Destroy Me by Tahereh Mafi (Shatter Me #1.5)

Given that I’m half-way in love with Warner, the antagonist of the Shatter Me trilogy, I had to read this novella from his perspective before starting Unravel Me. I wasn’t looking for any justification for my affections but I found it anyway. I spent Shatter Me plucking petals off a flower to the tune of “I love him, I hate him, I love him, I hate him,” but Destroy Me did such a great job of explaining the background behind some of Warner’s more heinous behavior towards Juliette (the man he shot in front of her, the toddler he endangered in order to test her) that I decided I only love him after all. This novella takes place right after Shatter Me.

Destroy-Me-tahereh-mafi

Back at the base and recovering from his near-fatal wound, Warner must do everything in his power to keep his soldiers in check and suppress any mention of a rebellion in the sector. Still as obsessed with Juliette as ever, his first priority is to find her, bring her back, and dispose of Adam and Kenji, the two traitors who helped her escape. But when Warner’s father, the Supreme Commander of The Reestablishment, arrives to correct his son’s mistakes, it’s clear that he has much different plans for Juliette. Plans Warner simply cannot allow.

At the end of Shatter Me, Juliette escaped The Reestablishment in a way that annoyed me and humiliated Warner so I enjoyed reading about the events after from his perspective. I even came to understand his obsession with Juliette who continues to be all he cares about, with the exception of his desire to kill Adam and Kenji for aiding her escape. Then, when his father, The Supreme Commander of The Reestablishment, hears what’s been going on and returns to correct his wayward son’s mistakes, Warner begins to seem positively fluffy by contrast.

Destroy Me humanizes Warner a lot so if you want an antagonist you can truly hate you might want to skip this novella. Yes, he’s ruthless and unstable but with an upbringing and father like his, it’s unsurprising. How else could he hold his own as the 19 year-old leader of Sector 45?

In my review of Shatter Me, I said that the first person limited viewpoint would not be to everyone’s taste when that person is someone as emotional as Juliette. One thing this novella did, however, was show me that the flowery prose of Shatter Me may be more a part of Juliette’s nature than of author, Tahereh Mafi, and I’m beginning to appreciate the contrast of such purple prose against a dystopian background. Without that poeticism, however overplayed it is at times, Mafi’s writing loses its uniqueness.

It seems that novellas have became common fillers to while away the wait between series installments and I’m glad I gave this one a chance. It looks like Warner will be passing the villains baton to his father for the next book, Unravel Me, which opens up the floor for the love triangle between him, Juliette and Adam. For better or worse.

I’m still addicted though!

Hank 4 stars

 

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