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review 2014-09-24 03:51
Disappointing conclusion
Ignite me - Tahereh Mafi

Contains minor spoilers

I've been putting off reading this book. I was nervous and then after reading Unite Me, I found my interest in the series had waned. But I'd already bought it so I convinced myself that I should read it and then put the series to rest. Be done with it.

I was right to be nervous about this book. After loving Shatter Me, liking Unravel Me and reading both in a day each, this book left me feeling absolutely nothing. After Shatter Me, my heart ached. After Unravel Me, I was angry but hopeful. After Ignite Me, I feel nothing but relief that it is over.

Ignite Me is the conclusion of The Juliette Chronicles, the story of Juliette Ferrars, a girl who cannot touch without destroying. After breaking out of the asylum where she spent almost a year locked away and then finding her way to Omega Point where she becomes a part of the war against the Reestablishment, only to have Omega Point destroyed and herself shot. As she recovers, she doesn't know what's happened to her friends or who she should trust. She only knows that she needs to take the down the Reestablishment. Somehow.

Before I start ranting, there were things I did like about this novel. Juliette is no longer the helpless, crying girl from the last two books. She is stronger and braver and she has a purpose. This was probably the best thing to come out of this novel. But it came too late and by the time it did I didn’t feel as emotionally invested in the series as I had been previously, so I was lacking in the excitement I would normally feel in such a fantastic character development and only thought to myself “about time”. Which may not be entirely fair, as not all characters will develop in the same way. But at this point I was frustrated with her for taking so long to make important realisations that would have aided her survival. It took way too long for her to care.

Oh look, the rant started without me meaning it to. It’s too late to stem the flow now, because I promise this review will move faster that the book. The progress through this book was painfully slow. 400 pages and only the last 30 where we really saw some action rather than just angst. Because it is very angsty. Enough to make you want to rip your hair out (the slow progress will contribute to this feeling). I couldn’t have cared less about the romance in this novel and only really hoped she went out on her own and didn’t end up with either love interest. Both were possessive and angry and if all you can say about them is how attractive they are, that doesn’t really sit well with me because that sort of obsession is fleeting. What happens when someone better looking comes along? All I see at the end of this is two angsty teenagers who are attracted to each other, but I don’t see anything that will make for a lasting relationship. And let’s be honest, if this was real, it probably wouldn’t last. Everything is amplified in their situation, but it won’t always be like that. You’re not going to be an angsty teenager taking over a nation (what the hell? Actually?) for the rest of your life.

Which brings me to our next topic. Juliette has superpowers, but she’s not the only one, yet she is the one taking over? Let’s wrap it up all nicely hey? How ridiculous. I know its fiction, but a 17 year old is now leading a country? Come on, we want it to be a little bit realistic.

This book also destroyed everything I thought about the characters that had been so carefully constructed from the first book - except the hilarious Kenji and sweet James. But Warner and Adam? Forget everything you thought you knew because Mafi is changing their characters! Warner was a villian, and I liked him that way. Not as a love interest, but as a bad dude. Adam was always patient, calm and enduring. Nope not anymore! I didn't feel like I knew any of these characters and by the time it was done I was so sick of the three of them. I wish more time had been taken with the rest of the cast, such as the Omega Point team, because they were actually interesting!

Such a disappointing end to a series that started so fantastically. What a shame.

2.5 stars

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review SPOILER ALERT! 2013-11-13 23:12
Unravel Me - Tahereh Mafi

I just finished reading Unravel Me and my thoughts and feelings regarding this book are all over the place. I don't know how I'm going to rate it so I'll have to sort through them first! Did I like it? Well...yes and no.
**Beware, this review will contain spoilers because I have no idea how to write this without them!**

In Shatter Me, what struck me most was just how heartbreaking Juliette's affliction was. How hyperaware she needed to be of simply where her uncovered skin was all the time (although I have to ask - why didn't anyone think of gloves sooner?!). People were afraid of her, told their kids to keep their distance. She was a freak, a monster, and her own parents didn't want her. The fact that she was still able to hold onto her compassion and some resemblance of sanity is actually amazing. So for her to that somehow there was not one but two people in that messed-up world who can stand her touch - of course that must be shocking. It was a completely new experience for her to be able to touch someone's skin without causing them extreme harm - or worse. And for her to feel another's touch would be even more thrilling. So much so that I can't help but feel that both Adam and Warner are taking advantage of her. When she tries to stand up to them, tells Adam she doesn't want to hurt him and Warner that she doesn't want him, they touch her. And she's going to feel it more acutely than if she was normal, because it is so strange to her. That's why she feels an attraction to both of them. And those two boys are both so selfish they don't realise what they're doing to her and only know that they want her. They are both so possessive it makes me sick.

I felt like Juliette started making real progress as a strong, independent young woman when she 'broke up' with Adam, like she herself noticed - but not enough until she had a talking to from Kenji, which was a long time coming. I was so excited for her when they arrived at Omega Point and found there were other people with abilities above and beyond the norm. I thought she would be able to learn more about herself and her capabilities, and understand how to harness & control her energy. Her capabilities are different to the others and make life a lot harder for her but I really believed she would do it, and want to. I thought she would be excited about who she was and how to use her ability so I was disappointed in her 'oh poor me' routine. What Kenji said to her was the slap in the face she needed. Good. I'm glad that she showed that she was able to make friends and finally expressed an interest in training. She needed it to take her mind off angsty Adam.

Adam was really visiting Crazytown in this book. I wish Kenji had shaken him too and told him to snap out of it. One - why not tell Juliette about your ability? There was no good reason to keep it from her. Two - mate don't be such a sook and do something productive instead of whine! And three - don't take your shit out on everyone else, it's not their fault and they've all got stuff to deal with too. His begging Juliette not to leave him was not what I expected of him - however my opinion was improved when he simply said he would work out a way for them to be together. Stop grovelling and whining and do something useful! But although I realise Juliette was trying not to hurt him physical she just made a further mess of him emotionally. Control yourselves, people! Yes, yes, I understand love and passion and raging emotions but sometimes you have to be practical.

And Warner. Do not get me started on Warner and Juliette's stupidity. People can change, people can discover compassion in their lives but he doesn't want to. He wants the life he knows and he wants Juliette. He craves power and having Juliette will give him that. He may love her too in his own twisted way but he doesn't care about what she wants and what is important to her - kindness and compassion and empathy. That is not love. He feels none of that and what drives me crazy is Juliette knows that. Yet she is attracted to him because he's beautiful (I am so sick of 'beautiful' boys!) and because he can touch her. She may see the potential for him to be better but he will never live up to it, and for all her attraction to him she will never love him. I don't believe that mentally she would be able to be with him. But she lets him do what he wants - mainly I think because simply being touched is so novel to her it's like a shock to the senses. Although I sympathise, the scene with Juliette and Warner in her bedroom made me feel sick. She needs to stand up for herself and you know what? If she really loved Adam he wouldn't have flown out of her mind so easy. I was so angry! She needs to tell both boys to leave her the hell alone until she sorts her shit out.

I only hope she doesn't end up with Warner mainly because I feel he is a horrible person and has no inclination to change. But I also feel like if she loves Adam she needs to be loyal. If no, maybe she shouldn't be with either. Simply being able to touch her isn't a good enough reason.

Did I mention love triangles frustrate the hell out of me?

So to return to the original question, did I like it? Yes. I like the main dystopian plot (although I've hardly mentioned it!), the secondary characters, the fast flowing story. I read this quite quickly and if I didn't have a paper to work on it would have been finished even faster. I still want to read the last book but I'm really hoping it doesn't disappoint.

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