My rating: 4 of 5 stars
The first half of this book was easily a five star read, intriguing and addictive with a style that was truly unique. I felt like it lost focus in the second half but I still can’t wait to read the rest of this series.
Juliette hasn’t touched anyone in exactly 264 days.
The last time she did, it was an accident, but The Reestablishment locked her up for murder. No one knows why Juliette’s touch is fatal. As long as she doesn’t hurt anyone else, no one really cares. The world is too busy crumbling to pieces to pay attention to a 17-year-old girl. Diseases are destroying the population, food is hard to find, birds don’t fly anymore, and the clouds are the wrong color.
The Reestablishment said their way was the only way to fix things, so they threw Juliette in a cell. Now so many people are dead that the survivors are whispering war – and The Reestablishment has changed its mind. Maybe Juliette is more than a tortured soul stuffed into a poisonous body. Maybe she’s exactly what they need right now.
Juliette has to make a choice: Be a weapon. Or be a warrior.
Okay, I know I am very possibly the last person on the planet to actually read this book and everyone is off reading Restore Me the first book in the new trilogy but for some reason I’ve never really been able to find it. It’s one of those series that everyone seems to go on about how much they either love or hate it but while I was really desperate to read it (so I could make up my own mind) it just wasn’t on Amazon (and okay I could have ordered it from somewhere else but I’m lazy).
Needless to say when it popped up on NetGalley I started hammering that request button like a request button hammering machine (these should totally exist) and hurrah my request was approved (thank you NetGalley gods). As you can probably guess I had to start reading it immediately, and from the very first few pages it blew me away.
The style of it is just so unusual but so absolutely brilliant, I loved it. There was a warning at the start from the publisher that there would be crossed out words, numbers and generally just jumbled sentences and repetition and that this was deliberate (I guess some people have complained) and this really intrigued me and I thought worked so well for the story. Main character Juliette has been locked away, completely alone for almost a year so I think having some slightly scatty thoughts should be expected. I’m not sure what this says about me but there was so much I could relate to in terms of how her mind worked. Becoming fixated on things, getting easily distracted by objects that catch your eye and counting when stressed are all things I have been known to do on occasion so for me this seemed, not quite normal but certainly understandable.
This also made me sympathetic towards Juliette from the very beginning and I have to say that as a character I did like her a lot. I felt incredibly sorry for her, the prison spell is just the latest in a long list of bad things that have happened to her, but for the most part I really admired her. It would be so easy for her to be angry or dark but she fights all of the time to be a good person and to not hurt anyone.
The beginning of this book was definitely the highlight for me and I felt certain this was going to be a five star read. I loved the confined setting and the way the relationship between Juliette and her new cell mate Adam develops, I loved the writing style and how stream of conscious-like it was and I loved how the author slowly introduced this dystopian world through Juliette’s memories and Adam’s updates. I even loved when Juliette was plucked from her confinement and given the option of freedom in exchange for working as a weapon for the Reestablishment.
Captor and potential savior Warner is an absolutely wonderful villain. There’s something about him that could most certainly turn you to the dark side even while he’s being completely evil. He can rationalize everything and almost convince you that he’s right. The scenes between him and Juliette were absolutely wonderful. He tempts and torments and somehow worms his way into her mind, promising everything she could ever want while showing her just how dark he is. I really wanted as much of him as possible.
It is however around this point that I felt the book began to lose its way and what began as an intriguing dystopian turned into more of a romance. I do like a good romance and was definitely on board with that ship but it seemed to take over the whole story and was focused on at the most inappropriate of times. Yes, they may be on the run, seriously injured, possibly dying but let’s just have a big long conversation about our feelings, rather than ya know running, getting help. Added to this the wonderful style used in the beginning was gradually phased out as Juliette became used to being around other people. I do understand this, it makes sense with the story but combined with the focus on the relationship it became a little bit average (sorry).
It is for the most part an intriguing and exciting story and had the focus not shifted this would have received the full five stars from me but unfortunately the second half was a little too heavy on the romance (and I read a lot of romance). I am however very excited about reading the rest of the books in the series and pre ordered the lot. I’m keeping everything crossed it returns to form, I really think it will.
Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me with a copy of this book. As always this has not influenced my review.