Juliette and Warner’s story continues in the electrifying fourth installment of Tahereh Mafi’s New York Times bestselling Shatter Me series.
Juliette Ferrars thought she’d won. She took over Sector 45, was named the new Supreme Commander of North America, and now has Warner by her side. But when tragedy strikes, she must confront the darkness that dwells both around and inside her.
Who will she become in the face of adversity? Will she be able to control the power she wields, and use it for good?
This surprise return to the Shatter Me world was welcome, anticipated, and hesitant on my part. I LOVED Shatter Me (book 1), thoroughly enjoyed Unravel Me (book 2) . . . and was utterly disappointed by Ignite Me (the supposed final book in the trilogy. Restore Me left me with a combination of all of the above.
What initially pulled me in the series was the gorgeous prose that brought me directly inside Juliette's tortured mind, harsh, brutally honest, and so different from any other novel I'd read. It was present entirely throughout the first book in the series; it was slightly diminished in the second; by the third, it seemed not to exist at all. Once again, Restore Me lacked the beautiful writing I learned to associate with Tahereh Mafi's style. There were brief glimpses of it within excerpts from Juliette's journal from her asylum days -- but nothing in the main bulk of the story. My theory is that Mafi is attempting to distinguish between Juliette's past and present, to show how much she's grown, how she's not nearly as broken as she once was. The result is a prose that is decidedly generic. That, coupled with an overabundance of "tell" rather than "show" made this one a bit hard to get through.
I do not and will not ever understand the appeal of Warner as a main love interest. He's transitioned from being the antagonist to the can-do-no-wrong winner of Juliette's heart, a change I'm not entirely opposed to in stories -- if done well. Here, it's not, not at all. And as Restore Me is narrated half by Warner himself, my attention was automatically unenthusiastic. His actions in the past have been forgiven by Juliette, but not forgotten by this particular reader and I simply can't justify his drastic turn from enemy to lover.
I don't know what this book accomplished. At 448 pages, you would assume a decent amount of action would have occurred. You would be wrong. Restore Me felt like a set-up of things to come, and a rough one at that. The majority of the novel was spent inside Juliette and Warner's minds as they struggled to communicate with each other and dwelt on the futility of their feelings for each other and alternated between longing for each other and sleeping with each other and basically nothing progressed at all. Except for the final scene, the clear climax of the novel, coming out of nowhere, with no explanation, and happening far too suddenly for the rational mind to comprehend. It feels as though an editor was missing. Or, better yet, a logical brain to dictate that the story was finished at the end of the original planned trilogy.
Overall, not a brilliant read. I know I come across as highly jaded against this project but let it be noted that I WILL be finishing this series because I have high hopes for improvement and I'm a sucker who can't bera to let things go uncompleted. Shatter Me was an absolutely beautiful book; Tahereh Mafi is a talented writer who I simply want to believe in again.