Thursday, February 27, 2014

Ignite Me (Shatter Me #3) by Tahereh Mafi

* * * * 3/4

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.

WOW!!! The description does not lie. Ignite Me is rife with a lot of turmoil and uncertainty but it also comes with a surprising amount of humor.

Last we saw, Juliette was fighting for her life and Warner, with the help of the twins, set about to save her. When Juliette wakes up disoriented, she is greeted by a relieved Warner who has to give her the unfortunate news that the rest of her comrades are dead from the attacks carried out by his psychotic father.  Warner keeps her at his compound, safely hidden from the public eye as she recuperates. Things were already getting complicated between them previously and now they're both doing this awkward dance around each other. He basically lays all his cards on the table for her and she would rather not say anything, well, because she’d have to make up her mind once and for all  Adam or Warner. It’s scary. And it’s Warner for crying out loud!

Anyway, while they’re busy with that, there is the matter of the Reestablishment and what to do about daddy dearest. Juliette firmly believes that she can’t do anything without her friends and with Warner’s help, she seeks them out. The rest of the story is essentially enemies and friends coming together to take down the order that has ruined their lives. Alliances never thought possible are born but that doesn't erase any suspicions or tensions easily.

Speaking of tension, while it’s easy to just zero in on the whole Juliette-Warner-Adam love triangle, Ignite Me is really about Juliette. She’s no longer a dainty wallflower. This is where she realizes her full potential. She’s had enough and wants to get rid of the current regime once and for all. Her conflicted feelings for Adam and Warner may distract her temporarily here and there but manages to find her focus. 

I have to say another of the best parts of Ignite Me has been Kenji, Adam's best friend. He’s a much-needed foil to Juliette’s tendency to live inside her head. Honest to goodness, he had me laughing out loud several times. (Once while I was at my kid’s basketball practice. That earned me a few weird looks. Their loss.)  I have many, many passages in this book highlighted and they’re mostly Kenji’s quotes. Their friendship is built on solid trust and encouragement. It’s heartwarming to see Juliette have that after years of misery and isolation. Her friends mean more to her than the possibility of a relationship with either of the other two men in her life. When she finally figures that mess out, it’s on her terms after she has sorted herself out first. You even notice her change through her language. Gone are the series of repetitive, almost hypnotic thoughts that get scratched out every so often. It’s a rough road with some broken hearts, harsh truths and uncomfortable changes. This new Juliette is a far cry from who we met in Shatter Me and it’s awesome!

The entire series has been an absolute thrill ride with plenty to keep me excited about and on edge. The sexual tension between Juliette/Warner/Adam may have had me swooning but that’s secondary to the real story. Juliette’s hard-fought journey to become the assertive, formidable young woman and warrior that she is in this final installment is what makes Ignite Me impressive.

~ Bel

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