By Tahereh Mafi
My Rating: All The Stars
Publication Date: March 6th, 2018
Date Read: March 2018
Hardback, 448 Pages
Summary From Goodreads
Juliette Ferrars thought she'd won. She took over Sector 45, was named the new Supreme Commander, and now has Warner by her side. But she's still the girl with the ability to kill with a single touch—and now she's got the whole world in the palm of her hand. When tragedy hits, who will she become? Will she be able to control the power she wields and use it for good?
So. Okay. You guys. I am NOT okay right now. This book... I loved it so terribly much, but it... it DESTROYED me. I'm just. Oh lord. Okay, let's see if I can make any sense of my words, which are jumbled in my head right now, because I haven't fully processed what I read.
*Deep Breath In*
Here we go
First, a little backstory before the actual review
So let me start off by saying that I bought this book on it's release day. Like, moderately early in the day. But I had to wait a freaking half an hour, because the only bookstore in my town didn't even have them out on the shelf yet. Excuse me? What? As the only bookstore in town I felt like they should have been better prepared, but no. They had to search all over Hell's Half Acre to find it for me.
And then I didn't even get to read it right away. Because I had a midterm to take and then I had to go to work and adult. Boooo (I'm mostly kidding, because I love my job.) So on my dinner break, I made a pretty good size dent in it. I had an hour to eat and made it about 25 percent through the book. Not too bad. I was so fidgety afterwards though, because the part I left on, was the part where Castle is telling Warner the truth about Juliette and who she is. I kid you not. The last freaking line I read before I had to go back and work was this:
Castle shakes his head as he says, "He never told you where she really came from, did he? He never told you the truth about her parents."
Um. What? WHATTT?!
Though to be honest, I figured we'd learn more about her parents in this one, but I was not prepared for the truth bomb that was dropped on us
Let's just say that it was a good thing that I had actual tasks to accomplish to keep my mind sort of off the book.
And it didn't help that my best friend was at about the same spot, except she didn't have to work so she was plowing straight through it. And she kept texting me. And just a little bit after I got off work, she called me in near hysterics talking about how it had destroyed her, but she loved it, and she didn't know how to deal with it.
Uh-oh. That didn't make me nervous at all *she says sarcastically*
And then a few minutes later she called back, asking if there was information on when book 5 comes out. No, I told her. But, my guess would be next March.
I stayed up until I had the entire thing finished. And I was shook. I had so many emotions going through me, it was crazy. So I did what any best friend would do. I sent her about a million texts so she'd see them when she woke up in the morning, because I had to say something to someone about it.
Okay, I think that's it? On to some sort of actual review
I want to start off by talking about Warner. Because he's my favorite part about everything in this series. I love the fact that we get dual POV in this book. It's nice getting to be inside Warner's head. Warner and Juliette balance each other out quite nicely, if I do say so myself.
I was initially scared, because I thought that my wonderful Smol-bean Cinnamon Roll Warner was going to turn into an emotional wreck. I've seen it happen to characters before. I wanted my cocky self-assured bad a$$ Warner back, and I wanted him back now.
But then I realized that he actually is still the same old, wonderful Aaron Warner. We just never got to see inside his head before. The last 3 books, we just saw his calm, cool, controlled exterior, which we all know by now, he tried so hard to make himself that way. He's got so many thoughts and emotions going on in his head, but he does an amazing job keeping it all internalized, so all we get to see--when we're not actually seeing things from his perspective--is the mask of calm that he does so well. He's had no choice in that matter. He grew up with a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad father, who did everything to make sure Warner turned into a non-feeling robot.
And just the fact that, even though Warner can be ruthless when the situation calls for it, but at the same time, he takes no joy in hurting others, and he does what he can to keep people safe, (like when he killed that one soldier and everyone thought the worst of him, but we find out later that he was a drunkard who beat his wife and kids) . And the fact that he cares so deeply for Juliette, and for his mother, and that he cared even just a little about his father despite the horrible person that he was, makes me love him even more.
His emotions run so deep and so strong
He would literally do anything for Juliette to make her happy, even throwing himself in harm's way. He tries hard to be friends with Kenji, though he makes it difficult in typical Kenji fashion. He cleared off a whole floor to take in people.
And, and, and! Throughout the whole thing, he never doubts Juliette and her ability to handle things with or without his help. He has %100 percent faith in her. Something he says to her multiple times. Even when everyone, including herself is doubting whether or not she can in fact handle everything that's being thrown at her.
People are idiots, love. Their opinions are worthless
And how, instead of going to her like Castle said he should when Haider showed up, he went to their room, because she hadn't told him or asked him for advice, and he didn't want to hurt her, or undermine/make her think he doubted her ability to handle the situation without him. So many times through the book, did he repeat to her how much faith he had in her and reassure her that she was doing a great job.
