Destroy Me – Tahereh Mafi (Review)

Title: Destroy Me (Shatter Me, 1.5)
Author: Tahereh Mafi
Publisher: HarperTeen, 2012
Genre: YA Dystopian, YA Science Fiction, YA Novella 

This review can be found on my BlogTeacherofYA’s Tumblr, or my Goodreads page


My Review:

The book is so short I couldn’t even put it in a “Currently Reading for Review” post. It’s a novella set between the events of Shatter Me and Ignite Me, but from Warner’s POV (he’s the “bad guy”). I’m not too keen on novellas and rarely read them, but it was available at the library and gave me a glimpse into the workings of the supposedly evil Warner, who kidnaps Juliette to make her the ultimate weapon because her touch can kill.

Btw, there’s really no “spoilers” here because this 111 page novella just gives a glimpse into what Warner does while trying to find the missing Juliette. This is safe to read after reading Shatter Me. If you haven’t read that, then yes, there might be some spoilers.

I actually liked it, because it made me understand and actually sympathize with the villain. Lots of times we think of them as soulless or just purely evil. But as we learned from Fairest, the book in The Lunar Chronicles that takes us back to Queen Levana before the main story takes place, the villain usually has a small nugget of good inside of them…but it has been warped over time. There rarely is such a thing as a truly evil villain, and books that have them show such a one-dimensional character. A dynamic character has some sort of internal struggle or turmoil, and Destroy Me allows us to see that part of Warner:

I only wanted to watch her interact with someone. I wondered if she’d seem different; if she’d shatter the expectations I’d already formed in my mind by simply having a normal conversation. But watching her talk to someone else made me crazy. I was jealous. Ridiculous. I wanted her to know me; I wanted her to talk to me. And I felt it then: this strange, inexplicable sense that she might be the only person in the world I could really care about.

Warner starts to realize that he is jealous of Juliette and Adam. He knows he feels something for Juliette, but he’s not sure what, and he’s angry that she has gone off with Adam instead of staying with him. Warner seems to think Juliette might be able to connect with him and that they would understand each other, and we see start to see the similarities between their childhoods:

There was a time when things were better, when my father wasn’t always so angry. I was about four years old then. He used to let me sit on his lap and search his pockets. I’d get to keep anything I wanted as long as my argument was convincing enough. It was his idea of a game. 

But this was all before.

His father is an evil man, and really is the type of one-dimensional bad guy that enjoys torturing his son. He smiles while choking him during one part of the novella, and we see why Warner is so broken:

On the battlefield, I’m able to disconnect myself from the motions I’ve been taught to memorize. I’ve developed a reputation as a cold, unfeeling monster who fears nothing and cares for less. 

But this is all very deceiving. 

Because the truth is, I am nothing but a coward.

He puts up a strong façade to make himself feared, but he wishes mainly that he would just die and not have to live to see the suffering that he has put people through. I started to really feel bad for him and understood that all he really needs is someone to just love him.

When he finds Juliette’s journal from the time she was in the asylum, he can’t help but read every page, every single passage:

It’s strange being in her head without being able to see her. I feel like she’s here, right in front of me. I feel like I now know her so intimately, so privately. I’m safe in the company of her thoughts; I feel welcome, somehow. Understood. So much so that some days I manage to forget that she’s the one who put this bullet hole in my arm. 

I almost forget that she still hates me, despite how hard I’ve fallen for her. 

And I’ve fallen. 

So hard.

He’s smitten: and because of this, he is losing control. He sums it up in a perfectly beautiful way (I can’t help quoting because it just shows so much about his character:

I’ve felt shame and cowardice, weakness and strength. I’ve known terror and indifference, self-hate and general disgust. I’ve seen things that cannot be unseen. And yet I’ve known nothing like this terrible, horrible, paralyzing feeling. I feel crippled. Desperate and out of control. And it keeps getting worse. Every day I feel sick. Empty and somehow aching. 

Love is a heartless bastard. 

I’m driving myself insane.

Is It Classroom-Appropriate?

Yes, but it would only work in context with the other book. Otherwise, reading it would make no sense. So I would skip this novella for anything but a case study in “bad guy” behavior. For narrative writing, this can be an effective tool. This prevent young writers (and older ones, too) from falling into the trap of making your antagonist static instead of dynamic. It’s good to have a complex character as the villain. It makes them more interesting.

Age Range:

I would say the same for Shatter Me, which is 14 and up. Lexile.com has it at that age, with a score of HL650L. So obviously for mature readers even though the reading content is easy enough for younger readers. (This is common as I have mentioned the meaning of the HL in the scores before…but just in case, I always try to include an explanation for it). But this novella is too short to include anything offensive or inappropriate: however, it is attached to a series meant for a YA age range of 14 and up.

