Flawed by Cecelia Ahern
Publication: March 24th 2016 by Harper Collins
Format: eBook Pages: 334
‘You will be punished…
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.’ – Goodreads
[Guest review by Nalisha.]
Celestine North is more than an average teenager. She is an aspiring mathematician, a model student, the ideal daughter. She strives for excellence in all ways. She is perfect. She is infatuated with Art Crevan – her first love and son of one of the most powerful men in the country Judge Crevan. However, Celestine’s perfect life goes south after she makes a single mistake that lands her on trial in the courts of The Guild. Turns out Judge Crevan, the man she hoped to be her future father-in-law, is practically the devil incarnate.
The Guild is an organisation set-up to enforce a morally and ethically sound society. It is separate from the police and courts of law and it is not a religious institution. There are only two verdicts: Perfect or Flawed. Being Flawed is not the same as being a convicted criminal – it is far, far worse.
‘The Flawed are regular citizens who have made moral or ethical mistakes.’
They are branded on bare skin, segregated from society and condemned to suffer for the rest of their living days. The Flawed are forced to keep their scarred, branded skin on display, to wear identifiable armbands and are stripped of all luxuries and many necessities in life, in order to set an example to the public.
While reading Flawed, I could not stop certain questions from flooding my mind: Why can someone be found guilty of a crime and imprisoned, but not be deemed Flawed? Is there a penalty worse than being Flawed? Is going to prison better than being Flawed – why? What caused The Guild to be created in the first place?
More often than not, I felt I was picking fault with the concept of The Guild and the structure of this dystopian society, rather than questioning morality. There was more exploration of the moral and ethics of the society in the latter half of the book, but I think this lacked depth and detail overall.
For someone as perfect as Celestine, I did not like her at all in the beginning. Not even a little. Celestine lacked emotional intelligence and empathy. Her speech was clipped and repetitive. She was patronising and highly judgemental of others for the pettiest reasons. She had an over simplified, dualistic mentality which lacked the logic she so regularly claimed to have. Her personality was simply tedious. But for each thing I disliked about Celestine, I found traits I liked in other characters to keep me going.
As the story progressed, Celestine began to change. Her character began to grow on me and I grew concerned for her wellbeing. She develops some guts and compassion for others, albeit through extreme suffering because of her mistakes. She starts to question her inner demons, her relationships and her prejudices. She feels the fear and goes against the grain anyway. By the end of the story, she becomes the catalyst for something that is bigger than she could ever have planned for.
Despite some of the questions gnawing in the back of my mind, I enjoyed Flawed. I would be lying if I said I was not curious to find out what becomes of Celestine.
The sequel, Perfect by Cecelia Ahern is expected to be published on April 4th, 2017.