I was quite pleasantly surprised by this book. I’m usually not a fan of dystopian novels, especially in YA. I think I just liked the message that Ms. Ahern was trying to convey, because it is definitely an issue that affects our society today, particularly with teens who feel like their flaws are the only things that define them.
My rating: 3.75/5 Stars
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 where 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.
In her breathtaking young adult debut, bestselling author Cecelia Ahern depicts a society where perfection is paramount and flaws lead to punishment. And where one young woman decides to take a stand that could cost her everything.
The premise of the novel is that ethical flaws should be punished, although separately from criminal acts. This was what really bumped my rating down. This setting was very unrealistic to me. I’d like to believe that humanity, which is flawed yet good, would never allow for this. I don’t ever think we could end up in a community like this because it doesn’t make sense: there are just too many contradictions. Wouldn’t it be a flaw to judge people for their flaws?
I did enjoy the physical setting of the novel. Most dystopians feature cities with hard, clean lines, but Ahern created the Highlands, which is a sort of gothic, European-looking place with beautiful and elaborate architecture. As a fantasy-lover, this really appealed to me. I only wish Ahern had expanded upon this a bit more. I would have liked more vivid imagery.
I have a lot of mixed feelings about our main character, Celestine North (although I do love her name. All the names in the book are pretty cool, actually). Sometimes she is naive, sometimes she is clever. Sometimes she is dry as a board and other times she is witty. Sometimes she is brave, and other times she’s the biggest wimp ever.
She’s usually smart, BUT AT TIMES SHE’S UNBEARABLY STUPID. It’s not a nice transition from unfavorable traits to favorable ones-they all seemed to mix together, almost as if they were alternating. There is no clear development, because you’ll think she’s changed for the better after a certain scene,but then she goes back to being annoying. That being said, she does have her really badass moments, and I definitely appreciated them.
The plot, despite being a tad on the slow side, was quite intriguing, so I didn’t mind. The story itself made sense to me in the setting. *sigh*. And that story. That was one helluva ride. My heart broke about five times and I was actually on the verge of tears for certain scenes. Ahern did not shy away from brutal, gory descriptions. I shudder thinking about some of them. One thing I did not like was the ending, because it was super anticlimatic. It resolved on a mostly cliffhangery note, but I think all and all Ahern did a good job setting up a stable foundation for the next book. I just wish there had been a bit more action in the end.
My favorite aspect of the book is the way Ahern is actually mocking our own society. Even though everyone is well aware that it is impossible to be perfect, we still strive for it and criticize others who don’t meet our standards. I think Flawed did well in portraying a more literal version of our society’s expectations. Although we would never be physically punished for imperfections, we face mental and verbal challenges because of them, and I think this is what Ahern was trying to convey. The red armband that the Flawed had to wear is our perception of what we think other people see our flaws as. When there is something wrong, we feel as if it is on display for the whole world to ridicule and mock, but this isn’t the case. I’m glad that Celestine finally made this realization, and I will definitely be picking up the next book.
Thank you for reading? Have you read Flawed? What did you think of it? Let me know in the comments!