Friday, February 21, 2014

Rachel Rambles About Ignite Me

Ignite Me by Tahereh Mafi (Shatter Me #3)
From Goodreads:
The heart-stopping conclusion to the New York Times bestselling Shatter Me series, which Ransom Riggs, bestselling author of Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children, called "a thrilling, high-stakes saga of self-discovery and forbidden love"

Juliette now knows she may be the only one who can stop the Reestablishment. But to take them down, she'll need the help of the one person she never thought she could trust: Warner. And as they work together, Juliette will discover that everything she thought she knew-about Warner, her abilities, and even Adam-was wrong.

In Shatter Me, Tahereh Mafi created a captivating and original story that combined the best of dystopian and paranormal and was praised by Publishers Weekly as "a gripping read from an author who's not afraid to take risks." The sequel, Unravel Me, blew readers away with heart-racing twists and turns, and New York Times bestselling author Kami Garcia said it was "dangerous, sexy, romantic, and intense." Now this final book brings the series to a shocking and climactic end.

*sighs* Oh, Shatter Me series. Where do I even begin?

When I first read Shatter Me a few years ago, I fell in love with it. I was convinced it was one of the best books in the entire world, and I forced it upon all of my friends and family. I gushed about how much I loved it on the internet, unable to contain my excitement about what I believed to be a truly amazing book.

Since my first time reading Shatter Me, I've changed a lot. It's been over three years since I've read it, and three years is a lot of time. The gap between a 14-year-old and a 17-year-old is quite large, and I am very different from the 14-year-old who originally fell in love with this book. So I guess it's not that surprising that my opinion of the Shatter Me series has changed and evolved as time went on. 

When I look back at Shatter Me, I no longer see the fantastic, groundbreaking book that I once thought it was. I do, however, see a good book, with a beautiful writing style and intriguing story of a girl locked in a cell for 264 days, unable to touch anyone without killing them. Those are the things that I still like about the story. But as I read Unravel Me and gave this series more thought, I realized that those were pretty much the only things I liked. And even the writing style grew to be too much for me; I thought of it as being too dramatic, almost cringe-worthy, instead of beautiful and unique and poetic. After finishing Unravel Me, I decided that the only thing I really enjoyed about the book was Warner, because I think he's a really interesting character. Shatter Me intrigued me because of the story of a girl with a touch that can kill, locked in a cell and slowly losing her mind. But once Juliette got herself out of that situation, I found that there wasn't much else about the story that impressed me.

Clearly, I have some complicated and mixed feelings about this series, and I doubt I'm explaining them the right way. But I wanted to attempt to give an explanation of my experience with this series before I share my thoughts on Ignite Me, so that I can provide some context.

Ignite Me was really fun to read. While I don't love this series as much as I once loved the first book, there's no denying the fact that these books are fun to read, and they entertain me. In Ignite Me, Juliette seems to get her crap together, which was a relief after Unravel Me, where she spent most of the book whining about her life. Because of this, I found Ignite Me to be a lot easier to read than Unravel Me.

I think the most important thing about Ignite Me is Juliette's relationship with Warner. This was interesting to me since Warner is my favorite character in the series, and I think he's really complex and well-written, so I enjoyed reading about the two of them actually having honest conversations with each other and getting to know each other. However, I can't help but feel like their relationship should not have been the most important thing about Ignite Me. This is, of course, the last book in the Shatter Me series. As the conclusion to a trilogy, I think Ignite Me should have focused on, oh, I don't know, THE FREAKING WAR. Not Juliette's love life! There is a war to fight, a rebellion to lead, and yet, much of Ignite Me follows Juliette and her friends sitting around, talking and joking and not accomplishing much of anything. The ending of the book--and the entire series--seemed to come together too quickly and too easily, as if it was an afterthought, paling in comparison to Juliette's drama in her personal life.

While this was frustrating to read, it didn't bother me all that much. As I said, these books are fun to read, and so with Ignite Me, all I really wanted was to read a book that would keep me entertained. That's what Ignite Me did, and while I wish there had been a big, epic conclusion involving the important parts of the story instead of the romance, I don't really need that from this series. The Shatter Me series is fun to read, but I'm not expecting anything deep and thought-provoking, you know? I really just wanted a few hours of entertainment with Ignite Me, and that's exactly what I got. So if that's what you want from this book, then you probably won't mind the lack of An Actual Important Plot.

Ignite Me is not a bad book. It has some romance and sexytimes that I really enjoyed reading about, and since I think Warner is such an awesome character, I love that he has such a big role in this book. However, while pretty much every other conclusion to a dystopian series actually, like, concludes stuff and involves wars and rebellions and struggles, Ignite Me pretty much ignores all that stuff to focus on the romance. If you're looking for answers about the world of Shatter Me and the oppressive government and what will happen after the series, then you will be disappointed. But if you don't really care about that stuff and simply want to read something fun about your favorite characters from the series, then you'll probably be pleased with Ignite Me.

Again, I have some mixed feelings about this series. Honestly, at this point, I probably wouldn't recommend these books to many people. I still think Shatter Me is a very good book, although not nearly as amazing as I once thought it was. I did not like Unravel Me very much, except for maybe Chapter 62. (hehehehe :D) While Ignite Me was fun to read, I wouldn't call it a fantastic book.

I think the main thing I got out of this series is that it's kind of fascinating how much you can change in just a few years. Three years ago, I had different reading tastes, different standards, and different experiences. All of these things affect my reading more than I ever imagined they would, and if not for the Shatter Me series, I might not have noticed these changes. So don't get me wrong, I don't hate the Shatter Me series. If anything, I'm grateful to these books for showing me how much I've changed in the past three years. I had an interesting and very personal experience with this series, and its conclusion leaves me feeling bittersweet.

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