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Review: Defy Me (Tahereh Mafi)

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Rating: 4 Pfoten

“Whatever, bro. No judgment. The world’s on fire. Have some fun.”

I think that sentence indicates the overall mood of this book, because wow, the world truly is on fire. *lol* Joking aside I’ve to admit that my feelings about “Defy Me” are pretty mixed. On the one hand this was totally not what I expected it to be, but on the other hand it was still good somehow?! I don’t know how to explain this but I was kind of disappointed by how it all turned out, yet at the same time I was going with the flow and enjoyed many scenes and parts of the book.

“Shatter Me” is one of the first series I binged and loved and there’s always this sort of nostalgia when I read another of Mafi’s books. I just love Warner, I adore Kenji and I like Juliette (or Ella) and therefore I’ll always be happy to read more about them. The longer this series continues the more it gets unrealistic and crazy though. And this is me, one of the series biggest fans, speaking their mind. So while I’m all like: Gimmi more!!! I also feel like this series has been going on for too long and that it probably would have been best to stop after book 3. Urgh! I hate myself for even thinking this, but it is the way it is and you all know you’ll always get unapologetic honesty from me. 😉

So did I enjoy “Defy Me”?  Yes and no! Yes, because as I already said I got a lot of my favourite characters and no, because the plot kind of lacked depth? I mean sure, there were quite a lot of revelations but when it comes to the pace it was really slow and there actually didn’t happen a lot. So whilst I enjoy character driven books I still would have liked for the plot to have a little bit more substance. Urgh, look at me trying to find the right words. *lol* Anyway, I still enjoyed it and even though I’m worried about the last book I’ll still read it, because I really hope that Mafi will be able to tie everything up with a nice bow. XD

This said, let’s talk about the characters! And believe me, there’s a lot to talk about! ;-P

2

And here comes another warning: My characters section is full of spoilers and to read through it might kill some of your enjoyment when you actually read the book. This said: Pirates ye be warned! ;-P Proceed at your own risk!

Ella (aka Juliette):

”I had no idea how much we’d lost, no idea how much of him I’d longed for. I had no idea how desperately we’d been fighting. How many years we’d fought for moments – minutes – to be together.”

Now the Juliette – or Ella – in this book was exactly my kind of girl! After reading “Restore Me” I wasn’t happy with the direction in which her character developed, but I’ve to say that I really like that new Ella. XD Maybe it were all those memories that made her stronger or the fact that her biological parents are horrible. No matter what it was, it was really good to see her take control of her life again! That’s what I missed in the other book! Our strong and independent girl that makes decisions and acts on them, throwing all caution into the wind! *lol* Okay, she didn’t throw ALL caution into the wind but she certainly acted more like herself in this one. Then again I suppose to have your memories constantly erased and to be filled with new and torturous memories whenever you’re set back will take a toll on anyone. I mean WTF?! I hate her parents for what they did to her, Emmaline and Warner. And I’m really glad Ella ended Evie. Or did she? Maybe she can heal herself too?! I guess we’ll find out in the last book. For now all I say is: Welcome back, Ella! It’s a pleasure to see you again! 😉

”Aaron?” I say again, this time softly. “Are you all right?”
He blinks, startled. “Yes,” he says, drawing in a sharp breath. “Yes. Yes, I’m perfect.”
I manage a small smile. “I’m glad you finally agree with me.”
He frowns, confused, and then, as realization hits – He blushes.

Warner:

”A profound, painful ache has rooted inside of me, carrying with it the weight of years. Being apart from Juliette –Ella – has always been hard, but now it seems unsurvivable.
I’m being slowly decimated by emotion.”

My sweet, sweet boy and awesomeness on two legs!!! Ahhh he already suffered so much and once again my heart broke for him! ❤ I hate and despise his father so damn much! If he’d spent eternity in hell it still wouldn’t be enough! Still, can I say that I FREAKING LOVED Warner in here?!! I saw so many new sides of his character and I adore them all!!! XD I mean he’s still a tortured soul but behind that perfect and ruined facade of his, he’s actually a funny, strong and sassy boy! I mean Warner getting annoyed because his attempt to kill his father was thwarted was priceless!!! An insult to his skill set!? *LOL* Also: Four books in this series!!! FOUR FREAKING BOOKS and I can’t remember ever hearing Warner curse! Haha! And so typical for him he even bothers to explain it with his special brand of sophisticated dignity and poise! *LOL* So yes, my boy might be tortured and broken but he’s mending and I absolutely love the person he’s becoming. I really thought I couldn’t love him any more than I already do but as it seems Mafi is proving me wrong. ❤ I loved the ending so much because Warner was so happy, which is the reason I’m so damn afraid of the next book. I’m sure it will all go to hell and I just can’t take it. >_< Let Warner be happy, please?!

”Enjoy hell,” I whisper, before walking away.

”Shit.”
“Did you just swear?” Nazeera says, stunned.
“I’m in an extraordinary amount of pain.”
“All right, that’s it, we’re out of time.”

