it! <3

    Sierra @ Yearning to Read