Unravel Me by Tahereh Mafi

Of all the books I wish I could read in hard copy, Unravel Me by Tahereh Mafi is way up there. The cover is just stunning – even more so than Shatter Me which I read a few weeks agoIn fact, even though I’m not meant to be buying books until I settle down, I may have to buy this if I see it. Particularly the hardback with deckled edges. I just wish Shatter Me came in something other than that hideous silver foil monstrosity. *sigh*

unravel-me-tahereh-mafi

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.

Why is it that I feel kind of guilty for liking this series? While sometimes poetic the prose is often livid purple. At times it feels downright trashy. I swear Juliette spends most of her time lip-locked, with each encounter apparently the most intense and every kiss the sweetest, softest, most shattering (see what I did there?) I know you’re a touch-starved teenager, Juliette, but get a grip! It’s doesn’t help that she now bears all the hallmarks of an X-Men (specifically Rogue) complete with skin-tight suit.

But I do really like this series. I found myself reaching for my Kindle even when I know I only had time for a paragraph or two between train stations. It is so addictive. But after being patient with her in the first book, I did find myself beginning to get annoyed with Juliette being the perpetual passenger and making no real effort to improve her new life. Warner took an age to appear and I kept flicking forward so I knew how many pages I had left to wait. In the end I knew when he was coming because I’d read the novella,  Destroy Me, told from his POV. Nice touch interweaving that scene, Tahereh Mafi!

I’m glad to say the ending of Unravel Me did better justice to the character of Warner than did Shatter Me. In fact so much is revealed about him (including his name) that even if you don’t decamp to Team Warner, I defy you to hate him anymore.

“I think I understand you sometimes,” I tell him. “I really do. But just when I think I finally get you, you surprise me. And I never really know who you are or who you’re going to be.” I look up. “But I know I don’t hate you anymore. I’ve tried,” I say, “I’ve tried so hard. Because you’ve done so many terrible, terrible things. To innocent people. To me. But I know too much about you know. I’ve seen to much. You’re too human.”

At least two of the terrible things Juliette is accusing him of are explained in the novella and I like that she is warming to him without even knowing the full truth. It’s really amazing what Tahereh Mafi has achieved with this character. Warner is so different in this book. So complicated.

He’s so like his father, I’m beginning to realize. The way he walks, the way he looks in a suit, the way he’s so meticulous about his hygiene. And yet there is no doubt in my mind that he detests this man he fails so miserably not to emulate.

The writing in Unravel Me still relies heavily on metaphors but there are less duds than in Shatter Me. Tahereh Mafi has a gift for finding new and beautiful ways of saying even simple things. Where others might simply write ‘Castle looks deflated,’ Mafi writes:

Castle looks like a balloon that fell in love with a pushpin that got too close and ruined him forever.

There are some great quotes in Unravel Me, most of them Warner’s. One particular speech from the infamous Chapter 62 where he describes just what kind of friend he wants to be to Juliette was borderline poetry. But I won’t spoil it for you by writing it here. Here’s another instead:

“The truth,” he says, “is a painful reminder of why I prefer to live among the lies.”

>A lot happens in Unravel Me and with Juliette a part of the action, that first person perspective really pays dividends. I love being inside her head when her anger changes her into someone quite different and scary. And cool. While the pace of the plot has picked up, however, Juliette’s character development has been slow. Her revelation at the end of Unravel Me should have come much sooner. I can’t wait to see what happens now she’s finally decided to take control.

For that reason book 3, Ignite Me (another incredible cover) is one of my most anticipated books of 2015 even though I’m pretty sure I know how it’s going to end. Roll on February 4th!

4.5/5 Stars for Unravel Me.

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