This is the translation of a French review, so sorry by advance for the language mistakes :
Imagine Me is the sixth and final volume in the Shatter Me saga, published under the title "Insaisissable" in French. For anyone who knows me a little, it is common knowledge that this saga and I have built a very strong emotional bond over the years. Now five years ago, I was reading the first trilogy and mourning an absolutely unique story, after praying for a sequel that I was sure would never come. And then, four years later, Tahereh Mafi, its author, gave us the incredible gift of releasing a second trilogy which followed on from the first, and I must say that it was a highlight of my life 💚
If the fourth volume, Restore Me (Crois En Moi, in French) had been a pure pleasure to read, the story being completely reshaped in a new light and which made the whole saga only more unique, the fifth, Defy Me (Provoque-Moi, en VF), has started to instill in us this terrible feeling that any reader close to finishing a saga will recognize : knowing that everything will end, and soon - and in this case, again. So having Imagine Me in your hands, after months of dreading this coming mourning, was an almost devastating emotional burden. Do you think I'm doing too much? Wait until you see my opinion on the story itself 🤭
So Imagine Me was released in the United States this Tuesday, March 31, 2020. Thanks to the generosity of my friend Lilly, with whom I share this infinite love for Shatter Me, I had the chance to read it in original version and to conclude this incredible adventure. Now let's go to my opinion on the book itself.
From the outset, the story begins strong, very strong, so strong that we have the impression of being caught in a devastating cyclone. We knew this when we started the last book of such a rich saga, but perhaps we expected an ounce of respite, something rather sweet to start with. To believe that, like Juliette, we have kept the innocence of believing that the author would not manhandle us at the first words 😏
Well, if you wanted tranquility, you will have to be satisfied with what Tahereh had already been kind enough to give us at the end of Defy Me. Barely begun, the story takes our breath away and puts our nerves to rest severe test : it is even quite terrifying, this power that the author's pen can have on us. But despite all of that, we drown in the beauty of her style and the softness that she manages to instill in the middle of this storm of emotions. "It's beautiful" is something we will not stop saying until the very last line of the very last page. "I'm afraid" will be another constant, and the mixture of the two gives us one of those intense feelings that are so rare to experience in a lifetime.
The tone is incredibly accurate. Mastering humor perfectly, you would think it would be difficult for the author to place it, even in touches, in the midst of all this chaos that reigns as supreme leader, but this is done with such subtlety that we find ourselves smiling, even bursting out laughing - just before we feel tears of fear and sorrow come to our eyes. These are one of a kind roller coasters, which relax our tense muscles just enough to cause no breakage before the right time.
A mad laugh in particular incredibly relaxed me in the middle of it all, and I thank Tahereh for this last moment that I needed so much and for which I had prayed. After the episode of the cookie in Restore Me, and that of Rapunzel in Defy Me, I wholeheartedly hoped for one of these magnificent bursts, as only a discussion between Kenji and Warner can offer us, and it was even one of the things I expected most from this last installment 😂🙏
Since I come to talk about the characters, let's focus on Adam first, once is not custom - yes, I know, it may surprise, because he is clearly no longer at the center of our priorities since long time. It's no secret that I held it against him for a very long time. If at the end of volume three, and for four long years, I didn't really hold it against him for certain things, I then discovered the "pot-aux-roses", shall we say, and felt insurmountable anger towards him during my late reading of the novella dedicated to his point of view : Fracture Me 😤
I thought nothing would make me change my mind, but of course, why Tahereh would have left me the least of my certainties, the smallest element of which I could have sworn inalterability, intact ? Thanks to that, I went from compassion to supreme indignation (you can't imagine how much I was suffocating at one time in particular), to anger, to come back to compassion again, all in one hellish yo-yo. Whatever happens, despite all his good intentions, I believe that I will never forgive Adam for his stupidity on certain points, but anyway, his consistency has never failed him.
