by Tahereh Mafi
Published October 2nd 2012 by Harper
Back at the base and recovering from his near-fatal wound, Warner must do everything in his power to keep his soldiers in check and suppress any mention of a rebellion in the sector. Still as obsessed with Juliette as ever, his first priority is to find her, bring her back, and dispose of Adam and Kenji, the two traitors who helped her escape. But when Warner’s father, The Supreme Commander of The Reestablishment, arrives to correct his son’s mistakes, it’s clear that he has much different plans for Juliette. Plans Warner simply cannot allow.
Set after Shatter Me and before its forthcoming sequel, Unravel Me, Destroy Me is a novella told from the perspective of Warner, the ruthless leader of Sector 45.
Before I begin, I want to extend a warm holiday greeting to all of our readers. I hope everyone has had a great Hanukkah and/or Christmas and I hope Kwanzaa, New Years, and Three Kings Day are just as wonderful. If I didn't mention the particular holiday you celebrate, I still extend warm wishes to you.
Now on to Destroy Me. Although it's a short 42 page novella, I feel we are given a lot of insight into Warner's thoughts and world. Most of what Mafi reveals about Warner comes as no surprise to me, but I was blown away by the way it was written. You can almost feel what Warner feels, almost like you are experience everything with him.
When I read Shatter Me, I hated Warner, but I also felt that there was more to him that what he portrays. I felt that if we were to have an opportunity to look at Warner's world we may have difficulty hating him. Destroy Me proved just that. Although Warner's thoughts and mannerisms all scream psychosis (particularly obsessive-compulsive disorder), when we meet his father, you have no choice but to think "Ahhh, so that's where he gets it." Warner's father makes Warner look wimpy (which is exactly how his father views him). He's manipulative, cruel, and controlling. For example, when Warner was in bed recovering from his injuries, his father visited him. However, it was not for the reason a normal parent would check on their injured child, to make sure they're okay. His father actually seemed to think Warner was milking his injury. I have to quote some of the text because it's just so well written.
"Sit up, son. You should be well enough to function now. You were too stupid to rest when you were supposed to, and now you've overcorrected. Three days you've been unconscious, and I arrived twenty-seven hours ago. Now get up. This is ridiculous."
Not an ounce of sympathy to be found. And when he didn't get a response from Warner, he decided to take the time to point out Warner's failures, and didn't seem to think the timing was inappropriate.
"It's funny...because I told myself I'd wait to discuss this with you. But somehow, this moment seems so right doesn't it? ...To tell you just how tremendously...disappointed I am. Though I can't say I'm surprised…"
My favorite quote throughout the novella was when Warner says in reference to his father "Torture is not torture when there's any hope of relief". What makes this quote so powerful is because it describes Warner’s father concisely. Warner's father gets pleasure out of torturing and intimidating everyone around him, particularly Warner. And his torturous and controlling ways have caused Warner to be obsessed with having control.
I have an extremely low threshold for disorder; it offends my very being. I shower regularly. I eat six small means a day. I dedicate two hours of each day to training and physical exercise. And I detest being barefoot.
Warner’s biggest obsession is Juliette. He can’t stop thinking about her. He has dreams of her that feel too real. During patrols he thinks he sees her. The more he learns about her, the more connected he feels to her. He insists that if given the opportunity she will realize that her proper place is with her and not with Adam Kent because Warner believes that he is the only one that can truly understand her, and vice versa. Like Juliette, Warner has never had a true friend. He hates his father and believes his troops want him dead. The closest thing Warner has to a friend is Delalieu, his servant who outwardly fears him even though he’s considerable older than Warner. Although Warner finds fear and obedience both amusing and bothersome, Warner still does not feel comfortable confiding in him. It wouldn’t be right given his rank. Like Juliette, Warner lives a life of solitude, never truly entrusting or befriending anyone.
With this information, it could be difficult to view Warner as an evil villain in Unravel Me. And we still don’t know why Warner and Adam are the only people who seem to be immune to Juliette’s powers. We learn that Warner’s interest in Juliette is not what it seems in Shatter Me; but Warner also does not reveal what his true intentions are.