Flawed – book review

“I am a girl of definitions, of logic, of black and white. Remember this.”

In a world where you are branded for your imperfections, Celestine North’s once perfect life is about to crack when she is faced with a moral decision. One ‘mistake’ and she faces being branded as flawed.

Bestseller Cecelia Ahern’s Flawed is not your typical young adult dystopian future and, because of this, one must go into it with an open mind. To compare it to other books in the genre, such as The Hunger Games, would be completely unfair. It’s an easy read with a pretty simple yet intriguing plot.

The main antagonist of the story is Judge Crevan, face of The Guild. Judges of The Guild pass judgement of those accused of being ‘flawed’. Once the accused is found guilty the letter F is branded on either their temple, tongue, foot, hand or chest, depending on what brought them to trial.

Keep in mind: few are found not flawed and it’s rare for one to receive more than three brands.

Celestine is a smart, reserved and perfect girl. Protagonists usually perceived as flawless are often criticised for not being real enough and Celestine has certainly been criticised, but in defence of Ahern, her story is literally about cracks in perfection.

Ahern handled the diversity of characters beautifully. We see a whole array of characters of different ethnicities and sexualities – Celestine herself is black – which is rare in a lot of genres in fiction. There’s a particular scene where Celestine calls a number looking for a character and his husband answers instead. A simple gesture but perhaps one of the best bits of the novel.

Although Flawed is unique in its storytelling, it does have problems of its own.

The general rule for writing a story is to show don’t tell. Surprisingly, the majority of Ahern’s book is basically Celestine telling us what’s going on rather than seeing any sort of action. This type of storytelling can be delivered well, but it really doesn’t apply here.

Then there’s the ‘love triangle’, if it can be called that. In the beginning of the story, Celestine is hopelessly in love with her boyfriend Art, son of the despicable Judge Craven. Art falls under the typical pretty boy trope we see in young adult fiction; funny, sarcastic, ‘kind-hearted’ yet bitterly jealous if any other guy were to interact with his ‘girl’.

This actually happens several times throughout the story, even to the point where Art breaks up with Celestine for being invited to a party. It’s not cute, it’s romanticising emotional abuse.

Carrick, poor, one liner Carrick, becomes the object of obsession for Celestine. Obsession, not affection. Fair enough, they went through a lot in their short time together but they literally only talked once to each other and yet Celestine is infatuated by him.

However, the romance is a minuscule point compared to the main plot.

Flawed has the potential to be a very interesting series but as of right now the plot, romantic arc, and characters need more development. Hopefully it will pick up in the next title, Perfect, in April 2017.