Well, this was a very different reading experience for me!
If you read my blog then you’ll realise that I am a big fan of Cecelia Ahern and so of course I was excited to read her debut YA novel. My excitement waned very quickly.
Flawed is set in a future world where bad decisions can alienate you from society and you can be branded flawed. It is a great premise and actually the closest thing I have ever found to my own writing. Politically motivated and although set in a warped future, it is a very realistic and possible one.
This book has taken me TWO MONTHS to read! Two months! Well, the first half of it did. I have read countless other books in between which isn’t something I usually allow myself to do, however after the debacle that was Inferno, I decided to break my rule a little.
What I will say is that I may be a little biased here, having been an avid reader of Cecelia Ahern for so long. I do realise this was her first foray into YA but she is a successful and established author. If this book had been written by an unknown author then perhaps I would have been more lenient.
The first thing I noticed was the writing, I personally would never have recognised this as Ahern’s writing. The only way I can put this to best describe it is to say that she dumbed her writing down for YA, at least, that’s the way I felt. For me the difference between adult and YA is not the writing but the content. I felt a bit offended if I’m honest by how much she lowered her writing standard.
I think though my biggest problem with it was the main character Celestine and her actions. She is the Katniss of the book, suddenly responsible for a voice she had never intended to have. During the first half of the book we are constantly and I mean CONSTANTLY told how perfect and logical she is. She is logical and sees everything in black and white. She is mathematical in her thinking, she doesn’t see the greys only the black and white answers. And she is logical.
DID I MENTION THAT SHE IS LOGICAL!?
Yet, in the second half of the book she seems to lose all of her logical thinking and becomes, well, dumb. To say this book is predictable is an understatement. And yet, this extremely logical and black and white thinker isn’t able to see it for herself. I found myself actually shouting at Celestine in parts of the book because I couldn’t quite believe how stupid she was being! I already know this will continue in the second book as she ended the first still having no idea what was right in front of her. I don’t want to give away any spoilers but I will say that if the thing is not where I think it is in the second book then I will profusely apologise but this seems unlikely to happen.
The second half of the book was better than the first half and I’ll give her a point for that. Ahern decided to make a duology here, but the way she has managed it is to just prolong the first half with pointless repetition which is why it took me so long to finish this novel. It just spent so long not going anywhere at all. From the description of the book you would think that the pages would be filled with tension, you know, edge of your seat type of stuff. It wasn’t. At all.
I couldn’t help but feel that Ahern had never read a YA novel but instead just taken all the tropes you usually find in them and sticking them in her book. Maybe I’m being harsh, but I have grown to expect so much more from her. You could probably pick up most of these characters and plonk them in another YA novel and you wouldn’t notice the difference. To say I’m disappointed doesn’t quite cover it. There was a lot of hype around this book and I genuinely don’t see why. I will be reading the upcoming second book because I do like the premise and I am keeping my fingers crossed that it redeems her.
I really regret having to write this review because I am usually a fan but I try to be as honest as I can when I write a review. I could go on but I won’t! But if this review had included spoilers then the word count would have rocketed. Mine might prove to be an unpopular opinion and again I will mention that I write it having read all of her other books so maybe I see it in a different light. I just hope that Perfect, the second installment, is a vast improvement!
What did you think? Am I alone in my opinion?