Adam and James
We don't really get to see a lot of Adam and James in this book. Just short snippets here and there, and I have mixed feelings about that. I mean, I get it. This is Warner and Juliette's story now, but I wanted some bro-bonding time with the guys. I love how James is still so young and honest, and some of the things that come out of his mouth make me laugh. He made Warner feel better, just by being himself and saying things that big people know better than to say to someone who's obviously hurting. It took Warner by surprise, and did make him feel slightly better if only for a moment.
Adam, I am happy to say, is slowly redeeming himself from his douchebag self that he was in books 2 and 3. He was an idiot, and he actually openly admits that now. He knew what he did was awful, and he told Warner that he's glad Juliette is with Warner, and that Juliette was right about him (Adam) wanting the insecure girl that she used to be. He is slowly starting to accept the fact that Warner is his brother, and he even said that he knows what's important (family) and that's what he wants to start focusing on.
What I am actually not happy about in that whole Adam-Warner-James thing, is the fact that Adam still won't tell James that Warner is their brother. Um. Excuse me? Adam. If you don't put your big boy panties on soon and tell him, I'm going Blue-Skadoo right into the book and tell him myself. He can handle it. He may be young, but he's an old soul, and I think he'd be delighted to learn that he has another big brother. And besides that, I think he'd be good for Warner. Warner needs James just as much as James needs Adam, or vice versa. James and Adam are the only family that Warner has (I mean, so far. Who knows what the heck is going to happen) and James would be good for Warner.
Kenji and Castle
Castle kind of annoyed me ever so slightly. We didn't get to hear too much from him, but what we did get to see... I don't know. He seemed so frazzled and shifty, like he was hiding something. And gosh, he was being so vague about everything. I think the most honest and straight up he was, was when he told Warner about who Juliette really was.
Kenji on the other hand. He hasn't changed at all. And I love him for it. He's still a smart a$$, and cocky, and says and does the worst things at the worst times, and doesn't know when to keep his mouth shut about anything. Like when he buzzed off Warner's hair. (I about died, because... HIS HAIR! Warner's beautiful locks are gone!!) but I forgave him even if Warner hasn't yet. Kenji still manages to bring a bit of comedic relief to situations when things are going bad, and he can take charge even if he has absolutely no idea what he's doing.
Heck, he's even supportive of Warner, and will lend him a listening ear when he needs it. Like when Kenji walked in on Warner having a panic attack, and stayed there with him until he was better, even though Warner kept telling him to leave. Then he stayed longer to listen to what Warner had to say about why he and Juliette were so upset.
And he's got himself a crush. He makes such a fool of himself, which is really nothing new, but it was actually adorable. And when he's talking about it with Juliette:
"She's, like, batshit pretty. The kind of pretty that makes a man think getting murdered in his sleep might not be a bad way to go."
"Yeah," I say, but I say it quietly.
"What do you mean, you guess? I wasn't asking a question. That girl is objectively beautiful."
Kenji stops, takes my shoulders in his hands. "What is your deal, J?"
"I don't know what you're--"
"Oh my God," he says, stunned. "Are you jealous?"
"No," I say, but I practically yell the word at him.
He's laughing now. "That's crazy. Why are you jealous?"
I shrug, mumble something.
"Wait, what's that?" He cups his hand over his ear. "You're worried I'm going to leave you for another woman?"
"Shut up, Kenji. I'm not jealous."
"I'm not. I swear. I'm not jealous. I'm just--I'm just..."
I'm having a hard time.
But I never have a chance to say the words. Kenji suddenly picks me up, spins me around and says, "Aw, you're so cute when you're jealous--"
And I kick him in the knee. Hard. --Restore Me, Tahereh Mafi pages 162-163
Seriously. This makes my heart so happy. The relationship between Juliette and Kenji has always made me happy He's a great friend to Juliette, and will listen to her problems, and tell her when she's being a whiny baby, but still manages to be supportive when she needs it. I think everyone should have a best friend like Kenji in their lives. Someone to be real with you and tell you when you're being crazy, but is always supportive, and has your back. #BestFriendGoals
Random Extra Characters
Nazeera and Haider were interesting, and I'm curious to see what role they play in the next two books. I liked Nazeera better, and how she flipped Kenji off when he questioned her about wearing her head wrap. I was like. Yeah! You go girl. Tell him! And how she admitted that she didn't want to come with her brother to spy on Warner and Juliette, but she decided that since her father was making her go no matter what, she had decided that she was going to do her best to watch out for Juliette. I don't really know how I feel about Haider though. Because he wasn't really all that prevalent for the majority of the story. And when he was, he was either being a jerk, or doing/saying something that confused me. He had me perplexed. They're both still hiding things though, and that makes me suspicious and wary of them.
