good morning, cyberspace!
For the past two years, I’ve run a little something during the month of November called The NaNoWriMo Dare Squad. For those of you who maybe don’t know what on earth this is, here’s the entire playlist of posts that may enlighten you to the gloriousness that the Dare Squad was. (though I highly recommend checking out the very first Dare Squad post if you’re trying to find information, because that one probably explains it pretty well. [lol, you actually think I’m going to read through it to see if it ACTUALLY explains what the dare squad is? nah, bruh.])
Now, due to an unholy amount of stress that I’ve been slowly working my way through, I will NOT be resurrecting the Dare Squad again this year. (trust me. this saddens me greatly, peasants.) BUT. Since a promise is a promise and I am–quite frankly–tired of not doing the things I say I’ll do, I am here today with MY dare from last year’s Dare Squad!
Or should I say DARES, because in a cruel twist of fate, Anna was permitted to give another participant a second dare to do, and she–being the lovely little sunflower that she is–chose me.
Thank you Anna. Thank you SO much. *glares* *but not too hard because I love you*
So. The dare that I rolled for the Dare Squad was none other than Eva’s beautiful submission, which is as follows: “Write a review of Twilight (whether you’ve read it or not), gushing about how amazing the writing, characters, etc., are. If you’ve read Twilight and actually love it, then pick another popular book you loathe and/or despise.”
The dare that Anna gave me, however, was Kate’s:
“The Dared Individual Shall Take The Most Unlikely Couple From Their Current Manuscript And Write Their Wedding Scene And Post It Upon Their Blog For The World To See.”
^^ For anyone wondering, Kate has a severe obsession with weddings. We must form an intervention.
If anyone cares to remember, I received Kate’s dare two years ago in the very first NaNoWriMo Dare Squad. Because of that, I had to announce my very fake, very embarrassing engagement. (you can read that post here. it presented a mess in my personal AND internet life, and I still have not forgiven Kate for it yet. *brandishes fist*)
But anyway, despite the fact that all dares are, in their most basic essence, rather embarrassing to do, my dares this year are relatively harmless (for the most part) and I am VERY excited to do them!
And since it’s my actual dare that I received last year, the first one up to bat is my book review! I mentioned in my Allotting Of The Dares video last year that I wasn’t sure whether or not I was going to do Twilight, since I actually didn’t despise it when I read it. (and if I’m being perfectly honest, I still don’t really despise it?? I mean, don’t get me wrong–it has ISSUES. but it reminds me of a happier, care-free time, and that’s something that I kind of enjoy about it. . .) So in order to protect my non-hatred of it, I’m going to be reviewing another book instead!
A book that I just couldn’t get into, no matter how hard I tried. . .
— KENZIE’S REVIEW OF SHATTER ME —
I have a curse
I have a gift
I am a monster
I’m more than human
My touch is lethal
My touch is power
I am their weapon
I will fight back
Juliette hasn’t touched anyone in exactly 264 days.
The last time she did, it was an accident, but The Reestablishment locked her up for murder. No one knows why Juliette’s touch is fatal. As long as she doesn’t hurt anyone else, no one really cares. The world is too busy crumbling to pieces to pay attention to a 17-year-old girl. Diseases are destroying the population, food is hard to find, birds don’t fly anymore, and the clouds are the wrong color.
The Reestablishment said their way was the only way to fix things, so they threw Juliette in a cell. Now so many people are dead that the survivors are whispering war – and The Reestablishment has changed its mind. Maybe Juliette is more than a tortured soul stuffed into a poisonous body. Maybe she’s exactly what they need right now.
Juliette has to make a choice: Be a weapon. Or be a warrior.
* * *
–THE REVIEW —
Okay, folks, I’ll be honest: this was, by far, my absolute favorite book in the whole entire world.
No, really. I loved it. Absolutely.
I first started reading Shatter Me around Christmastime last year, but because I just knew I wouldn’t be able to write a review of it without getting extremely fangirl-y, I just kind of . . . didn’t write a review for it.
because I would have started screaming with rage obviously Because I couldn’t trust myself with accurately expressing the intensity of my feelings for this story and its characters.
And trust me, my friend. The feelings were intense.
