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Book Review: Perfect by Cecelia Ahern

Perfect is the sequel to Flawed, Cecelia Ahern’s dystopian duology and YA debut. After a never ending reading slump I suddenly had the urge to dive into Celestine North’s new and flawed life and continue her journey to an equal society. This review won’t contain any spoilers for Perfect but I will be talking about it in relation to Flawed, so read with caution if you haven’t read the first book.

Perfect picks up two weeks after Flawed ended. Celestine North is on the run after refusing to work with Crevan, the leader of the Guild who decides who is Flawed, and receiving a sixth unplanned and illegal brand, making her the most Flawed person on earth. She is also the most hunted Flawed person. What I loved about the slight gap between the two books is that Perfect immediately started in the action. It was clear from the information given to us by Celestine that life had changed since we last saw her. This shift in time allowed Ahern to enter the action and write exciting events from the moment you opened the first page. I found the writing to be fast-paced and engaging from the get go.

Let’s start with the characters because what’s a better place to start than with the people whose journey you join. There was a good mix of old and new characters who all had their own interesting story to tell. Many of the characters from Flawed challenged your original perception of them, their motives always being revealed. Nothing was as it seemed. I enjoyed Perfect a lot because I really felt like I was in the head of the protagonist, Celestine  North. Ahern created such a strong narrative voice. Celestine was a very verbal narrator so you always knew what she was thinking. I liked this style because you felt like you were involved in the revelations and decision making, like a part of the book rather than a spectator. I think my favourite character has to be Carrick; the boy who was on the other side of the glass in Celestine’s Flawed trial quickly transformed to a strong force in both the novel and the protagonists life. His development was really well written. He changed from this mysterious, brooding male to an emotional, determined character with a tough past and a strong will to change society for the better. Both characters really resonated with me and were a large part of why I enjoyed Perfect so much.

As this is a duology and not a trilogy or longer series the plot was full of continuous action. The story jumped from point to point without feeling too busy, always advancing to the climactic ending. The plot was not only driven by itself, but by the characters, politics, and most importantly, society. I enjoyed Perfect so much because it questions what we think is good and bad in society and how we treat people because of that. When I first read Flawed I did think the idea of an independent guild who decide if people are morally flawed was a pretty terrifying prospect. The more perfect dealt with that the more it affected me. Ahern created a horrible society amongst a perfect one. I felt increasingly sad for the Flawed people who had to live like second class citizens, especially when it revealed their ‘crimes’ were often areas of moral conflict like believing in anti-vaccination, or sending consensual explicit pictures of yourself, none of which are crimes. I started to realise these were people that I had probably judged in my own life and I became overwhelmed. It was such an emotional experience that made me consider my own thoughts and actions. I know that as an opinionated person I will definitely think twice about why I’m judging someone in the future.

Perfect was an exhilarating dystopian story which questioned morality and the treatment of people within society. Not only was it an exciting, fast-paced story full of rich and realistic characters, but the novel made me think about my own life. There was a huge feeling of hope and change which made me really emotional. I was so gripped that I lost all sense of time whilst reading. I often found myself having to force myself to close the pages so I could take in everything I was reading and to savour this brilliant, impactful novel. I struggled to put such strong thoughts into words for others to understand but I hope I can persuade some of you to read Flawed and Perfect. I’d certainly recommend this short but sweet duology.

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Happy reading!

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