Ratings: 5/5 ☕☕☕☕☕
Before I start my review…
Oookay now that we’ve got that out of the way, let’s move on to the actual review, shall we?
When I read Shatter Me, I knew that Tahereh Mafi was a brilliant writer, but I never knew exactly how talented she actually is until I read Destroy Me—a novella from the perspective of Warner, a ruthless powerful young man of questionable sanity. And while this book did meet all of my expectations, there were still many things that I honestly didn’t see coming (the revelation of Warner’s personality and his character arc, for example) despite the foreshadowing in the first book. All things considered, Destroy Me is a novella you must read if you are going to be continuing with this series.
The Writing: Unlike in Shatter Me, Destroy Me is written in a completely different style—and yet the writing is so resounding that you can actually feel what it is like to be in the protagonist’s shoes. The contrast between Mafi’s writing style in the first installment and in the first novella is what amazed me; I guess I was expecting a poetic prose full of metaphors and similes like I read in Shatter Me, but I was pleasantly surprised to see none of that. It helped make being in Warner’s mind feel more real. Usually, I get worried when writers change POVs; they are always in danger of making each character’s “voice” sound the same, especially if it is a female author writing from a boy’s perspective–they cannot always make it sound right. But that didn’t happen here. In fact, there were several parts where Warner’s feelings for Juliette felt exactly the way I’d imagine a boy would feel for a girl he’s in love with, and while it wasn’t too exaggerated, it was not exactly too subtle either.
Every nerve ending in my body is awake. I’ve never felt so alive or so desperate in my life,
and I’m sure if she could hear what I’m thinking right now, she’d run out the door and never
Because I want her.
Definitely not subtle.
To sum it up, Mafi’s writing continues to be as captivating as it was in the first book, and although the description was minimal I could still see everything happening around Warner as if it was happening around me. It was very compelling, and I honestly can’t find even a minor flaw with it.
The Characters: On finishing the first book I had a feeling that Warner would be portrayed as a love interest for Juliette–an idea that I’ll admit I was not quite fond of, because although I do like the bad boys I don’t always like to see them as love interests. Also, I am not quite fond of love triangles either.
So I wasn’t surprised to see Mafi trying to portray him in a redeeming light in Destroy Me. What did surprise me was the way my feelings for him changed. It is because of this reason that I would recommend anyone reading the Shatter Me series to read this book–Destroy Me is like a revelation of a character who is completely misunderstood. It’s a cliché, but it works here. All the things that had put me off the idea of Warner and Juliette as a couple were resolved here–it is quite clear now that Warner’s intentions for getting Juliette and trying to force her to harness her powers wasn’t at all what we were led to believe.
My research had led me to her files by pure accident. Coincidence. I did not seek her out
in search of a weapon; I never had. Far before I’d ever seen her on film, and far, far before I
ever spoke a word to her, I had been researching something else. For something else.
My motives were my own.
Utilizing her as a weapon was a story I fed to my father; I needed an excuse to have access
to her, to gain the necessary clearance to study her files. It was a charade I was forced
to maintain in front of my soldiers and the hundreds of cameras that monitor my existence. I
did not bring her on base to exploit her ability. And I certainly did not expect to fall for her in
But these truths and my real motivations will be buried with me.
I also loved how Juliette doesn’t really change Warner, despite his weakness for her. I am honestly a little tired of seeing how someone who is the polar opposite of another character goes through an extreme personality makeover out of love. It was nice to see that on the inside Warner has always believed in the same things as Juliette to a certain degree, but it is clear that he is tied to The Reestablishment merely out of despair and because it is really all he has ever known. He is not exactly an antagonist, and while he would never hurt Juliette, he is kind of walking that blurred line that separates the good guys from the bad guys. This was refreshing for a change. I don’t mean to sound preachy, but human nature isn’t really definite–everyone is good in some way and not so much in other ways–and I like to see that every now and then in book characters as opposed to characters who are completely innocent and pure while others are just evil and dreadful.
I’m well aware that the majority of my soldiers steal from our storage compounds. I oversee
our inventory closely, and I know that supplies go missing all the time. But I allow these
infractions because they do not upset the system…
But there are some things I do not forgive.
I don’t consider myself a moral man. I do not philosophize about life or bother with the
laws and principles that govern most people. I do not pretend to know the difference between
right and wrong. But I do live by a certain kind of code. And sometimes, I think, you have to
learn how to shoot first.
Seamus Fletcher was murdering his family. And I shot him in the forehead because I
thought it’d be kinder than ripping him to pieces by hand.
Speaking of antagonists, we get to see the real mastermind pulling Warner’s strings in Destroy Me–his abusive, monstrous, father. Again, this is another cliché–all YA books seem to be full of god-awful parents–but like I said once before, I don’t have anything against tropes if they are written well enough. And in Destroy Me, this particular trope was very well written. I am not a violent person at all, but reading about Warner’s father made me want to put a bullet in his head.
Another character that we get to see a little bit of is Delalieu. I loved his character–he is the kind of person you just want to be very nice to and have a little chat with–and I loved Warner’s relationship with him. It was endearing and it showed that in his own way, Warner did care about his soldiers–well, the ones who didn’t want him to drop dead.
Other than these, there weren’t really much characters in this novella either, mostly because this novella is focused entirely on a single character. And it works, you know. It helped me to get more involved with the series in general and all things considered, I’d say I am completely fine with the small cast of characters in this series.
The Plot: Since this book is centered around a single character–his thoughts, his emotions–there wasn’t much here in terms of action. However, we did get to see a lot more of the dystopian world in which the book is set, as well as a sneak peek into what is about to come in Unravel Me. And if Tahereh Mafi keeps her promise, there is going to be tons of action in the sequel.
The romance was comparatively downplayed, what with Juliette having run off with Adam and Kenji, but it was still just enough for you to remember which genres this book belongs to, and enough for me to start shipping Warner and Juliette.
She is a soft, deadly creature. Kind and timid and terrifying. She’s completely out of control
and has no idea what she’s capable of. And even though she hates me, I can’t help but be
fascinated by her. I’m enchanted by her pretend-innocence; jealous, even, of the power she
wields so unwittingly. I want so much to be a part of her world. I want to know what it’s like to
be in her mind, to feel what she feels. It seems a tremendous weight to carry.
And now she’s out there, somewhere, unleashed on society.
What a beautiful disaster.
Yep. I am shipping them. I am shipping them so hard.
Sadly, I have yet to see the sci-fi in this book. In my opinion, you cannot call a book sci-fi by simply including characters with superpowers–there has to be a minimum amount of explanation behind the abilities. I guess I was hoping to see just a tad bit more explanation than we got in Shatter Me but I didn’t. I’d say I was disappointed, but when you consider all the other good things about this book, you can easily ignore this as a minor flaw.
The Ending: I fell so much in love with Warner that I honestly cannot imagine a good way to end Destory Me, even though I am glad that it wasn’t stretched out. As far as endings go, this was as good as it can get.
So the big question: Do I recommend this? Hell yeah! In fact, I’d make this book mandatory for anyone reading the Shatter Me series if I could. And that’s a lot coming from me because I rarely read novellas. In this case though, its clear that the novella is just as important as the books. Five coffee cups for Destroy Me!
And now I will go back to my shameless fangirling over Warner.