First things first, let’s talk about the writing!
i. THE WRITING
Oh, how I adored the writing style of this book! The prose was lyrical and smooth, the descriptions were vivid, easy to read, and didn’t ramble on incessantly for pages on end. There were also these really cool cross-out’s throughout the entire thing that
were really annoying and kind of an eyesore and were NOT used sparingly at all were super unique to the story’s narrative. But unfortunately, I don’t feel like I can do the writing style of this book justice without providing you guys some snippets that are taken directly from the story itself. Stuffed between this book’s two covers are some truly inspiring quotes, such as:
“His lips soften into a smile that cracks apart my spine.”
“My eyelashes trip into my eyebrows; my jaw drops into my lap.”
“Hate looks like everybody else until it smiles. Until it spins around and lies with lips and teeth carved into semblance of something too passive to punch.”
“The sun is revolving around the moon when he responds.”
“I want to cry into his eyes.”
“So much everything all the things dead.”
^^ I mean??? You can’t get more raw and unfiltered than this. I’d kill a man for a good dose of
purple lyrical prose, and this book was chock full of it!
ii. THE CHARACTERS
Next up on my list of reasons why I loved this book SO. MUCH. is the characters!
I mean, I think you all know me pretty well by now to know that characters are some of my favorite aspects of storytelling. Your plot might be on the weaker side (though, if you really know what you’re doing, your plot will still have a good amount of structure), but if you have a good, solid, lovable case of characters for me to fall head over heels for?? I will love your story for the rest of time. And as far as character development goes, Shatter Me TOTALLY delivered!
First up we have our main character, Juliette
(who I totally did not have to google because I’ve tried so hard to purge this story from my mind), who is a wonderfully mundane heroine. Y’all know I’m a sucker for a good Mary Sue, and this girl, guys . . . this girl is about as Mary Sue as they come! She’s annoying and whiny and always gets her way, and I could just relate to her so well. It was like looking in a mirror and seeing myself blinking back at me with a “. . .small smile the size of Jupiter”. (<< yet another quote from the book, in case you couldn’t tell.) I also loved how Juliette was loved by everyone throughout the course of the story, even though we were explicitly told that she was a freak and absolutely no one liked her in the beginning!
Character Arcs for the win!!
The two other main characters in the novel–Adam and Warner–are equally worth mentioning, but not in separate paragraphs, because–like with any good opposing love interests–they are pretty much identical in personality and attitude. I mean, yes, one is clearly the “I’ve known you since we were little and have loved you for forever, even though I never acted like I knew who you were and basically ignored you my entire life” love interest, and the other is the “I’m a super bad villain and tried to kill you numerous times but it’s only because of my deep, devoted, passionate love for you” love interest, but I mean??? Potato potahto. They’re both obsessed with Juliette (because no one likes her, obviously) and both
clearly need to rethink their priorities in life love her unequivocally. I mean, I don’t know about you, but I would absolutely LOVE to have a relationship like the kind Juliette fosters with Adam and Warner! It didn’t feel toxic at all–a first for YA dystopian romances thrillers.
iii. THE PLOT
Speaking of romances, another thing I absolutely ADORED about this novel was how it dissolved from an intriguing thriller to a typical, teenage angst romance! You all know me and my reading preferences–whenever a book leads me on with an interesting plot and an original premise, then switches mid-story to a romance that could have potentially been cut to focus more on the main character and the theme they’re trying to learn, it just makes my smol romantic heart swoon with happiness! I just can’t get enough romance in books, guys. Seriously. There needs to be MORE love-triangle stories on the bookshelves, okay? Give me all of the sap and cliches!
. . .I absolutely adored this book! It’s one of those stories that makes you want to
dig your eyeballs out with a wooden spoon devour it in one sitting, and even though I didn’t actually finish reading it (I just loved it THAT much, folks!!!), I’m so happy that I read what I did of it! I now know what Hate looks like, how it feels to have your spine crack apart when someone smiles at you, that middle-grade astronomy was actually incorrect all along, and that if you feel like everyone ignores you, all you need to do is learn how to kill people with nothing but your touch! The boys will come flocking to you like you’re a three-tiered chocolate cake drizzled in icing, I promise.
