Review: Defy Me by Tahereh Mafi

Title: Defy Me (Shatter Me, #5)
Author: Tahereh Mafi
Genre: Dystopia, Science Fiction 
Publisher: HarperTeen
Publication Date: April 2nd, 2019
Hardcover, 352 Pages

Summary: 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. 
*This review contains spoilers for the rest of the Shatter Me series so read with caution if you plan on reading!*

TW: There is mentions of suicide 

After the quite literal explosive ending of Restore Me the waiting game for Defy Me was an emotional roller coaster. Tahereh would post excerpts, do Q&As and it was such a tease. I read Shadow Me which is a novella from Kenji's POV and takes place right as Restore Me ends and Defy Me begins, which held me over until I had Defy Me on my kindle. I finished Defy Me in under twenty four hours and that was with taking breaks because my heart was going to explode with the anticipation of what was going to happen next. 

Today is not forever. Happiness does not happen. Happiness must be uncovered, separated from the skin of pain. It must be claimed. Kept close. Protected.

The Shadow Me series has come a long way since book one. When Tahereh revealed there would be three more books I never imagined that the series was going to be taken in this direction.  In the end of Restore Me we learned that Juliette was never actually Juliette a girl born into abusive parents with no clue of her power. Juliette is actually a girl named Ella, who also happens to be the Commander of Oceania's daughter. We learned that her parents donated both her and her sister, Emmaline, to the Reestablishment as part of an experiment. 

Where I found pieces of Restore Me predictable I found nothing about Defy Me predictable. The secrets that are uncovered and the more we learn about Warner and Juliette's tangled past, things that we questioned earlier in the series start to fall into place. I loved how Tahereh used Defy Me as an opportunity to shed a little more light into Warner and Juliette's past. I loved seeing their interactions from the pre-Shadow Me series and everything that led up to the now. 

This is, after all, what we’re fighting for, isn’t it? A second chance at joy.

Mafi didn't fail to deliver on the cryptic secrets of the Reestablishment and astounding her readers. We come face to face with some characters we didn't think we would see again and some new characters that we aren't too sure about. The Omega point gang makes an appearance and Kenji is as lovely and delightful as we all remember. Do I smell a love interest for Kenji? 

One year ago my anxiety was so crippling that five minutes alone with my own mind would leave me spiraling for days. I relied entirely upon my routines and schedules to keep me tethered to the endless horrors of my job and its demands. I spent nearly all my free hours either exercising, in my shooting range, or in the bowels of Sector 45, running training simulations.
I love being inside Warner's mind. Learning in Restore Me that Warner suffers from anxiety and witnessing him have a panic attack in the pages of Restore Me gave me a whole knew love for my favorite character. In Defy Me we see is a change in Warner, not a bad change, but I change that Warner has needed for a long time. I am so happy that Mafi took the time to use to pages of Defy Me to shed more light onto Warner's struggles with anxiety and how far he has come as a character since page one of Shatter Me.  

Overall I really enjoyed Defy Me. My only complaint is I feel like there were some things that Mafi could have explained and expanded on rather then brushed under the rug. Did we forget that Juliette killed a room of 600 people? Besides that I am really excited (but also sadly) looking forward to the conclusion to the Shatter Me series. My fingers are crossed for a happy ending for my favorite characters. 


  1. I'm starting Shatter Me soon. I have some catching up to do!


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