Picking up shortly after where Shatter Me left off, Unravel Me jolts the reader right back into the world of the Reestablishment, and into the mind of one of the most unique protagonists I've ever had the pleasure to read about. Juliette is trying to find a place to belong at Omega Point, but doing so is more difficult than she thought. Immediately as I sank into Tareheh Mafi's second novel, any faint worries I had about a sophomore slump vanished; by the end of Unravel Me, I could say with certainty: it is better than Shatter Me. The stakes are higher. The danger is more prevalent. The decisions Juliette has to make are more wrenching. The romance is swoon-ier.
Everything is heightened in Unravel Me. Juliette's hope is palpable - something I felt keenly thought the novel, mixed in with her despair. Though her narration is more reliable, we still see the dying world through her eyes, and her voice, while strong, is still that of a lost girl. However through Tahereh's story, Juliette grows so much, and learns to own her actions, and becomes less of a victim, which I was proud to see. If possible, this made me like her even more.
The pacing was superb - one of those books where, despite the fact that not much time passed, everything that happened within that time felt realistic and necessary. There's almost a timeless feel to Unravel Me, as though everything is suspended outside of reality - though there's enough going on in the broader plot to remind us of the dangers that the Reestablishment face. There's the threat of war looming, and the question of if the Reestablishment - Juliette included - will be prepared. And then there are the love interests.
There's not much I can say without spoiling key points, but I will say that as much as I loved Juliette and Adam in Shatter Me, Unravel Me adds new depth to their interactions, bringing the development I craved. We gain a great deal of insight into many characters in this book - Adam included. Some questions are answered, while others are posed. Which brings me to Warner. *sighs* Oh Warner. I do this thing where I want to fix all the broken characters, and the same is true here, but in Unravel Me, despite the odds against it, Warner begins to genuinely seek, if not atonement, at least redemption. And it. Was. Beautiful. I don't want to say too much, again - spoilers - on the emerging love triangle, but I will say something happened here that rarely does: I switched sides, and I stand 1000% behind my choice.
Unravel Me is a spellbinding addition to the Shatter Me series that will leave readers breathless. I was moved to the point of tears several times, and wanted to shout my frustration at others. I read this book in one sitting, in a matter of mere hours; it was impossible to look away once I began reading. I'm on the edge of my seat for the final installment!