Shatter Me was a delightfully entertaining and emotional read, and I would highly recommend it
to all my worst enemies!
* * *
All right, folks! That was my review of Shatter Me! In all honesty the book wasn’t that bad, but . . . it just wasn’t my cup of hot cocoa. I do, however, know that some people absolutely adore this story, so if you love this story and I just totally ripped it apart . . . I’m sorry? We can probably still be friends. I guess it depends on what your opinion of The Lunar Chronicles and Anne of Green Gables is. . .
Okie dokie! Second up is the dare I got from Anna and Kate!
Now, I’ll admit it, folks . . . I kind of bent the rules on this one.
Okay, okay, don’t throw your rusty pitchforks at me yet. Just hear me out.
The dare instructions said to take an unlikely couple from your current manuscript and write their wedding scene. Now, I’m all for this. It sounds adorable and cringey and wonderful. BUUUUUT . . . I don’t exactly have a couple to pit together in my current manuscript. I mean, I do . . . kinda. But writing that scene would give away way too many spoilers about those two characters, and that’s something I’m not exactly comfortable with right now.
And I know there are going to be those of you who are like, “KENZIE!!! WRITE A SHORT WEDDING STORY ABOUT THAO AND ADALINE!!! DO IT OR I’LL SPILL THE GUTS OF THE GOBLIN KING ONTO YOUR PILLOW TONIGHT WHILST YOU SLEEP!!!!!” but, as I will kindly remind you, everlost is no longer my current manuscript. I finished that draft, and I’m currently working on SK. (or I’m going to START working on SK, at least. two more days, peasants!!!!) So I’ve clearly dodged a massive bullet here. *sweats nervously*
So. With everlost not being my main manuscript, and SK being too spoilery to show you, I’ve had to play around a bit and choose a different story–a story that I’ve kind of waffled around with in my head as a “just-for-me” story, but haven’t actually DONE anything with yet. (although after this, I’m seriously contemplating writing a full novel at a later time. . .)
So without any further ado, here’s my short story!
— A BEAUTIFUL DAY FOR A WEDDING —
Fun fact: getting married is, in a nutshell, torture.
I stand at the front of the chapel–darkly patterned tie cutting a slice into my jugular–and shuffle my feet nervously beneath me. The music from the live band crescendos into my death march—oh. I’m sorry. Is that supposed to be a wedding song?—and suddenly the sweat breaking out on my palms moistens into a damp, soggy swamp on my skin.
Well, this is just great. Now I can’t breathe.
Skirts and mutters rustle behind me, and I’m rather annoyingly reminded of the fact that this is supposed to be my ‘special day’. Forcing my feet to cooperate, I spin around to face the door.
And there she is.
My heart rockets into my throat at the sight of her. She’s wearing a dress—a first for her, I’m sure of it. By the way she’s carrying herself, she has no clue what to do with the excess of elven-spun fabric billowing around her legs—but the delicate pattern of flowers and blue butterflies swimming down her skirts is nothing compared to the bloody murder flashing in her eyes.
I wince, remembering the wicked knives she keeps on her at all times. Where’d she manage to hide them this time? The dress sure didn’t look like it had pockets, and her hands were fisted—empty—at her sides. Maybe she strapped them to her legs with belts, or—
My gaze drops to her feet, and I sigh. The boots. Of course.
I don’t think I’ve ever seen her without those boots on. You’d think for our wedding she’d have chosen something a little classier, but no. Fur-trimmed, muddy brown, and flat-footed, they’re more of an eyesore than anything, made for the snowy, desolate peaks of Lycaster—the kindgom where my future thorn-in-the-side-bride tumbled down from on the winds of a particularly nasty avalanche. I’m sure the dressmakers shed a tear or two over the degradation of such nasty footwear in contest with their artwork, but Ariel Dupris was never one for fanciful dress. Apparently being unwillingly stripped from your home kingdom made you do everything in your power to never forget where you had once come from—including wearing the most disgusting shoes in the history of all kingdoms combined.
Judging by the sharp glint poking out of her left boot, she wasn’t forgetting her knives anytime soon, either.
Suddenly, the murderous sparkle in her eyes makes me more nauseous than uneasy.
