Perfect is the second (and it seems final) book in Cecelia Ahern’s Young Adult Series Flawed. Everything that made Flawed such a surprise was still there, but somehow Perfect just doesn’t pack the same punch.
Celestine North was the perfect teenager until she runs afoul of the law by standing up for an elderly gentleman on a bus who just happened to be branded Flawed by an all-powerful government entity called The Guild. Branded Flawed herself for the infraction Celestine finds herself the unwitting figurehead for the movement to destroy the guild. On the run, with no one to trust, Celestine must find the evidence to clear her name, and stand in defence of all the other Flawed.
There is nothing new or original here. It’s every YA dystopian novel ever written, all amalgamated in to one. There wasn’t anything original in Flawed either, but because of the strength of the writing and the narrative style it was easy to forgive. Perfect has as many moments of tragic, visceral violence as its predecessor, and has just as many truly emotional moments that kept me reading in to the wee hours of the morning. So why then could I not enjoy this one as much as the first?
Cecelia Ahern made one mistake with Perfect. She broke the fourth wall. She made the mistake of using current pop culture references in her narrative which broke me out of my suspension of disbelief and brought the whole plot and concept come crashing down around my ears.
When something is set in a similar society with its own rules and logic I can believe how entities like the guild come to be. But when an author suggests that this fantasy world is somehow akin to my present, then there had better be some really deep and well thought out world building to make me believe it. But there wasn’t. So I didn’t.
As soon as the one flaw comes out in a book the house of cards that was narrative believability came crashing down. All of a sudden, I was thinking about what was happening in the rest of the world. Why is the UN not stepping in for human rights violations? Why on earth would people allow this dictatorship to start in the first place, especially since they still have a democratic voting system and the Flawed are still allowed to vote? As soon as I was reading a book about my world, and not some alternate fantasy world, the questions just kept coming and coming and the book failed to be in any way believable.
Celestine was still a decent character, but I still needed more development of the satellite characters. There was a feeble attempt at a love triangle that went nowhere, and Celestine’s relationship with Carrick was just not developed enough to convince me that they’d do everything that they did for each other.
Perfect wasn’t bad, and it did bring the two-book series to an end in a satisfying way. Despite its flaws, Flawed is still a much better series than Divergent and was really fun to read. I read the book in a day, because I just needed to keep reading to see how it ends. No matter what else I say about the book, that’s probably the most important. It was enjoyable. (If not entirely believable).