Let’s start off with a list of some of the crappy things Warner has said to Juliette (to document them all would be exhausting):
- “But if you chose to disobey? Well… I think you look rather lovely with all your body parts intact, don’t you?” (54).
- “Besides, it’d be a shame to lose such a pretty face” (55).
- “Don’t confuse stupidity for bravery, love” (74).
- “No one asked what you like, love. Now eat. I need you to look your best when you stand beside me” (75).
- “I’m willing to treat you as an equal” (125).
- “I can change your world” (125).
- “’The world is disgusted by you,’ he says, his lips twitching with humor. ‘Everyone you’ve ever known has hated you. Run from you. Abandoned you. Your own parents gave up on you and volunteered your existence to be given up to the authorities. They were so desperate to get rid of you, to make you someone else’s problem, to convince themselves the abomination they raise was not, in fact, their child” (125).
- “I know everything about you, love” (131).
- “You’re absolutely delicious when you’re angry” (132).
- “You should be thanking me” (134).
- “I like watching you squirm” (137).
- “No one will care for you. No one will come near you—you’ll be an outcast like you’ve always been! Nothing has changed! You belong with me!” (185).
- “Don’t lie to yourself, Juliette. You’re going to come back with me whether you like it or not. But you can choose to want it. You can choose to enjoy it” (264).
- “God I’d love to just take a bite out of you” (265).
This is how Warner is presented to the readers. This is who he is. This is how he speaks, what he thinks, how he treats others, and he doesn’t get enough redemptive factors in the sequel to make Juliette’s ending up with him okay in any way.
Juliette also responds to Warner’s touch repulsively, but he doesn’t care. After all, “Warner will not be discouraged” (266).
- “Warner slips his arms around me. I cringe” (104).
- “He tightens his hold around my arms and I can’t squirm away from him” (132).
- “He touches gloved fingers to my cheek and tilts my head up, catching my chin in his grip when I flinch away” (132).
- “I’m vibrating in disgust from head to toe” (132).
Additionally, as with most toxic romances in young adult literature, dominance and authority is romanticized, and violence is often connected to romance:
- “He cups my face in his gloved hands, holding my eyes in place. The same hands he just used to kill a man […] His thumb brushes my cheek. ‘Life is a bleak place,’ he whispers” (109-110).
- “I won’t answer your questions if you won’t look at me when I speak to you” (123).
- “Possessive is not a strong enough word for Warner” (127).
- “I stumble backward, stunned, and catch Warner watching me hungrily, eagerly, his emerald eyes bright with boyish fascination. He’s practically trembling in excitement” (171).
- “He tugs so hard on this rip that it splits open the fabric and creates a slit up the side of my leg. ‘That’s a bit better’” (180).
- “’I have a question,’ he says, and I try to kick him in this worthless dress and he just squeezes me up against the wall, the weight of his body pressing me into place […] ‘I said I have a question, Juliette” (181).
It’s important to note, in Shatter Me, Juliette never likes Warner, she is dating Adam. However, through the rest of the series, and in the end, Juliette ends up with Warner. Personally, I planned to just read the first of the trilogy, but after I finished Shatter Me, I needed to read the rest. I needed to see, if in some miraculous way, Warner gains some redeemable qualities. Now I’m here to show you, he absolutely does not.
Once again, here is a list of quotes that prove my point better than I could (from Unravel Me this time):
- “Warner has already touched me, that his hands have known the shape of my body and his lips have known the taste of my mouth—never mind that it wasn’t something I actually wanted” (267).
- “[Warner is] the person who forced me to torture a toddler against my will […] I see him as the leader of an entire sector, eager to conquer me, to use me” (269).
- “He’s not going to hurt me. I hope” (269).
- “Warner, on the other hand, has ransacked my mind” (280).
- “Just thinking about being near him makes me feel anxious, nervous, so vulnerable. I hate that he known my secrets. My secret thoughts” (280).
- “Because he’s playing games with me, because he hasn’t changed, because he’s still trying to get me to do his bidding. He’s still trying to get me to be his project and he’s trying to hurt me” (301).
In Ignite Me, the last book in the Shatter Me series, Mafi attempts to redeem Warner’s character by giving him quick reasons as to why he acted the way he did, placing monologues in the text to explain why he did and said such horrible things, but in my opinion, it’s still not enough. The reasons are not good enough and his excuses are too easily accepted by Juliette. One second she hates him and the next she’s suddenly okay with all the disgusting things he’s done and decides she likes him. It isn’t done well, and their relationship remains toxic.