Top positive review
4 people found this helpful
Improves on book one in nearly every way for a genuinely sexy and emotionally intense novel
on 4 May 2015
Despite having some issues with the first book in this series, Shatter Me, I enjoyed it enough (particularly the last few chapters) to immediately pick up this sequel. I’m glad I did, because the things that made the earlier instalment good are present and correct and in many cases improved and most of the things I was less keen on – notably the wilder excesses of flowery language and the ultra-convenient plot points – have been resolved. There were still some strikethroughs and some strange metaphors, but partly due to an in-book calming of Juliette’s mental state and partly (I suspect) to an out of book maturing of the author’s style) they are much more restrained, and as a result, much more powerful when they do occur.
Plotwise, there are two key differences between this volume and the first, both of which should be obvious to anyone whose read Shatter Me.
Firstly, for most of the novel, the action moves to Omega Point, the rebel stronghold, and safe house for people with abilities like Juliette’s. Sadly, we’re seeing this amazing place through Juliette’s eyes, and initially at least, she mostly sulks in her room, so we don’t learn much about its ways or its inhabitants. I understood her fears and thought her behaviour was actually more believable than this traumatised girl suddenly been a happy part of a team, but it still made for a frustrating read.
Secondly, while still maintaining most of his role as primary antagonist, Warner makes clearer his true feelings for Juliette, and starts to feel like a viable love interest. Fair warning – this does all basically descend into full-blown love triangle territory. Personally, despite the fact it’s been horribly overdone recently, I still enjoy a good love triangle when it’s done well, and this is one of the best I’ve seen, particularly in this volume. But I know many people really dislike them, so if that’s you, I’d steer clear, as despite all of Omega Point’s plotting and a climactic battle towards the end, the romance is still centre stage here.
As a further warning, I’d strongly suggest that you read the novella Destroy Me before this, as it really explains his personality, demonstrates that his feelings for Juliette are genuine, and cast a different light on some of the seemingly indefensible things he does in Book One. Unless you really, really love genuine villains, I think you’d struggle to see him as an acceptable love interest if you haven’t got this background – however hot someone is, you probably shouldn’t get steamy with them if they previously made you torture a toddler.
Warner is an exceptionally strong character here, moving from the compelling but rather one-dimensional villain of the first novel to someone gloriously nuanced and conflicted, but still ultimately fun to read about and terribly sexy. His scenes with Juliette are a masterclass in sexual tension, surging emotions, and on her part at least, a desperate attempt not to give into forbidden love.
That’s not to say that there weren’t other strong characters or that nothing else interested me in the novel. I enjoyed some of the twists the plot took, and there were some great dramatic moments. James, Adam’s little ten year old brother, was utterly adorable and pretty funny, while Kenji, who I’d found infuriating in book one, trod a neat line between comic relief and voice of wisdom. And it was great to see a female character have a straight, platonic male friend for once. But at the same time, whenever Warner was offscreen for too long, some of my attention started to wane. This was particularly striking in the first fifth or quarter, where he doesn’t make an appearance at all, and nothing much else of note happens either. But from then on, things get very good very quickly, and overall, while it still had faults, I absolutely loved this, would highly recommend it, and went straight onto book three.