Book Review: Restore Me

Title: Restore Me
Author: Tahereh Mafi
Genre: Romance, Dystopia, Fiction

What It’s About: Three weeks after the war, it is absolutely silent. The other supreme commanders in the Reestablishment have not responded in any way to Juliette taking over Sector 45. Instead, Juliette is stuck making tons of decisions, signing papers, and trying to make Kenji and Warner become friends. She feels that many do not have faith in her, and she feels that she is a failure as a leader. On the other hand, Warner is grieving his father despite all the abuse he has suffered at his father’s hands, and continues to try to make progress with the military at Sector 45, but ignores Juliette’s need for his knowledge.

While Delalieu warns Warner that the Children of the Supreme Commander of Asia are coming, Castle tells Juliette that there’s something off about the Supreme Commanders of Oceania being the only ones who accept Juliette’s invitation to the conference. Without warning, Haider, the son of the Supreme Commander of Asia, arrives at Sector 45, and Juliette meets with him against Castle’s and Kenji’s warning to wait for Warner, as he would be able to navigate the waters better. She is flabbergasted when Haider decides to stay and imposes dinner on them.

In the meantime, Castle tells Warner that he needs to come clean to Juliette about her past. At first, Warner has a hard time believing that the girl he watched over and was asked by his father to torture was Emmaline, Juliette’s sister. He also struggles believing the truth about Juliette, so he spends the time reading through his father’s journals and papers, coming down to find the truth. That evening, Warner, Kenji, Juliette sit down to dinner with Haider and also meet Haider’s sister, Nazeera, who is wearing a head covering, which is against the rules of the Reestablishment. Kenji continues to press her about the head covering, and as a result, Nazeera walks out of dinner, with Haider following her. Juliette feels intimidated by Nazeera, as if she could not hold a candle to the girl, and confides in Kenji that she feels stupid.

The following day Warner, Juliette, Kenji and Nazeera and Haider go on Juliette and Kenji’s morning walk, a ritual that they have been doing for a while. Haider and Warner get into an argument, because Warner has a feeling that they are here to reconnaissance the situation for their parents, and Haider finds it stupid that Warner is in love with Juliette, who manages to stop them from arguing further, and so the men take a walk to talk in private. In the meantime, Nazeera asks to be allowed to walk around the Sector and familiarize herself with the area, and Kenji offers to walk her around, but she gracefully declines, going off on her own. Kenji then heads back to headquarters, leaving Juliette alone.

Out of nowhere, Juliette gets shot and because she didn’t have her Energy (which makes her touch lethal) to protect her, the bullet actually pierces her shoulder. She manages to scramble enough energy to protect herself, but she is still getting hurt because it’s not enough. Just as she’s about to get murdered by an unknown assailant, Nazeera shows up and kills the man. Warner is angry with himself for letting it get that far, as he runs to the hospital wings, and helps Sara and Sonya save Juliette’s life. While Juliette is in coma, from the poisoned bullets, Warner is warned again by Castle about having to tell her the truth. He considers this while watching over Juliette from outside her room. In the meantime, Juliette speaks to someone who tells her that everyone around her is lying to her, but the figure never reveals herself.

The next day, Juliette tries to make it back to work as a Supreme Commander, and instead she and Warner have a tryst, at which point, he reveals to Juliette the truth about her past–she was given up by her biological parents because her sister, Emmaline had powers, and the Reestablishment thought that she would too. Emmaline has been held prisoner for 12 years, and since they couldn’t see that Juliette had powers too, they had adopted her out to the Ferrars family, changing her name and her memories. Of course, Juliette stomps out of the room in shock, and flees Sector 45, running as far as she can, where she breaks apart a bus stuck on a road, and finds Nazeera. Juliette realizes that Nazeera was the one who had visited her last night, and Nazeera flies with her to a tree, where she reveals a bit more–The Reestablishment is coming to destroy Sector 45 because of Juliette. She makes an offhanded comment asking Juliette if she remembers her, but backtracks and tells her that she reminds her of someone else.

In the meantime, Kenji finds Warner, who tells him the whole truth about why Juliette ran out–her past. They get interrupted by Delalieu, who tells Warner that Lena, the daughter of the Supreme Commander of Europe, has arrived and is demanding to see him. It turns out that Lena and Warner have quite the history–they were together for two years. Kenji implores Warner to tell Juliette the truth about his past relationships, rather than waiting for Juliette to find out.

That night Warner and Kenji find out that Juliette had moved into Anderson’s old quarters, drunk some of his most expensive alcohol, and also shaved her head. Warner takes care of Juliette, and even though she tries to seduce him, he manages to stay away from her. The following day, Juliette meets the Son of the Supreme Commander of Africa, and the Twins from the Supreme Commander of South America, who reveal more about Warner’s past–that they all speak seven languages in order to understand each other, even though the Reestablishment wishes to destroy language and culture. Juliette calls Kenji, Castle and Warner out to talk to them, and while in the hall, Warner begs her to give him a second chance–he won’t disappoint her.

Juliette, Castle, Kenji, Warner, and the children of the supreme commanders attend the international symposium, where 554 regents of North America will be convening. Juliette gives a speech, but the crowd starts yelling at her, ignoring her, and she loses her temper, screaming and ultimately killing all 554 regents, and whoever they brought with them, including some of her allies. In all the chaos, Kenji and Warner never reach her–instead, two figures knee over her and tell her that they are the Supreme Commander of Oceania–the only one that answered her invitation–and that her father wants her to come home.

Next thing that Juliette finds out is that she wakes up in a room that is part pink and part purple, where she finds letters from Anderson saying that the girl has settled in well and not shown any signs of any powers. She also finds pictures of two little girls who were friends with Warner, and Nazeera when they were tiny. There’s a knock at the door, and someone tells her to come out for dinner, but Juliette faints.

My Verdict: There is so much to unpack here. As I mentioned in the prior entry about this book–I am seeing that Warner is probably the better choice of a partner for Juliette; however, I am not sure if he is trustworthy. I find it hard that he either doesn’t know about Juliette’s past, or her hasn’t recognized her as the girl from his childhood, considering all the evidence to the contrary. From what I’ve read online and in other reviews, it appears that he’s showing the typical signs of an abused child, but I cannot speak to that as I have no experiences on that front.

Perhaps I find it hard to believe him not knowing or not realizing that Juliette is the girl from his childhood, because I really do have such a very good memory. The fact that it never occurred to him to ask questions about what happened to those little girls that he was friends with, or realize that there was another family that became the Supreme Commanders of Oceania, is mind-boggling to me. Or is there something else at play here that we don’t find out yet? I think there has to be, considering that Nazeera appears to also know more than she is saying, even though she claims that she doesn’t know who Juliette’s parents are.

I do love Nazeera because of how strong she is; how little she cares about other people’s opinions, and how willing she is to forge how own path within all that. But at the same time, I’m also wary of her, just as much as I’m wary of Warner, and Castle. I’m also confused as to why everyone is playing a bit of a cat-and-mouse game here with the information–giving just enough to get Juliette curious, but not telling her more than bits and pieces. I think she does deserve to know.

At the same time, this is what proves to be a very effective way to keep the story entertaining. I know that they know something; the author knows that they all know something–but Juliette is the only one who doesn’t, and as this book is told from her perspective, that is what comes through.

I’m curious to find out what other secrets everyone has been holding from Juliette in the next book. Who is this girl and why is she kept in the dark about everything?

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