Flawed by Cecilia Ahern
Published by: HarperCollins
Format: ARC e-book
I received a copy of this book from the publishers in exchange for an honest review.
When I first saw that Cecilia Ahern, the beloved author of adult romance fiction, was coming out with a YA dystopian, I was instantly intrigued. For an author to make such a big jump in genre and target audience, is not common, and it’s something I think authors should do more of. If they want to write horror and historical fiction, why not? But, in order to be successful in more that one genre, you have to know how it works, and to me, it felt like Ahern had simply read the popular dystopians and tried her best to replicate, without knowing what’s necessary to make them actually good.
W O R L D B U I L D I N G
The book follows Celestine, a girl who’s perfect in a society where being ‘flawed’ (which can range from getting a tummy tuck to murder) is punishable by branding (with an F on up to five different places of the body) or imprisonment. Being Flawed is not a crime (??? I’m pretty sure it is if you get branded for it) but helping one is (???) So, you can commit a flaw or whatever, get punished, and then live a life with different rules and curfews but otherwise be fine, BUT if you help someone Flawed, WOW you’re so evil for treating human beings like human beings.
The logistics of the world were bad. Celestine helps a Flawed man take a seat on a bus and all of a sudden, she’s the MOST FLAWED PERSON IN THE HUMAN HISTORY and a ‘poster girl of rebellion’. (Hunger Games, much?)
There was so much exposition at the beginning, it just read like a dump of information. Like, here’s the main character, her boyfriend, her family and the most evil man in the society all in one room. But, the one flaw of Flawed is it’s lack a reasoning behind the dystopian environment. What made being ‘flawed’ so bad? I’m pretty sure no human is completely perfect which would make everyone flawed and the world redundant. At least in Divergent, Slated, The Hunger Games, Breathe, etc you’re given a reason why the world came into existence.
C H A R A C T E R
Celestine was the most irritating protagonist of a dystopian I’ve come across. Every decision she made was bad. So, her boyfriend’s father is the Judge who was ruling over her trial, that would prove or disprove her as Flawed. She was given a script of what she could say to be deemed not Flawed, but when the opportunity came to prove her innocence, she REBELLED and then when she’s thrust in the spotlight as the heart of a rebellion, she DOESN’T WANT TO REBEL. I kept thinking that it was her bad decision that got her into this mess. She could have saved herself the pain, heartache and separation by agreeing that she wasn’t Flawed. She would still have a boyfriend and access to schooling and not have someone watching her every move. Her life was perfect, and it’s not like she disliked the society she was in to a great extent, yet she still chose to reject any possible chance of happiness.
I realise if Celestine had done what the Judge wanted her to do, then we wouldn’t have had a story, but maybe that would have been better. Celestine was not suited to be the face of a rebellion. Even when Cinna and his crew – I mean Mr. Berry and the guards, surrounded her, she still couldn’t do it. Effie Trinket, or as she’s known here as Pia, also tried to help expose the Judge as cruel, but Celestine didn’t trust her. So we’ve got trust issues and bad decision making, no gumption and a weak character.
V E R D I C T
Everything about this was cliche. I’ve read so many dystopians now that are based around branding and being deemed a sinner, like Branded and Rite of Rejection (both of which were self-published and read a lot better than this!) If you’ve interested in the world of Flawed, I’d recommend reading the books above instead. I know it’s impossible to write dystopians now without being compared to the bestsellers, but calling this a mix of The Scarlet Letter and Divergent is misleading. One star, I’m afraid.
(And just because my lovely flatmate thought this was the perfect description, I’ll end with: All I can say, from the bottom of my heart: yikes.)