First Lines: I don’t wake up screaming anymore. I do not feel ill at the sight of blood. I do not flinch before firing a gun. I will never again apologize for surviving.
As I was walking around the library, I came across this. Now, I know I’ve been out of the YA game for a little while (like an 9 month hiatus to read mostly nonfiction), but I was a little surprised to see it. And more than that, excited to jump back into Juliette’s world.
*Potential Series Spoilers Ahead*
Juliette Ferrars thought it was over. She’d won Sector 45, was named Supreme Commander, and had the love of her life by her side. She can still kill with the touch of her hand, but her control is strong. But suddenly the ground is shifting underneath her. Juliette thought ruling would be easy–but when the realities of the job and tragedies all strike at once, what is she going to do?
Like basically everyone, I assumed this series was over after 3 books.
I sort of wish I could go back in time.
I’ve always respected Juliette in this series. To have risen from her horrific beginning to become the strong, incredible leader she was was amazing. And her metaphorical, lyrical way of describing everything was nothing short of beautiful. Like, I would get some of her quotes tattooed on my body beautiful.
So it’s really unfortunate that basically everything I loved about Juliette wasn’t present in this book. As the Supreme Commander of Sector 45, Juliette is now treated like an imbecile because she doesn’t know how to rule a country. And that completely disregards the fact that no one is telling her anything. They’re making her look stupid, so she feels weak and stupid rather than the brave, powerful girl she is. It was disheartening and difficult to read. Not to mention her lyrical observations are also gone. I don’t know if that’s a reflection of her sanity, her practicality as a ruler, or laziness on the author’s part. But I missed it.
And as far as the other characters go, I feel like we saw remarkably little of any of them besides Warner, who was really the only one that I actually liked reading about in this book. Even Kenji, who is so hysterically funny when he wants to be, seemed muted.
The plot, to me, seemed fractured. If you asked me to summarize this story, I’m not sure I could. There’s so much going on that I wouldn’t even know where to begin. And the fact that none of them are really resolved only makes it worse. But it basically started to focus on one thing, then, because the story flips between Juliette and Warner narrating every like 10 pages, it jumps to whatever the other one is doing at that time. Like a broken mirror, the pieces of this story were everywhere and it was hard to keep track of all of the parts.
It just seemed forced. So much of this story was, “Oh, you’ve never heard of this? Yeah, it’s been around forever.” Which, in a way, was understandable given Juliette’s background. However, it seemed so fake. No one treated her–the Supreme Commander–like she was worth respecting.
What I will say for this book is that, as always, the suspense is there. Even when I didn’t want to keep reading, I was still thinking about where the story would go. And that ending…let it never be said that Tahereh Mafi doesn’t know how to end a book on a cliffhanger.
But all in all, I kind of wish I’d just let Juliette’s story end before this.