The death march continues, and I’m wondering if it would be more courageous or cowardly to try running away when I hear Minister Jones behind me, his voice like sharp rocks in my ears..
“Congratulations, Master Fenrir. She’s very pretty.”
Yeah, I think. Pretty ugly.
“Chin up, sir. This union will benefit us all. Both kingdoms will thank you for your sacrifice. Your names will be remembered for centuries.”
Right. Only it won’t be my name they’re remembering.
With another few stomps of her dust-caked boots, Arial makes it to the alter, and that blood-red, murderous gaze is finally aimed directly at me. Threatening. Challenging.
But there’s nothing either of us can do at this point. It’s out of our hands now—if it was ever truly in our hands at all—and besides. Jones is right. The kingdoms need this.
The music cuts off sharply, and silence invades the room like a plague. Jones clears his throat. He speaks, but I hardly hear him over my own heart pounding in my ears. I can feel the frustration and anger and hate rolling off Arial’s shoulders, and it’s enough to make me physically ill.
If only she knew just how much I was dreading this… So much more than her, that’s for sure…
Finally, something Jones says cuts through the numbness in my brain—a name. Not mine, of course, but my brother’s. My twin brother’s. The very same brother who I–in a rather unflattering moment of temptation–fed to my dragon less than twenty-four hours ago. The very same brother who’s supposed to be marrying little miss murder, here.
The very same brother who I’m secretly filling in for while he battles his way out of Mathusa’s scaly throat.
Okay, okay, I’ll admit it. Clearly I picked the wrong moment to do a twin-swap. But how was I supposed to know the idiot was getting married today? This, I want to scream at Fenrir, is what happens when you don’t get an invite to your own brother’s wedding. Bad things happen. Terrible things.
Like feeding your brother to a dragon and accidentally marrying his weird little fiance.
“Fenrir Flint, do you take Arial Dupris to be your lawfully wedded wife, for richer or poorer, through sickness and health, until death do you part?”
I swallow. Cement fills my mouth. I can practically hear Fenrir’s war-cries as he claws his way out of Mathusa’s stomach linings, and for once, I wish him a speedy recovery.
Jones turns to Arial and repeats the same vow. “Arial Dupris, do you take Fenrir Flint to be your lawfully wedded husband, for richer or poorer, through sickness and health, until death do you part?”
Her eyes are fire when they find mine.
It sounds like a vow, but we both know it’s the wrong kind–the kind that promises death will come much sooner than I think. . .
BOOM! There you go, my peasants! My two NaNoWriMo Dare Squad Dares!! I’m kind of sad that the Dare Squad isn’t happening this year, but I kind of need the break. Besides, if I give myself a year to recover, the Dare Squad might return even brighter and better than it was before! (<< LOL. #lies)
Before I sign off, I would like to give a huge thank you to everyone who participated in the Dare Squad last year, and also to the marvelous Eva, Kate, and Anna! You guys’s dares were SO much fun to do, and even though I thought the wedding scene was going to be embarrassing, it was actually really fun to write! Unfortunately, writing this is forcing me to think about THIS weird little story, and not SK, and that is NOT the kind of thinking I want to take into November. Excuse me whilst I go listen to my SK playlist for a thousand years on end. . .
As always, have a beautiful day, and go do some writing or something. NaNoWriMo’s going to be here before we know it!
TALK TO ME, PEASANTS!
Are you participating in NaNoWriMo this year? (and if so, make sure to friend me on the NaNo site, for I am lonely and need friends [<< this is, in fact, a lie, as I have some of the most wonderful writing friends in the world, but STILL. FRIEND ME. I YEARN FOR MORE.]) Did you participate in the Dare Squad last year? And if so, which dare–if any–did you get??? Have YOU ever written a wedding scene? A relationship? A ROMANCE??? (and if you have . . . HOW??? how does one write romance?? I mean, I TRIED, but just look at those smol fruitcakes! they’re going to bust out the swords at the reception, mark my words. . .) And also . . . have you ever read a book that you just absolutely despised? If you have, which book was it, and why did you hate it so much??? (I must know all of the things, obviously)
As always, let us talk about ALL OF THE THINGS!!!! down in the comments below! And until next time. . .