Celestine North lives a perfect life. She’s a model daughter and sister, she’s well-liked by her classmates and teachers, and she’s dating the impossibly charming Art Crevan. But then Celestine encounters a situation in which she makes an instinctive decision. She breaks a rule and now faces life-changing repercussions. She could be imprisoned. She could be branded. She could be found FLAWED.
Like many, I have been a fan of Cecelia Ahern’s books for many years now. What I enjoy most about her books is that they are different to the norm; they keep you guessing with magical twists, incomparable characters, and quirky plots. I can safely say Flawed was no different. Set in a dystopian society where perfection is mandatory and stepping out of line comes with serious consequences. These consequences see members of the public who are deemed to be ‘flawed’ branded in an area that corresponds to their ‘flaw’. The society is overseen by The Guild, who has connections with the media and government, and they are the ones who decide if a member of society is flawed or not.
Having not read too many dystopian/sci-fi novels (although I definitely want to read others after this!), I found the plot intriguing, partly because from the off it is fast paced and intense. The focus on perfection is heavy and one mistake will see a member of the public taken away immediately. This constant watchful eye over society reminded me a little of George Orwell’s 1984, where you live by the rules or you are punished and ostracised from regular society. The Flawed are treated as contagious and are hated by society, they also have their own seats on the bus, their own aisle in a supermarket, no luxury food items but only the basics, and an endless list of rules they must abide by for the rest of their lives.
In the opening chapter we are introduced to our heroine, Celestine North, and she is about as perfect as you can get. Celestine seemingly has it all, popularity, the perfect boyfriend, the perfect family, the best grades, until one judgement changes all this and more forever. I really enjoyed Celestine as a main character and rooted for her throughout the book, as you see her evolve from a naive and brainwashed character into a heroine to the people. I’ve read a couple of other reviews on Celestine’s character and have noticed that not everyone warmed to her, particularly because of her preciseness/dictionary definitions. Whilst this did become a little annoying in parts, it by no means put me off the character. I interpreted it as a link to her constant strive for perfection, if not a touch robotic, and understood why it had been written that way.
In terms of my favourite character, I would have to say Celestine’s Grandpa. For those of you who have read the book, you will know what I mean. For those who haven’t, he will probably be your favourite too! He is very believable and has a young at heart, defiant character about him. I think he is an integral part in Celestine’s realisation that perfection is not realistic and doesn’t exist, no matter how much it is thrust upon society.
One thing I particularly liked about this book is that it wasn’t solely focused on romance, yes it’s in there, but the story is not reliant on it. There are some difficult subjects explored in the plot and they will make you feel angry, sad, and will have you squirming all in one sitting, but other parts will have you punching the air as there are secrets to be uncovered and justice to prevail. I suggest if you are starting this book that you don’t plan anything else in for the day, because you will not be able to put it down!
I have a real soft spot for this book and its characters and will definitely be picking up the sequel (out March 31st!) This book is perfect if you’re a fan of dystopian novels, a Black Mirror-esque style or are after a new genre to sink your teeth into. I have yet to be disappointed with Ahern’s work and certainly wasn’t with Flawed, its critique of society’s flaws and rules is current and thought provoking. Now to wait patiently impatiently for the sequel…
What did you think of Flawed? Let me know!