End Result:

Reading this has sparked my interest in finishing the Shatter Me series. I have the next book, but I’ve been trying to go in order of due date, and this one just happens to be due back in 2 days. So I got it read, and now I can return it because others are waiting for it. (I’m a compassionate reader, you know…I know how it feels to be waiting for a title for FOREVER, so once a book is done I return it ASAP)

Are any of you planning to read Shatter Me? If you do, read this novella. I don’t know if I’ll make a habit of it, but the premise on this one was just too tempting…so read this afterward to help you gain some insight into Warner’s mind! 

★★★★★. Even though it’s a novella. It was just so worth my time, so I have to give it a fair rating!!

*This covers my #ReadThemAllThon badge for Cerulean City*


It did not make me cry, but I thought it would. Two badges down…

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49 thoughts on “Destroy Me – Tahereh Mafi (Review)

  1. I do like to read the villain’s perspective too. The Fairest was really a great read. I want to read this series. I have seen many bloggers liked it. And guess what? since you mentioned about Edelweiss until now, I have finally been granted a title (after 2 rejections) for The Thousandth Floor. If you would like to give Edelweiss a try again, maybe try this book and we can buddy read 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Congrats! You’re doing way better than me on NetGalley, but I’m proud of you!! RantandRaveAboutBooks is going to do a post about Edelweiss, and we had the idea that we would get approved for more books if we as a community were all friends, so it looks like we have a large reach to spread the word! The we can get Galleys all the time!

      Liked by 1 person

    2. No, I can only see what you’re reading, and any reviews you have posted. Looked like A Study in Charlotte, The Thousandth Floor, and there was one I can’t remember. That’s all I could see. But apparently Edelweiss is releasing a new user-friendly page soon: the old sucks big time! I can’t change anything at all or make a better profile. And when I started I had no idea what I was doing. Maybe I’m doing something wrong? Idk. I’ll have to play around with it in the morning. Let me know what you find out!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. A study in Charlotte is what I requested but got rejected. I can’t figure out how to add profile picture. Yeah, this site is not user friendly. I requested two of the same books you had in your highly anticipated 😊 we’ll see how that goes

        Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ve seen several people not like this series. That’s ok with me because I could see people not liking it. I’m just a weirdo!
      Hey, this was my Cerulean Gym, Cascade Badge, so I’m keeping track until you get back!!

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    1. Thank you, and I say go for it. If you don’t like it, just DNF it. I’d rather try it than not when it comes to a book. A lot of books people don’t like I end up loving, and a lot of books people love just aren’t up my alley. People loved Court of Fives, but I wasn’t thrilled with it. It was very strange with an unlikable protagonist. But so many people enjoyed it. So I don’t know. Same with Seeker. Wasn’t for me, but people are raving about it. I thought the premise was far-fetched and not fleshed out well enough. But I guess we all like different things! 😏

      Liked by 1 person

      1. That’s true. A lot of the time I worry when a book gets too much hype, because a lot of the things that get popular are not really what I’m thinking of in terms of *good*. Maybe I still enjoy them, but they don’t hit the favorites list. I haven’t checked out Court of Fives yet, but it’s been talked about a lot and I think it’s been tossed on my back burner for a while lol. But I will definitely check out the Shatter Me books! Eventually. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m not super big on novellas either but it sounds like this one’s quite good! I haven’t read the series, but I enjoy the quotes that you’ve included, even if they don’t make 100% sense to me. 😛

    Should I pick up this series? I’ve read a couple of quotes from Shatter Me and I feel like the writing’s *too* pretty for me – like the words are beautiful but they don’t always make sense in the sentence. D:

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s mainly because she’s been so isolated most of her life. Because her touch can kill, everyone thought she was weird and crazy, and in the beginning she is locked up in an asylum, so it makes the writing reflect her state of mind. At first, it was a little strange to see strings of sentences crossed out. But then I realized I was reading her journal and her unfiltered thoughts, and it made more sense: like you have a thought and then immediately dismiss it. I truly liked the book, but some didn’t. I don’t know why, 🤔

      Like

      1. Yeah, I heard about that! Hmm, I’ve read both positive and negative reviews and I feel like the people who didn’t like the book didn’t jive well with the writing – like it was too flowery for them? I can see this being my problem with it as well because while I like pretty writing, too much of the pretty (and not enough of the substance) can ruin a book for me. 😛

        Liked by 1 person

    2. I would recommend trying like, three chapters, because the writing goes from insane thoughts to regular ones, and I never really saw much flowery writing except for when she was slowly going crazy. But we all have such varied tastes. And I always say you won’t know till you’ve tried it! 😉

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  3. Annie

    Wow, awesome review! I don’t think I’ve ever read any novella :O But I need to start changing my reading habits, it seems like I always read the same stuff! Didn’t know these series!

