Title // Defy Me
Author // Tahereh Mafi
Publisher // HarperTeen
Publication Date // April 2nd, 2019
Synopsis // 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.
My Rating: ★★☆☆☆ (1.5)
This was such a let down I’m left wallowing in my feelings and contemplating what could have been. After finishing this book, I went to the Goodreads page and I was so surprised to see the average rating is 4.2 and there are a lot of reviews gushing about it? I was hoping that it would be good, considering I loved the original trilogy, but I really think this trilogy should have been left as a trilogy.
I don’t know why the books needed to be extended, but this book was completely unnecessary. I don’t recall what I thought of book four, and I really vaguely barely remember what happened, but going back and reading this one, I don’t care. In 350 pages, nothing really happened.
Seriously, you could probably just skip the first 100 pages of this book and not miss anything. Most of those pages are just flashbacks from Juliette and Warner’s past lives. Flashbacks that I really didn’t care about, that didn’t contribute anything to the plot, and that I started to skim after the first 20 pages of them or so.
Basically the only thing the flashbacks tells you is that Juliette/Ella and Warner used to be friends when they were kids. When reading these, I honestly felt like I was back as my middle school self reading a Wattpad fanfic with unnecessary flashbacks showing us about how lovers were childhood best friends and therefore they are soulmates. I don’t care. Juliette and Warner’s relationship was built up over the course of three fantastic books (the original trilogy), and as they got to know each other there and fell in love, I loved them. That’s the backstory I care about, not about their five year old selves having dinner together or whatever.
And speaking of them, I hate to say this but Juliette and Warner became so bland and meh. They spend so much time thinking about each other that they don’t care about other stuff and I’m like… you do realize you’re being held prisoner and there might be more important things, right? Warner is basically a different person–instead of hard, brooding, tough guy who is secretly soft underneath, he’s just pathetic, insecure, lovesick puppy.
This book also had a million plot twists to undo a bunch of development and action that happened in the previous books that I was Not Happy about. Basically in Ignite Me, Juliette and Warner and co overthrow the Reestablishment, assassinate Anderson, and take control. And now, all of that is undone and they’re just fugitives with secret powers in prison while the Reestablishment is in control again and we’ve regressed and why was that necessary? Also, the development between Warner and Adam–completely gone, and Adam is back to being a moody jerk.
The original trilogy was just Juliette’s POV, the previous book (I can’t even remember what it was called whoops) added Warner, and this one also had Kenji!! Kenji is without a doubt, by far, my favorite character, so I loved seeing him here! Unfortunately, having three characters made the plot feel spread too thin and consequently I didn’t care about any of them.
Although split POV works well when characters are together, the three of them were all doing different things and the plot kept jumping around between them so much that I stopped caring about any of them. Particularly since 90% of Juliette and Warner’s chapters for the first half of the book were flashbacks. There were random gaps where stuff happened but we don’t get that, we get random other characters POV.
All the original characters we loved–who are they? This book talks about Juliette, Warner, Kenji, and another character from the last book, Nazeera. Castle, Adam and his brother, Kenji’s friends–all gone! They’re briefly mentioned, but basically they’re all irrelevant now.
Also let’s complain about Juliette’s name change. Juliette is now Ella and everyone calls her that and I’m just like… Listen, do you think that on book 5/6, 8 years after the first book was released is the time to change a character’s name? All the other review on Goodreads say they’re going to keep calling her Juliette, and me too.
This book was such a let down. I enjoyed the first couple books, and really loved the third one!! Honestly, I don’t even know if I’ll read the last book when it comes out next year; I don’t really care what happens to these guys anymore. I half just consider Ignite Me the true ending and don’t believe anything that’s happened in these past two books; but also I can’t care enough to be passionate about that anymore.
1.5 stars rounded up to 2 for Kenji