“I can’t remember a single time in my life when someone apologized to me for hurting my feelings. No one has ever cared about my feelings long enough to apologize for hurting them. In my experience, I’m usually the monster. I’m the one expected to make amends.”

“No one warned me about the nightmares, the panic attacks, or the dark destructive thoughts that would follow. No one explained to me how darkness works, how it feasts on itself or how it festers. I hardly recognize myself these days. Becoming an instrument of torture destroyed what was left of my mind.“

Kenji:

”I turn, stare at the wall. I can’t be distracted by her anymore. She knows I’m into her – my infatuation is apparently obvious to everyone within a ten-mile radius, according to Castle – and she’s clearly been using my idiocy to her best advantage.
Smart. I respect the tactic.”

I know a lot of people think that Kenji turned into a completely different person because he’s become more serious and has a lot of depressing thoughts, but what those people don’t keep in mind is that this is only due to the fact that we never got his POV. We only saw Kenji from the outside and the way the characters around him perceive him. Yes, on the outside he’s all smiles and fun but on the inside he’s a very deep character and feels so many different emotions that it’s really painful to see them revealed. In short: He’s human! You can’t always be happy and the part he’s showing the people around him is not how he feels inside. I mean I’m pretty sure about 90% of my friends on here would say I’m a funny and cheerful person, but that doesn’t mean that I’m always like that. I do have my dark days too and it’s the same with Kenji. So yes, he’s different but only because we finally get to see his private feelings, thoughts and fears. 😉 I still love Kenji and I think I love him even more now because I can understand him better. XD

”But right now I’m out of gas. I’m out of James’s jokes. I’m fresh out of fake smiles. Right now I’m nothing but pain and exhaustion and raw emotion, and I don’t have the bandwidth for another serious conversation. I really don’t want to do this right now.”

“Today has been a shitstorm of shit. A tornado of shit. I can’t take it anymore. I don’t know whether to sit down and cry or set something on fire.“

Nazeera:

”None of us got to choose this life. None of us enjoyed being taught to torture before we could even drive. And it’s not insane to imagine that sometimes even horrible people are searching for a way out of their own darkness.”

Nazeera is still some sort of wildcard for me. Yes, we got a little bit more info about her motivations and affiliation but the overall picture of her character is still very blurry. I don’t know why she’s helping them and I want a better reason than the one we were given. Am I really supposed to believe that she only helps them because she sees the errors of the supreme commander’s ways? True, they did a lot of bad things, mostly to Emmaline, Ella and Warner, and okay, she apparently was Emmaline’s best friend, but there’s got to be more to her story! Something must have happened that caused her to join Castle’s camp and I really want to know what! I really hope there’ll be an answer in the last book!

Evie & Max:

”Perhaps it’s impossible for you to understand how I’m feeling right now. Perhaps you don’t care to know the depth of my disappointments. But you and Emmaline are my life’s work.”

I think Evie and Max should go and … you know what I’m about to say, right?! *lol* But seriously, those two are such horrible human beings that I’m actually starting to doubt if they are even human. I mean WTF??!! How could they do that to their own daughters?! I hate them so much and I just want them to burn in hell! Poor Emmaline! The way she lives now… it’s no life at all. It’s torture and Evie and Max are to blame! I really hope Evie is truly dead now but after Anderson came back again I kind of doubt that we really saw the last of her. For Emmaline’s sake I hope that she is but I’m sure Mafi still has something in store for us. >_<

Max smiles wider. “Quite a live, yes. Despite your best efforts to murder him.”
“That seems impossible”
“You sound irritated,” Max says.
“I am irritated. That he survived is an insult to my skill set.”

3

Ella & Warner:

I have to step away from her. “I don’t – “I look at her again. “Are you sure I don’t know you?”
And she smiles. Smiles at me and my heart shatters.
“Trust me,” she says. “I’d remember you.”

YESH!!! MY OTP IS BACK IN THE GAME!!!!! <333 GJAHAHHAHAHAHAH! I’m so happy they are together again and managed to talk it out! I mean they sort of didn’t have to talk it out all too much because Ella’s memories put everything into perspective but they still spoke about their breakup which is good! XD I loved the quote above because it connects us right with the first book and this was done really masterfully! 😉 If there is one thing I didn’t like about “Defy Me”, then it was the fact that it took them so damn long to get together again! I mean they basically only reunite at the end of the book and I really would have liked to have more quiet and tender Ella and Warner moments. There can never be enough happy moments for them. XD Also the plot existed only of them finding together and a few revelations which was kind of minimalistic, but then again I got the impression that this was what you’d call “a filler book” before the finale begins so I suppose now that all the chess figures are in place we’ll get quite the action in the last book. Or at least I hope we do. ;-P Anyway, I kinda dig the idea of them marrying even though I think they are too young. After everything they’ve been through it’s no surprise though. Mhmmm let’s see what Mafi will do with this plot device in “Imagine Me”. *lol*

”Her face is pressed against my neck. She’s clinging to me like she might never let go and it does something to me, something heady, to know that she could possibly want me – or need me – like this. It makes me want to protect her even if she doesn’t need protecting. It makes me want to carry her away. Lose track of time.”