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  4. This is a great review, I really loved this series and this novella as well and I agree with a lot of the points you made in this review as well.
    It was interesting seeing things from Warner’s POV because like you said it’s rare we get to see into the villains mind. It was actually this novella that made me start rooting for Warner throughout the series. I did not like him at all in Shatter Me but reading Destory me I slowly learnt to love his character! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Not yet…I have some time on it, and I always go in order of what is due back first. But tomorrow I pick up a couple of books…and I promised I wouldn’t request anymore, so I’m bad. But I swear I’m catching up…kinda. Maybe.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Thank you! It does suck to have to stop reading your series in the middle, like if you started it and then book two is available later…but it is much better to make sure you don’t have to scramble to get books read and not have time. Though because I have so many galleys, it interferes with my due dates, so I’m glad the last two books I read were galleys that I finished reviews for. So now I can focus on my library books and a coulee from NG that I still have time on!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yeah I was lucky enough to be able to read the whole series in one go, one book after the other. I try and do that with a lot of series where all the books have been released just because I’m really not a patient person!
        I don’t have many galley’s due but I have a couple outstanding I’m going to try and get read and reviewed this upcoming week. Then yeah like you I can focus on other books on my to-read list! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

    3. You sound like me! I seriously do the same thing. Sometimes though, when I’m in a series, I take a random break and read something totally different just to get out of the story world…it’s like, too intense sometimes, to stay in it, you know?

      Liked by 1 person

    4. I guess it’s just me…I’ve always had a very active empathy when it comes to books and movies. When I’m done watching a movie, it takes me awhile to go back to normal…I’m like stuck in the story world for hours. It’s probably because I was alone a lot growing up, so I watched a lot of movies and read a lot, and was completely checked out of the real world. I had a tv in my room, which back then most kids didn’t have, and I would come home from school and start watching movies or reading until it was way late. Now if it gets too intense in a story or movie (this happens a lot during The Walking Dead), I HAVE to take a reality break. Come up for air, you know?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I do know what you mean, it doesn’t happen for me a lot, no matter how deep I get into some books I’m always able to detach and go about my day to day life. Unless it’s a really emotional one, like The Song of Achilles was for me, I can normally get over books quite quickly and then start the next one, same with movies and TV shows actually!

        Liked by 1 person

    5. I envy you. But I’m sure most people are like that.
      But for example, I just finished The Fox Inheritance, and I was going to read the last book in the series, but I was able to get it renewed at the library (as long as there are no holds on the book, they usually let me renew twice instead of once), so now it’s not due immediately anymore. But others are. So I’m going back to the Shatter Me series. It’s just my way of handling the craziness of the book world I guess.
      ::shrugs::
      I used to binge a series for a long time, but after Twilight, nothing seemed the same, and I found myself seeking out books that were Twilight rip-offs. You know what? It’s probably my OCD…I’m not as bad as my brother, who was diagnosed as a child, but I am pretty bad. So it helps a lot if I skip around. But as I mentioned, I used to do it the same way others do…but I just can’t anymore.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. just learnt that because when I love a book series I really love it I need to have all the books on hand, if not it will just be an unbearable wait to get the next one. That’s a shame about The Fox Inheritance series though, but I guess if you have other books that need to be read first it’ll be better to go onto them won’t it. I hope you enjoy the rest of the Shatter Me series, I can’t wait to see your reviews!
        Oh I’m always binge reading series, Twilight I couldn’t really binge read because I read all the books as and when they came out, but I have with most other series I’ve picked up in the last few years.

        Liked by 1 person

    6. I DID binge-read Twilight, but that was before the library and back when I was working on phones. It was during a time when I was learning what YA offered and I loved Stephenie Meyer. I had read The Host, so I wanted to check it out. After that series, all I wanted to do was recreate the way I felt while reading it, so I kept going to other books that were supposedly similar, and that’s when I really started to branch out in YA. So I thank Twilight for that. And for binge-reading it!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I will admit Stephanie Meyer was the author who introduced me to YA as well, and all it had to offer but now I think I’ve kind of moved past the books a little now!
        That’s the same way I felt, once I finished the Twilight series I went on to binge read all the YA books I could get my hands on, so I guess I should thank Twilight for that as well! 😀

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Yes, Twilight opened our eyes, and I think also made us more discriminating in what is good and what is bad YA lit, you know? I hate the “copycat” versions of books, now that I’ve read the originals!

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