Last night I finished Flawed, Cecelia Ahern’s YA debut. I’ve been on a bit of a YA binge recently and as this was gifted to me at Christmas and has been on my TBR pile for a while so I thought it was time to give it a go. I’m a huge dystopian fan and it’s probably one of my most read genres so I had high hopes for this book. Flawed follows the story of Celestine North, the perfect, rule following girl… until she realises how imperfect, or should I say flawed, her society is. I have a bit of an unusual opinion about Flawed that I’m struggling to sum up, finding it a bit trope-y and similar to other famous dystopian novels at first. However, there was a turning point in this novel that completely captured my attention and changed my opinion. Plus, I read it in nine days so it really couldn’t have been that bad.
This review will be hugely spoiler filled because I want to get across my opinions to give an honest review! Read away if you’ve already read Flawed, but I’d advise avoiding if you haven’t…
Flawed had an interesting concept, although slightly obvious, that made me want to read on. Set in Britain, which was slightly odd at first as I seem to only have read American dystopian novels, this offered a spin on a very current reality. It dealt with a lot of moral and ethical problems that I am accustomed to seeing in the news, and regularly have heated discussions about. This made the novel relatable and truthful. However, I found Flawed a little too real at times. The only notable difference to our own society was the Guild that implemented the Flawed punishment. I typically think of a dystopian novel as being a analogy, hidden in a unthinkable world, but the concept of Flawed was very different. Despite this interest, I found I had to push through the first third of the book. It wasn’t bad but it was full of too much exposition and I got the premise very quickly, so it started to feel a little slow. It was pretty obvious that Celestine was going to in a predicament, and then the bus incident happened and I knew she would be branded Flawed. I kind of wanted the plot to speed up so I could see what happened after.
Then, her branding happened. There was of course the sixth branding twist and the real problems started to unravel. The build up to her punishment was pretty interesting and I fell completely in love with Carrick, needing to know every detail about his character. This mysterious, brooding characterisation definitely ensured I kept reading, just to find out more about him. Once Celestine began living her life as a Flawed the novel really changed for me. As her old life unravelled there were so many twists and turns, little plot twists and exciting moments that brought the story to life. Although the ‘bring down the government poster girl’ vibe reminded me of The Hunger Games, the story was still somewhat fresh. The very short chapters, which at first were slightly annoying, played a great part in the fast-paced action in the second part of the book. In addition, the first person narrative helped to keep this story new and interesting. I’m definitely used to reading third person dystopian novels and it felt slightly strange to be in the mind of Celestine, but as you learnt about the corrupt government and the people trying to bring it down the viewpoint worked well. Eventually I really started to enjoy Flawed and couldn’t put it down. Pia, the humiliation, and the disappearing guards all had me sat up in bed. As I began to realise that this was the first part in what I assume is a two-part series I knew I could expect a lot more from Ahern. Flawed ends on a huge cliff hanger and as I fell in love with Carrick so much, I need to know what happens to him.
Despite being a slow starter and wishing the build up was cut down, the overall narrative was interesting and I think I can even say I started to really like Flawed. As Cecelia Ahern transitioned from adult books to her YA debut I didn’t think was bad. She really tried to use her authorial power to make important social commentary, and this is something I do every day I grew fond of the girl who had the power to take down Crevan and the Guild. This was also an easy read, very light and quick to finish, despite its deep message. If you read my book reviews regularly you know I don’t use a rating system, but I’d say this would sit around the 3.5/5 mark. The overall feel of Flawed was great and I really enjoyed it, but it was a shame that he beginning didn’t work as well for me. I won’t be rushing to read Perfect, the second book, but I think I’ll be very willing once my TBR pile has died down. Flawed leaves many unanswered questions and Ahern’s writing definitely improved as the novel progressed so I’d like to see what she has in store.
What did you think of Flawed? Do you agree with any of my opinions? Let me know below!