Once upon a time, on a day much like any other, a girl had An Idea: What if Rogue had a purple suit? And a boyfriend? She sat down to write, and Shatter Me was born. Soon to follow was a sister named ‘Unravel Me’, and the other X-Men joined the tale. Unravel Me was fair and lovely, quickly surpassing her older sister, and, oh yes, she got all the boys.
Juliette has escaped to Omega Point. 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.Haunted by her past, terrified of her future, Juliette knows that in her present, she will have to make some life-changing choices.
Choices that may include choosing between her heart – and Adam’s life.
What a broken heroine Unravel Me has. We join Juliette two weeks after we left her, but for all that hope Shatter Me offered in its dénouement, Juliette is shattering all over again. Adam is distant, and if she thought she found a place she belonged, with people like her, who could accept her, the wary stares and constant isolation say otherwise.
Broken, isolated and misunderstood are familiar places for Juliette, but was there ever a lonelier place than the kind felt surrounded by people? Juliette is a most singularly damaged heroine, and it’s difficult finding her withdrawing into her shell and shouldering so much blame for problems outside her control – both from herself and those around her. While it would be easy to find fault in her anxieties and self-pity, it’s important to acknowledge her unique position: while Juliette runs afoul of good opinion with her inability to assimilate in the new community in which she finds herself, surrounded by ‘special’ people who can relate to isolation and discrimination, it’s important to understand there is no way she could.
A girl who has never known love, never known the basic necessity of human touch, thrust into an established, tight-knit community would not function. While certainly not the most scientific source, livestrong.com features an article discussing the essential nature of touch in human development. Not only can touch, in infancy, affect physical health, it has a huge impact on psychologic development. Children robbed of touch, of contact, can suffer anxiety, stress, and emotional disorders. It’s painful watching a character like Juliette so misunderstood, and there’s an interesting parallel here, however intentional, to the failures of our own society in caring for, and understanding those outside the sphere of what we consider ‘normal’, but it also seems Mafi enjoys the odd poke at the elevated emotions and angst of the typical YA heroine and hero.
But. Juliette grows in Unravel Me, develops new strength, and discovers new steel. She makes many, many mistakes, but she is a very human heroine and, for all her melodramatic angst, an eminently likeable one, her urgent stream-of-consciousness flowing in that uniquely Juliette/Mafi style making it easy to slip inside her head.
From Juliette’s narration, to the scalding romance, to the ominous cloud of impending war, Unravel Me bursts with feeling, and it carries a sense of immediacy. It’s impossible to pass that ‘romance’ with only a sentence, as Unravel Me, like Shatter Me, is sexually charged, each glancing touch carrying a weight intensified by a life filled with its absence. Adam returns, sweet and kind and with scorching chemistry – if not a little bland personality-wise – and Warner, the uncomfortably compelling villain of Shatter Me, appears in a new light entirely. More than a few readers may find themselves surprised by interesting feelings as Shatter Me’s villain becomes something… more.
But for all this talk of intensity and dark matters, Unravel me ultimately aims to entertain, and succeeds. Sexy and gripping, filled with bone-melting romance and gripping intrigue, Unravel Me is an outing stronger, even, than its extraordinary predecessor. Mafi’s prose dances swiftly across pages, dropping metaphors like bombs, and it feels a tighter book on a whole, with a stronger focus on plotting. Unravel Me sizzles with passion and chemistry, and offers surprise twists to keep those pages turning well into the wee hours. Fans will delight in Unravel Me as it unravels its spectacularly complex heroine just in time for an ending fine-tuned to leave them desperate for more.
Books in This Series:
- Shatter Me (November 2011)
- Unravel Me (February 2013)
- As Yet Untitled (Expected 2014)
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I have one copy of the Australian paperback of Unravel Me up for grabs! Giveaway is open INTERNATIONALLY. Check the T&Cs for details, and good luck!
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