time for war.
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.
Tell Me More: There are some books that make you wonder if you’ve hyped them up too much in your head, if time will show that they weren’t really as good as you thought they were, if maybe you just saw what you wanted to see and not what was really there. For a while after reading Shatter Me, I felt this way about Juliette’s story, and I was nervous that my distaste for dystopians would colour my opinion of the sequel. Happily, Tahereh Mafi doesn’t just manage to meet expectations in this second installment, but blasts past them to bring another heart-pounding story into the world.
Where Shatter Me was isolated and centered solely on Juliette, Unravel Me is wide and open. The reader is introduced to supporting characters who don’t exist just to fill gaps and help move the story along. They all feel like real people, with different motivations and goals. They are all memorable, from Sonya and Sara, the twins that help heal the injured at Omega Point, to Brendan, a soldier who makes Juliette smile, to Castle, the enigmatic leader of the Point. Mafi’s decision to spend time with all of these characters is one that pays off handsomely before the end of the novel.
Kenji and Warner are the returning characters that shine the brightest in Unravel Me, while Adam seems more like a shadow of his Shatter Me self. Kenji is as witty and funny as ever, but he doesn’t give Juliette any room to pity or isolate herself further. Sometimes I felt like he cared more for her welfare and growth than Adam did, and I can only conclude that Adam’s desire to keep her safe blinds him to the fact that she still has agency.
But Warner? He’s the real stand-out character in this installment. He permeates Juliette’s thoughts, and while she can’t quite figure out why at first, she soon realizes that she sees something in him that he might not even see in himself: hope. His characterization is reminiscent of Draco Malfoy in many ways, though I think Mafi is setting Warner up for a redemption arc. It’ll be interesting to see how she stays true to his characterization thus far, while opening the story up to allow for a romance between him and Juliette. His ruthlessness and cruelty is given reason in Unravel Me, though it’s still up to the reader to decide whether or not it’s a good reason. He and Juliette both represent the potential for people to change and grow, and I do think that they complete each other in important ways.
The story itself reflects that completion: when Warner first appears, it feels as though the missing part of the story has clicked smoothly into place, and now the real action can begin. The chapters preceding that are comfortable and help the reader settle back in, but the novel shifts into a faster pace and more intense scenes once Warner is thrown into the mix. Mafi is talented at building suspense–my heart was literally pounding during certain scenes, and by the time I closed the book, I felt just as exhausted as Juliette. But oh, I am just as ready as she is for the next step in the journey.
The Final Say: Unravel Me probably isn’t a book you should pick up if you want to relax, but should you rise to the challenge, you’ll find a story that is even more astonishing than its predecessor, and an author who has only grown more confident in the story she’s telling and in her characters.
Tahereh Mafi is the author of the New York Times and USA Today bestselling Shatter Me series. She was born and raised in a small city somewhere in Connecticut and currently resides in Orange County, California, where the weather is just a little too perfect for her taste. When unable to find a book, she can be found reading candy wrappers, coupons, and old receipts.