Now that we have talked about the sensitive subject, let us come to what I very affectionately call the Holy Trinity. Ella, Kenji and Warner particularly impressed me, in this opus, and in more than one way. I thought I was used to this incredible force that emanates from each of them, but this time more than ever, it's hell they three went through together, and I must say that it is one of the most elaborate hells that has ever been conceived 😓
Kenji has demonstrated invaluable courage and will, and his loyalty is also supreme. But if my admiration for him has continued to grow, even though I no longer thought it possible, what can I say about what I feel for Warner ? No, far from the romantic statement that burns my lips, it is its intensity and depth of soul that touches me more than ever, and that will leave an indelible mark on my soul 💚
As for Juliette ? Well, well, I feel like I grew up with her, all these years. And of the young girl lost and victim of her own condition that I met for the first time when I myself was only sixteen, there remains only the best of herself, starting with her pure heart. She became that incredible woman in this triumphant finale that the author promised us on Instagram, and I am incredibly proud of the way she has forged herself through all these trials. Juliette makes me look like an inspiring sister who shows us all the way, and the message of hope that all the story carries and delivers until the end dazzled me, and still dazzles me.
Attached as I was to each of them, I feared a thousand misfortunes, and rightly so. I was so consumed by doubts, uncertainty, and fear in its rawest state, that I gnawed my cuticles to the blood. Excessive, you say. Immersive, I will answer you without the slightest embarrassment. But I sincerely had something, and anyone who has read the Shatter Me saga will easily understand why. When memories emerge and overlap, when certain things seem to make no sense but you understand despite yourself what's happening ... Yes, clearly, it's a permanent tidal wave. I had chills under my skin all along. And without wanting to make tons, a furious desire to find my miles of intestines the right way, once this reading is finished. Wasted effort ? I'll let you find out for yourself.
The more the story advances, the more the weight of events falls heavily on us. We have experienced the same losses as the characters over the previous volumes, and each bullet fired is a little more painful than the previous one. We are as tired, exhausted, out of strenght as they are, but just like them, we stay standing, we hold on, on the nerves, but determined to face it with them, because there's no other choice possible. Also, each blow brings us a little closer to the moral breakdown, and we understand in a certain way the weight of this reality.
It's a permanent assault on our minds and that of the characters we live as we read. We come to feel invaded, as if an intruder is having fun tampering with our brains to make new connections and see if we are going to hold on. But this is an additional stroke of genius on the part of this author, to manage to plunge us into the same state of despair and tiredness as its protagonists, to better let us take full face the train hidden behind the first. What if there was only one train ! But it's a whole contingent that comes back to knock us out, crush us and destroy us. Some of the reversals, as only Tahereh Mafi has the secret, turned my mind and took my breath away - one, two, three, a hundred times 😮
If the tone does not cease rising crescendo during the first two thirds of the history, we detect a small very appreciable relaxation from there. This does not mean that the stress does not continue to rise, far from it, but there are rather solid benchmarks on which to lean, which I had missed and which made my heart warm. And all this contributed to burst our hearts, with devastating theories and suspicions. And yet, too familiar with this exercise, certainly, I must admit that I feared the final chaos so much that my theories got carried away and soared, to the point of almost touching the Moon. And it's the fantastic simplicity with which this book concludes that Tahereh managed to surprise me one last and final time 👌
The only thing I missed a little bit during this book was the virtual absence from Warner's point of view, but its lack of abundance made its final presence only more exceptionally striking. In the end, everything makes sense.
And since we have to talk about ending, and conclude this review somewhere, I will finish about the epilogue. Oh, I certainly won't tell you if the story ends on a happy ending or not, it would be far too lousy to spoil such suspense. All I can tell you is that I was so moved that from the very first line of this final chapter, I was in tears. Real big tears rolling down your cheeks and preventing you from reading the words that line up on these last pages.
The feeling of nostalgia was a huge part of these tears, I will not lie. Drawing a line over such a huge part of my life, putting it in the "past" box sincerely broke my heart, but it is soothed that I walk towards the future, in spite of everything. It will take me time, a lot of time to move on, but I would just like to thank Tahereh Mafi from the bottom of my heart, both for all that this saga has brought me in life and for this conclusion, which will remain one of the most beautiful life lessons I have ever received 🙏💚
The last word 🖋
This review on the novel "Imagine Me" is only the fruit of a general appreciation of the reader lost in the midst of a crowd of so many others that I am. The remarks, positive as negative, which are established are only the reflection of my personal opinion on the question and cannot proclaim themselves as references in the matter ☝
So never hesitate to open this book yourself to make you your own opinion and if I could only give you one piece of advice, finish it anyway, in order to have all the cards in hands to comment on the quality of it in its entirety 😉
We must never forget that a novel which only takes a few hours to read actually represents months of hard work for the author, who put a significant part of it in and who took the risk of expose his baby to the rest of the world 💚
Lien : https://everytrickinthebooks..