”Sweetheart, I really need to know if this means yes or no –“
“Yes,” I cry, slightly hysterical. “Yes. Yes to everything with you. Yes to forever with you. Yes.”

There’s tragedy and beauty in his eyes: something stoic that refuses to be moved, and something childlike that can’t help but feel joy. He looks, in short, like he’s in pain.
“Aaron,” I whisper. “Is this okay?”
He takes a few seconds to respond, but when he finally does, he nods. Just once – but it’s enough.
“Yes,” he says softly. “This is okay.”

Ella & Kenji:

”Can we cry about it later? I’ll tell you everything.”
“Hell yeah we can cry about it later.” Kenji tugs gently on my hand to get us moving again. “I have so much shit to cry about, J. So much. We should make, like, a list.”

Aww their friendship is still everything! <333 I love how open and honest they are with each other. They don’t beat about the bush but address things directly and even though we didn’t get a lot of their friendship in this one it’s still amazing. I hope to see more of their interactions in the next instalment and I swear Kenji definitely needs Ella’s advice! *lol* How else is he supposed to handle Nazeera! That boy is totally out of his depth! Haha! Also Kenji admitting that Ella’s situation is breaking his heart. Ahhhh!! He cares about her so much that it hurts him to see her sad and in pain. That’s #friendshipgoals right there! <333

”And now he’s gone. Warner is gone. Everyone from Omega Point might be dead. Everything we built… everything we worked toward – “I feel myself break, snap open form the inside. “I can’t lose him, Kenji.” My voice is shaking. My hands are shaking. “I can’t – You don’t know – You don’t –“
Kenji looks at me with actual pain in his eyes. “Stop it, J. You’re breaking my heart. I can’t hear this.”

Kenji & Warner:

Kenji flips us both off.
Aaron laughs. And then, leaning in –
“You really think I look good in everything?”
“Shut up, asshole.”
Aaron laughs again.

I still kind of SHIP THEM?! *LOL* I just can’t help but be in awe of Kenji being able to actually make Warner laugh!!! And the fact that Kenji thinks he looks good in everything?! Just too damn precious!! Like it’s really obvious that Kenji sorta digs him. XD Apparently Warner likes him too! Since we all know that Ella & Warner are the endgame and our OTP I’ll just accept their bromance and settle for being happy with it though! ;-P

”Bro, you really need to, like, eat a pizza or something,” he says, slapping me on the shoulder as he leaves. “You have too many abs.”
“What?” My eyebrows pull together.”

Nazeera & Kenji:

”Can’t look at you.”
She hesitates. “Why not?”
“Too pretty.”
She laughs, but angrily, like she might punch me in the face. “Kenji, I’m trying to be serious with you.”

I loved tired Kenji!! *lol* That boy can’t think clearly when he’s tired and the things he admitted and said to Nazeera!? Adorable, just freaking adorable! ❤ I swear if she doesn’t give him a decent chance and toys with him I’ll personally scratch her eyes out! XD Kenji deserves a really nice girl that understands him and takes care of him. That appreciates him for who he is! So you better be that girl Nazeera! Also it was really nice to finally get a sexy scene with Kenji. I always knew that he can be sweet and sexy so I was glad we eventually got to experience that side of him. And yes, Nazeera and my boy DO have chemistry. I just hope she’ll show her true colours in the last book. =)

Anderson & Warner:

”You know what? It’s better this way. Better for you to know,” he says quietly. “Better for you to understand exactly why you’re never going to see her again.”
“That’s not up to you.”

And I still DESPISE and HATE Anderson! Why isn’t that scumbag of a father dead already? Damn Evie and Max and all their stupid experiments. If they wouldn’t have helped him, Anderson would be where he belongs. Six feet under! And good riddance! Why can’t that man finally die?! My boy needs to be free of him in order to move on and as long as he is around that won’t happen. So can Mafi finally put an end to Anderson’s despicable reign? I think Warner suffered enough and I think he deserves a life, NO A WORLD, without his father in it. Can we get it real soon, please?!

”My mother warned me, years ago, to hide my heart from my father, and every time I slipped – every time I let myself hope he might not be a monster – he punished me, mercilessly.”

”He knew, when he made that deal, what he was asking me to do. I didn’t. I was sixteen, still young enough to believe in hope, and he took advantage of my naiveté. He knew what it would do to me. He knew it would break me. And it was all he’d ever wanted.
My soul.”

4

Just like after reading “Restore Me” I don’t know how to feel about this book. This time around my emotions at the end of “Defy Me” weren’t as intense as they were after reading its predecessor but I think that’s mostly due to the nature of the ending. And even though in here it all tied up nicely for a change I still have quite a lot of mixed feelings about it all. Plus, I can’t help but feel like this ending is just the calm before the storm. I know it! I know that all hell is going to break loose as soon as I open “Imagine Me” and I’m so scared of reading what will happen. >_< Let’s just hope this is going to be an ending I can live with. XD

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