While I was wrapped up in the relationships morphing throughout the story, eventually Juliette as an individual started to piss me off a bit. While it is her story and we’re viewing the world through her lens, there’s only so much angst I can take that revolves around self-chastisement and internal wavering. She is no longer the lost and lonely girl who we met in the first novel; she is part of a society with others she can identify with and who support her in a multitude of ways.
Kenji might be my favourite character. He definitely is in the moment quoted above. I think I literally cheered out loud when he laid it out for Juliette like that. Of course her life isn’t suddenly a cakewalk, but there are bigger things going on; she’s getting lost in the minutiae of the negatives she’s personally experiencing and forgetting that there’s still a big, bad world out there that’s falling apart. I think I’d be more forgiving if this characterisation were happening in a contemporary tale, but as it’s in a dystopian world it elicited a harsher reaction from me.
I know people had a similar problem with Tris in Insurgent. When I talked about that book, I noted that I also found her character frustrating at times, but it was in a way that I actually loved. I don’t want to compare everything about these two trilogies (especially since I’m biased with Divergent as my favourite), but I feel it’s pertinent to note that what made Tris’ shortcomings more bearable than Juliette’s, for me, was the balance they had with what was happening in the overarching plot line. In fact her feelings were sometimes mirrored in the societal developments. In the Shatter Me series, I feel that the plot is not strong enough to buoy this lead character’s downfalls.
Tyler Knott Gregson writes ALL THE PRETTY WORDS.
“Hope. It’s like a drop of honey, a field of tulips blooming in the springtime. It’s fresh rain, a whispered promise, a cloudless sky, the perfect punctuation mark at the end of a sentence. And it’s the only thing keeping me afloat.”