It is hard to review this series book by book considering that each book is a piece of a puzzle, and when you combine them and view it from above it paints a beautiful, complete photo. What I mean is that if you look at the individual books and analysis certain characters and developments you would be frustrated. You have to look at the bigger picture, which is resolved or finished in the last book.
This will probably be extremely confusing, however, I will do my best to review this entire series without spoilers. I have not read the novellas, so I am strictly talking about the three main books in this review.
This series has an interesting premise. Juliette, the main character, cannot be touched. If an individual touches her, they could die. And as the series progresses we see Juliette in many dangerous situations, involved in a love triangle, and have incredible character development.
Each book is a stage in her life, and if I am being honest the series gets better as the books come. Overall, the series was not that bad. I read the majority of the first book and the entire second and third in the span of one week, so it was definitely interesting enough to not stop reading.
The first book was my least favorite, and I think the last was my favorite. I really was underwhelmed with the first book and only continued the series because I had read spoilers and wanted to know how everything turned out that way in the end. The first book started off slow, and I felt like explanations were given out a little too late and it focused too much time in the prison/asylum cell.
The second book improved a lot. Again, it started off slow. However, you can really begin seeing Juliette evolve as a character. This had a lot of relationship drama and the love triangle started to really form here. Also, you and Juliette are introduced to a completely different perspective on the events in the first book. You find out that Juliette might not have been a reliable narrator in the beginning. That was an interesting and great revelation.
The third book was fun, and it was great to see how much each character has changed. There was little too much relationship drama for me and I wish that it had been cleared up sooner in this book. There was not as much action as I had hoped and the ending was a little disappointing and anti-climatic. There were a lot of things that were left unanswered. For example, how did individuals get their powers? Also, what age did they get their powers?
The series had an interesting writing style. It was poetic. I listened to most of the first book on Audible, so hearing the words spoken aloud in this poetic and smooth manner was an experience. However, I am very conflicted about the writing style as a whole. Although it was poetic and creative, it felt repetition and annoying at times.
There were so many metaphors. It was almost overwhelming. It was definitely frustrating at times because some metaphors felt weird and did not really make any sense. And I felt isolated as a reader because I did not really understand why the character was referring to an object in the matter that she did.
Another problem I had is that certain words were repeated. Again, I listened to this on Audible so it was frustrating to hear the narrator repeat the phrase “I am not insane” over 30 times. Although there were some times that the repetition made for a great rhythm, I would much rather not have them.
I would like to point out that the writing style changed as the story progressed through the three main books. In the series, especially the first book, words and phrases that Juliette is afraid to say are crossed out. As she progresses and evolves the crossed out words and phrases decrease. I thought that was an interesting way to show character development in a real way.
Juliette was extremely frustrating in the beginning. I was not the biggest fan of her. I did not really understand her decisions and her actions. However, if you compare Juliette in each book, it is interesting to see how much character development she went through. It was small in the books, however, as a whole it is grand. She is a completely different person and props to the author for showing that journey and actually taking the time to craft it in a way that shows every obstacle that made her who she is in the end.
I was indifferent about Adam. Him and Juliette’s relationship felt super instalove. And also, we are shown this different side of him in the third book which sort of ruins his character.
There is a love triangle. It could have been done better without ruining a character. I won’t mention the other guy involved in the triangle because it is sort of a spoiler. And I must say that that I applaud the author. The other guy was awful in the first book, however, because everything is not as it seems we learn things about him and see him in a new light.
I will say that this book lacked female characters. Juliette was basically the only female character. There were others, but their parts were small and they were extreme background characters. We did not really know much about them.
The Shatter Me Series is not perfect by any means. The main character is frustrating in the beginning, and the writing is beautiful yet it does get annoying at times. However, it does offer a journey that spans through the whole series complete with twist and turns and overall great development in the end.