Celestine North lives in a society that demands perfection. After she was branded Flawed, Celestine’s life has fractured completely – all her freedoms gone.
Since Judge Crevan declared her the number-one threat to the public, she has been on the run with the complicated, powerfully attractive Carrick, the only person she can trust. But Celestine has a secret – one that could bring the entire Flawed system crumbling to the ground.
Judge Crevan is gaining the upper hand, and time is running out for Celestine. With tensions building, she must make a choice: save only herself, or risk her life to save all the Flawed…
This review contains spoilers for the first book!
“There’s the person who you think you should be and there’s the person who you really are. I’ve lost a sense of both. I’m Flawed. But I’m a survivor. And I’m not about to give up…”
I can’t believe I managed to wait over a year for this book and it was definitely worth it because this book did not disappoint. I was hooked on the story the whole way through and devoured it in what felt like no time at all. I haven’t read any other books by Cecelia Ahern but I am definitely going to now because her writing was very gripping. She has a way of sucking you into the story and not letting you go until you’ve turned the very last page. I’m so sad this story has come to an end and wished it had been made into a trilogy just so I could have one last adventure with these characters.
I’ll just do a quick recap of the first book and the story overall. Celestine is seen as a threat to one particular person, Judge Crevan, and that is because she has the power to destroy him. She is known as the most Flawed person in society because she has five brands that they know about. The most brands received by only one person was three and Celestine was given all five plus a secret sixth one on her spine. If you steal from society, you are branded on your right hand. For bad judgement, your right temple. For collusion with the Flawed, the sole of your right foot. For disloyalty, your chest. For lying, your tongue. But Celestine receives a sixth brand because Judge Crevan believes she is Flawed to her very backbone. But since they have never done a brand on a person’s spine before and without anaesthetic, what Crevan is doing is illegal and actually argues that he himself is Flawed for going against the law and the Guild. Plus he brands her himself because the people in the branding chamber refuse to which shows just how ugly his judgement is.
Unbeknownst to Crevan, Celestine’s lawyer is actually filming the branding so everyone will be able to see how Flawed Crevan is and question if he should be in charge of the Guild. The first book ends with Celestine going on the run as she is now wanted by Crevan and being hunted by Whistleblowers. He believes she has the recording and he wants to stop her from showing everyone what really happened in the branding chamber.
The start of Perfect was great and in the first 30 pages my heart was already hammering with excitement. I was expecting a slow start to the book but Celestine briefly describes what she has been doing since she has been in hiding and nail-biting stuff happens as her hideout is once again raided by Whistleblowers and she is forced to take drastic measures to hide from them. I really like how Celestine is eighteen because I find it more believable that she is a threat as opposed to if she was sixteen. In other books it makes me cringe a little when society sees a sixteen year old as a threat and it happens way too often in young adult books. So I liked how Celestine was older and much prefer that. It did annoy me though how much she kept going on about how good at maths she was but not at reading people. It felt a little repetitive and it seemed like she was boasting at times about how clever she is.
What really frustrated me about the start of this book was Celestine not realising just how powerful she is. She constantly questions why Crevan wants her so much and why he is going to all this trouble trying to find her. It isn’t until later when she realises her sixth brand, plus the recording of it, makes her a powerful threat to Crevan. It gives her the power to destroy him and label him as Flawed in front of everyone. I just couldn’t understand how she didn’t realise that. Crevan branded her illegally and went against his own system so now he wants to find Celestine and cover up the fact that he lost control. Luckily when she realises just how powerful she is, she immediately sets her mind on bringing Crevan down and destroying the Guild.
Carrick is really at the centre of the story in this book. In the first one he was wrapped up in mystery. We knew nothing about him and he disappeared for the majority of the book only to come back right at the end. I was looking forward to getting to know him more and we learn so much about him! He is given a strong personality with quite an emotional backstory. We understand more about his character, why he lashes out a lot of the time, we understand his anger and his protectiveness. I liked seeing him and Celestine together and I liked how they had an emotional connection. They had bonded over their time in the Guild prison cells and it brought them closer together. I was expecting a romance between them so it wasn’t that much of a surprise but what I did like was that it didn’t completely take over the story. The centre of the story is their battle against the Guild and it never wavers once throughout. The romance between Celestine and Carrick takes a backseat, we know it’s there but it only pops up occasionally. I really liked this because I have read so many books where the romance completely takes over the story and the actual plot ends up taking a backseat until it’s remembered at the end. Stop doing this. We don’t like it. Thankfully it didn’t happen in this book. I really liked all the side characters too because they felt really fleshed out and all had strong personalities. They were also given a backstory and you find out quite a lot about them. Normally side characters aren’t acknowledged too much but I think Cecelia went into a lot of detail with these characters and really highlighted the daily struggle of Flawed people. All through the book was enthralling scenes and it was so exciting to read. It was such an exciting book and I couldn’t put it down. I’d be sat there reading for hours, devouring half the book in one day.
What I loved about this book is Celestine embracing her flaws. In the first book she is so obsessed with being perfect that the very idea of being Flawed terrifies her. But in this one she acknowledges her flaws and embraces them, accepting them as being a part of her. Without these flaws, she wouldn’t be human. I loved the focus on families in this book. Celestine’s parents are so supportive of her and were constantly on her side, cheering her on. Even though Celestine had all those flaws to her family she was still perfect and they never abandoned her for it, not even once.
The ending was incredible, everything I wanted and more. Again there was a lot of nail-biting scenes that had me on the edge of my seat. I was flipping page after page, my eyes practically bulging out of my head. It was an explosive but satisfying ending to this series and I couldn’t be happier with it. Everything is resolved and wrapped up nicely in the last chapter. I would highly recommend this duology, it’s a well thought out story with intense and gripping scenes throughout. It has very likeable characters and an inspiring message for everyone reading it. If you haven’t already checked these books out, please do. You won’t regret it!