Nicolas and Valentina
Well. I'm not sure what to think about them. They were introduced at kind of the last second in the story, so we didn't really get to learn much about them . I didn't get the feeling that they had malicious intentions, but then again what do I know.
He's cute, and swoon worthy and I don't get the feeling that he's going to be an enemy, but if he tries to hurt any of my babies in the future, then it's on. I won't forgive him. Also, he can't have Juliette, so he better not try anything funny. Juliette and Warner are my OTP, and I will fight for them.
Lena, Lena, Lena. You better just take a step back and stop being such a b with an itch. Okay? Because let me tell you right now, no matter how big and bad you think you are, you're not going to win. Not against Juliette. And especially not with who she has backing her up.
My hope, is that all of these kids will end up banding together to overthrow their parents and taking control of the different sectors and turning the whole world around and making it better place, blah blah blah.
Okay. So. In this book we get to see how young and inexperienced she is. The comparisons that she finally realizes exist between her and Warner, and her and everyone in Warner's world are big. She's starting to lose faith in herself. One of the biggest things that really throws her for a loop, was when she met Haider, and she just felt so... out of her league? All because of what she was wearing vs. what he was wearing. She still doesn't think she can handle it, and she's getting overwhelmed by everything that's happening. She thought that being in charge would be different, and she's starting to panic. Despite the fact that she has Warner who has her back, and believes in her 200%
Juliette does so much growing up in this book. Like. A lot. And it was all at once too. After everything that was thrown at her, she finally woke up and decided that she was sick of it. It was kind of an impressive transformation. But she's still the same Juliette. She's still insecure, but she does a much better job at keeping it hidden. AND SHE SHAVED HER HEAD! You go Juliette. YAAAS! (Not that she needed to shave her head to be fierce, but it helped her) You got this, love.
But I'll be honest, I'm still having a hard time reconciling the hissy fits/meltdowns she had in this book. I mean, Castle made the comment that Juliette was very volatile and almost killed them when she thought they were hurting Adam, but almost any other time she was able to stop herself, because she was terrified of hurting people. I fully understand that I am way overthinking this. I know all of this is building up to something even more wonderful. I hope so at least. I am putting all of my faith in Tahereh Mafi, because I have yet to be disappointed by her books.
The Part That Destroyed MY FREAKING HEART
So now here's where I'm going to actually freak the heck out a little. And have even more spoilers, so read with caution
I get that Juliette is upset with Warner because he kept secrets from her. I would be upset too. However, the amount of upset that Juliette was, astronomical. Bordering on No, not even bordering on, it was definitely too much.
The whole Juliette has a sister thing definitely threw me for a loop. And the fact she's been locked away for years, and Warner had a part in that, but had no idea who she was, or what she was to Juliette. It killed me. Because it's tearing him up because he knows how much that little revelation hurts Juliette.
And what do you mean that Juliette was upset because Warner's had girlfriend (s) before her... OF COURSE HE HAS. Have you seen him? Who wouldn't want to go out with Warner? I'd go out with Warner. Gosh. Yeah, that had me shaking my head at her. Silly Juliette.
And now, are you ready for my giant freak out? The one I've been holding in since foreverago?
WHAT WAS WITH THAT ENDING?!?!?!?!!!!? I'm not okay, I'm not okay, I'm not okay. That's not cool. What happened to Kenji? He's not dead is he? No. He can't be. And Castle? And the others? Like... no. I'm in denial here big time, because if I start thinking about it, I start hyperventilating. I'm hoping that everyone (and by everyone I mean Kenji, Alia, Brendan, Ian, and Castle) aren't really dead. And what are they going to do with Warner, huh? They put him in handcuffs. Is he okay? is he in jail? What? I hope, hope, hope, this was part of a plan. Or that they're not really dead, they're just hurt and Sonja and Sara can fix them. Jeeeeze, I really can't handle this. AND WHAT DO YOU MEAN THAT JULIETTE AND WARNER KNEW EACH OTHER WHEN THEY WERE LITTLE, AND SHE'S THE DAUGHTER OF OCEANIA???!
Sorry. I'm still stuck on the fact that MY SMOL PRECIOUS BABIES MIGHT BE DEAD, THANKYOUVERYMUCH
I'm still not okay. I might have screamed.
And almost threw the book.
Then freaked out about it to my little sister.
Then texted my best friend a million times.
Then tossed and turned in bed the rest of the night.
And now here I am impatiently waiting for any sort of news about book 5, that doesn't come out until sometime next year.
I think that what I love most about this series, is the fact that it makes me feel so many different emotions, and there are so many plot twists and revelations that I absolutely never see coming. And the character and world building are out of this world.
Tahereh Mafi, even though you're DESTROYING my heart right now, I absolutely adore your books. They've never done me wrong before.
So here I sit.