It occured to me that it may be simpler to talk about the whole series at once than break it down into several posts, especially since it all basically follows one big story line rather than having plots that stand on their own.
I absolutely love the style of writing in this series. Yes, it can come off a little childish at times, but that’s the point. The story is told from the first person perspective of the protagonist, Juliette. In the beginning, she’s been locked up and in isolation for so long that she’s a little crazy. Okay, she comes off as a lot crazy. The patterns of her thoughts are all over the place and childish, but it makes total sense. But it’s first person perspective of a crazy person and it’s beautiful.
I appreciated that her social awkwardness and confusion don’t just magically disappear. She has a hard time figuring people out and it stays. It’s always annoying when people are suddenly good at things. I also liked all the little discoveries and the little twists and turns. It wasn’t that they were all wholly unexpected, but that they were well done anyway. Mafi never dwelt on the discoveries that you know had to happen to keep the story going, she just blasted through them and on to more interesting things.
I loved all the other characters too. I may have a weakness for a broken or tortured soul in my entertainment, so this was PERFECT. I love a story where all the characters have a range of emotions and weaknesses and strengths. I love it that all of these thinn gs were different for each of them. I especially appreciated the way that Juliette slowly learned little things about each person she met and that she didn’t always know how to read people and that she got it wrong at least as often as she got it right.
These books also made my little feminist heart flutter. She starts off crazy and isolated, a damsel in distress, but she doesn’t stay that way. She takes a logical journey, fraught with setbacks. While these parts of it were not surprising, I enjoyed getting there with her. I enjoyed the path she took and each setback. I even enjoyed the times when her actions were questionable, because we all do things that are questionable sometimes. Juliette is flawed, complicated, prone to making mistakes and questionable decisions, loves and loathes her power, and awful at accepting herself. That should be familiar to anyone. While I loved all these things about Juliette, it made the whole experience better that all the other characters had the same kinds of things going for them.
I have to admit too, that this was one of those rare occasions where I had a hard time picking a team. This is not usually a problem. In the world fandom teams, I have been Jacob, Damon, and Peeta and never looked back. But with this, I would start to like one more than the other and then we’d get a moment that would make me question it. In the end, I understand the decision. The reader knows its coming and I can’t imagine anyone not understanding.
I had thought it was interesting to see the way the world they grew up in affected their ability to handle the romantic situations too. None of them knew what they were doing or how to express things properly, which should be expected and was great to actually see. They (the guys and Juliette) aren’t always great about recognizing consent and they pay for it. The obsessive behaviors aren’t good either, and they pay for those too. It’s an emotional toll that they all pay for their inexperience with normal human interaction, around normal healthy relationships. It’s completely applicable to the book and done well.
Also, let me not miss talking about the non-love interests, especially given their role in managing the rest of the story. Kenji and James are magnificent, they are key to the way to the unhealthy elements of the romance are dealt with. They are also flawed, also holding it together as best they can. Each bring a lot to the story in their own way. Each get a good amount of time devoted to what they do bring.
I wasn’t going to read the boys’ books originally either and just leave it to the main three, but I’m glad I reconsidered. I’m also glad that I saved Destroy Me for last. I got to experience some revelations with Juliette that would have been spoiled. I’m just as glad that I didn’t do that with Fracture Me. Destroy Me was a great insight into the mind of Warner, but it was an even better insight into Juliette. We get to see how she is perceived for the first time and it not only changes how I thought about Warner’s initial behavior toward her, but it changes Juliette a little too. It’s an interesting addition. And his dreams and his thoughts about her and reading her notebook. He really is a wonderfully tortured character. I loved them all.
This series is beautifully put together. I loved every minute of it. The end came too soon.
Have you read the Shatter Me series? What did you think?