Book Review: Unravel Me by Tahereh Mafi

About the Book

The thrilling second installment in New York Times bestselling author Tahereh Mafi’s Shatter Me series.

It should have taken Juliette a single touch to kill Warner. But his mysterious immunity to her deadly power has left her shaken, wondering why her ultimate defense mechanism failed against the person she most needs protection from.

She and Adam were able to escape Warner’s clutches and join up with a group of rebels, many of whom have powers of their own. Juliette will finally be able to actively fight against The Reestablishment and try to fix her broken world. And perhaps these new allies can help her shed light on the secret behind Adam’s—and Warner’s—immunity to her killer skin.

Juliette’s world is packed with high-stakes action and tantalizing romance, perfect for fans of the Red Queen series by Victoria Aveyard and the Darkest Minds trilogy by Alexandra Bracken.

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My Thoughts

I read the first book of the series in high school and kind of liked it, but didn't get pulled in. Not so this time around. Read my review of the first book, Shatter Me.

Unravel Me dives right in where Shatter Me left off. Immediately, new tension sets the story going. Something is wrong with Adam. Juliette is struggling to work with her new "allies." And Juliette's internal conflict and trauma just won't give her a break.

This is where a lot of the complaints from book one start to come in. Adam and Juliette's relationship strains as new information comes to light. Her constant internal dialogue and self-loathing put up barriers between her and the people who want to help. In fact, her mounting anxiety and the bottled-up feelings of a lifetime put a lot of lives at risk. And that leads to several changes in both her character and the story.

This book is, in my opinion, stronger than the first, which is quite an accomplishment for the middle book of a trilogy. Kenji, James, Castle, and other characters introduced late in Shatter Me are fleshed out as they interact with Juliette and Adam in the new setting of Omega Point. The underground sanctuary is also explored a little more, though not as much as I might like, since the readers are stuck only seeing and hearing what Juliette finds important, which isn't much at first. The story really builds in this book, with a lot of revelations I didn't see coming.

The plot is wildly unpredictable if you ask me, though I've been out of the book world for a few years, so I might just be rusty. It works so well, too. Since I'm not going to share any big spoilers, there's really not a lot I can say. Just — there was a lot of wide eyes and gasping and surprised exclamations from me as I read this series, and a lot of them came from this book.

Warner is humanized, which is something I knew from the way Mafi wrote his introduction would happen, but I was so desperately not looking forward to it. I didn't want to like his development or care at all about him, not even a little, but after a while I couldn't help myself. And Adam... in the first book, I and Juliette both felt that Adam could do no wrong. But honestly, by the end of this second installment, all I felt toward the romantic subplot was utter confusion — not due to poor writing, but because that's exactly what Juliette was feeling. There's a boy she's supposed to love and a man she's supposed to hate, but neither is who she first assumed, and she doesn't know what to do with all the rapid-fire new information.

Don't read this book without first reading Shatter Me. But if you've finished the first book and want to see how the characters develop and where their story continues, and you're willing to follow through to the end in Ignite Me, definitely get this book. On its own, I'd maybe give it four stars? Hard to tell. As its part in this series, five stars, hands down.


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