Book Review

Book Review: Defy Me (Shatter Me #5) by Tahereh Mafi

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: YA Dystopia
Length: 352 pages
Author: Tahereh Mafi
Publisher: HarperTeen
Release Date: April 2nd, 2019
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

The gripping fifth installment in the New York Times, USA Today, and Publishers Weekly bestselling Shatter Me series. Will Juliette’s broken heart make her vulnerable to the strengthening darkness within her?

Juliette’s short tenure as the supreme commander of North America has been an utter disaster. When the children of the other world leaders show up on her doorstep, she wants nothing more than to turn to Warner for support and guidance. But he shatters her heart when he reveals that he’s been keeping secrets about her family and her identity from her—secrets that change everything.

Juliette is devastated, and the darkness that’s always dwelled within her threatens to consume her. An explosive encounter with unexpected visitors might be enough to push her over the edge.

I LOVED THIS.

Note: May be very mild spoilers (mostly who ends up with who) if you haven’t read any of the Shatter Me series. No spoilers about anything else except for some name changes.

I have been waiting for this book for a year. And it was not a let down. YAYAY. I will admit that it read more like a novella (not that I’m complaining – just an observation).

The entire book is essentially a rescue mission. Our three POVs consist of Juliette (further known as Ella) remembering things, escaping, getting to Warner (further known as Aaron). Then, Aaron: remembering, escaping, and finding Ella. Lastly, Kenji discovering all the information E&A are remembering, trying to find them, and then getting them to the next location. So you see, a lot of overlap and lack of big plot movement. This was more dedicated to character development and a lot of information dumping. I know this will divide the camp on who likes this book, but personally, I was into it.

But what DID happen, were these precious little moments of life. Those small and inconsequential things that make my heart smile most. There were empowering moments of Ella realizing her strength and courage. Moments of Aaron harnessing his darkness to find what really matters most. Watching the loving moments between the two and getting to soak up a bit of light before darkness descends.

Characters

Ella. I didn’t see as much of her as I would like, but I loved watching her character evolve. She learned a lot from those around her and being able to really know who she is. I think she’ll really be back at the forefront come book six.

“Aaron Warner Anderson is the only emotional through line in my life that ever made sense. He’s the only constant. The only steady, reliable heartbeat I’ve ever had.”

Aaron. Y’ALL. I LOVE HIM. I FORGOT HOW MUCH I LOVE HIM. I seriously could not handle his sweet, battered soul. Getting a lot more of his back story destroyed me. Because I’m an absolute sucker for love, these were my favorite parts. Watching him with Ella, calling her love and sweetheart. I could go on and on. I love darkened, cinnamon roll characters. He took the parts he was always afraid to show and gave them to Ella and I melted.

“And up until just this moment, I don’t think I was ever truly convinced anyone would see me as human enough to forgive my sins. To give me a second chance.”

Side-ish thing: I love when couples are together before the series is over. Sometimes the entire series focuses on a pair, just getting together. While I think it’s even better when they are together and take on what comes their way. You can be with someone and still be independent and a force on your own. So I hope this remains the theme for the last book.

Kenji. Totally obsessed with him. He is sassy, loyal, witty, and has the best dialogue. I love that we got more POV with him. His vibe with Nazeera is something I am here for. She really grew on me in this book and I liked her presence.

“Thank you for appreciating my face. I’ve always thought I had an underappreciated face.”

There are a lot of loose ends by the last page. I’m totally fine with it because we still have one more book to go. We met some new characters that will be back. Some characters got what they deserved (and others ARE STILL WAITING THEIR IMMINENT DEMISE). Luckily, this book didn’t end on a dramatic cliff-hanger. It was a lovely, quiet moment where I can peacefully wait for the fate of Ella, Aaron, Kenji and their friends.

“Today is not forever. Happiness does not happen. Happiness must be uncovered, separated from skin of pain. It must be claimed. Kept close. Protected.”

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult dystopia
  • Language: a bit (mostly Kenji, haha)
  • Romance: some kisses, a lightly detailed love scene
  • Violence: guns, physical, torture (and memories of torture)
  • Trigger warnings: child abuse (in the severest forms)

Instagram || Goodreads