Review: X-Men Origins: Rogue oops, I mean Shatter Me, Tahereh Mafi

The Blurb: The last time she did, it was an accident, but The Reestablishment locked her up for murder. No one knows why Juliette’s touch is fatal. As long as she doesn’t hurt anyone else, no one really cares. The world is too busy crumbling to pieces to pay attention to a 17-year-old girl. Diseases are destroying the population, food is hard to find, birds don’t fly anymore, and the clouds are the wrong color.

The Reestablishment said their way was the only way to fix things, so they threw Juliette in a cell. Now so many people are dead that the survivors are whispering war– and The Reestablishment has changed its mind. Maybe Juliette is more than a tortured soul stuffed into a poisonous body. Maybe she’s exactly what they need right now.

Juliette has to make a choice: Be a weapon. Or be a warrior.

In this electrifying debut, Tahereh Mafi presents a world as riveting as The Hunger Games and a superhero story as thrilling as The X-Men. Full of pulse-pounding romance, intoxicating villainy, and high-stakes choices, Shatter Me is a fresh and original dystopian novel—with a paranormal twist—that will leave readers anxiously awaiting its sequel.

My Thoughts: So it was Rogue’s origin story from the Marvel universe. You cannot get me to read a book like this and expect me not to make every comic book reference in the world to it. My husband owns a comic book shop. This book overlaps with so many comic book storylines it becomes literally impossible to read.

**Spoiler Alert**

Let’s start from the beginning. I first heard about Tahereh Mafi when the publishing world was making a big deal out of her back in March. She got a 6 figure deal for this book. Stan Lee will probably have a heart attack if he reads it. I thought back then that I’d give her a shot. I saw the trailer for it and thought okay awesome, girl who has the touch of death.

And then I read the book, and this girl is like Rogue, except Rogue’s name was Marie, not Juliette actually. Adam Kent’s real name is Clark Kent everyone, and Castle is actually Jean Gray / Charles Xavier. Winston is Dr. Reed from Fantastic Four and I think Warner would make a great Magneto.

The first 75% of this book is amazing. The writing is jarring, beautiful, intense, different. It goes to show that weak female characters CAN dominate a book. That crying, vomiting and collapsing can actually work rather well for a female character.

The dystopian world is better thought out than most I’ve read, a lot of them skim over the details but Tahereh includes many things that you wouldn’t expect. Not sure how long it’s been though since the world ended or how far in the future we are or what not, but there is a lot that is noticeably different about the world.

But then the plot kind of shoots that out of the sky and makes fireworks with it. Juliette/Rogue is locked up, then a boy named Adam Kent/Clark Kent comes to stay locked up with her for 3 weeks tops. Then Juliette is brought out of solitude only to be confronted with Warner/Magneto who wants her to kill/torture people for him. She’s given better stuff which includes dresses. She’s also forced to test out her abilities with a few people, one a soldier, and one a baby. Not only can she drain people’s life force with her touch, she can break concrete with her bare hands. She doesn’t agree to do anything for Warner. She finds out Adam can touch her, and their favorite place to touch is fully clothed in the shower. Maybe 7 or 8 weeks later, she and Superman escape, run as far as they can.

And so the Reestablishment is after them. Adam gets shot, then locked up and tortured. An asian guy that talks like a black guy and is also named Kenji shows up and offers some comic relief. He was my favorite character. Most for the “Holy shit you can touch her bro?” Yeah and the amount of other opportunities he finds to say bro and to curse in a YA friendly manner.

Kenji/Susan Storm/Invisible Girl (except he’s clearly a boy) says he knows a place they can go, a safe place. So they get there and it’s basically an underground version of The Institute for Gifted Young Ones from X-Men. Straight down to Winston/Dr. Reed that can wrap his arms around his waist twice, Castle with his telekinetic abilities and also his obvious stronghold of power on the place, Kenji/Susan Storm with his invisibility powers and 56 others with abilities like Juliettes.

And if that wasn’t enough to make this book nose dive for me, let’s add a purple super suit that may as well have been made by Edna off the Incredibles. It heats up and cools down with the temperatures and will make sure Juliette doesn’t hurt anyone with her gift.

Yep, I even imagined Edna’s accent when Castle was explaining the suit to Juliette.

All she needs now is her superhero name.

*sigh* I loved the writing, I loved the pain, I loved the romance, but why why why why why did this have to be X-Men, The Incredibles, The Hulk, Superman, and Fantastic Four wrapped up into one book?

All I need to know is why? Why take something that could have been so good and make it into superficial, stereotypical, superhero soup? That’s just not fair.

Namaste,
Rhi

P.S. The “touch of death”? Metaphysically speaking, doesn’t work like that either. It’s more like Poison Ivy’s Kiss of Death, where it infects you and then slowly, but surely you’re dying and you don’t know why. It doesn’t just hurt like hell to touch their skin, it actually doesn’t feel like much at the time, but the after effects are deadly.

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