This is the sequel to Cecelia Ahern’s Flawed.
Those that are less than perfect are branded and labelled flawed in this dystopian near-future. Yet the whole system itself is flawed: there is corruption and power-seeking and the judgement about who is and who isn’t flawed is very subjective. Horrifically babies can be designated as flawed at birth. F.A.B.
Protagonist Celestine North complicates her situation by becoming an evader, one who hides from the law.
Many know that this is wrong but lack the courage to speak out. Eventually they do and it is in part thanks to Celestine finding and showing the footage of Judge Crevan himself branding her spine without anaesthetic. She already has five brands.
There are two love interests for Cecelia. She hooks up with Carrick, another evader. She also still has some feelings for her former boyfriend, Art, who is also Crevan’s son.
This novel is powerful in that all is not back and white. Art becomes a Whistleblower - one of the guards who supervises the correct containment of the Flawed. He rejects this role when he realises what his father has done. There is a moment when Celestine almost feels sorry for Crevan: he is now stripped of his fine robes and his role and she remembers how he just used to be Art’s dad.
The ending is upbeat. The Guild is overthrown but we realise that this society will have to work hard to build something humane and effective. The work is only just beginning.
The stakes are high and pace is fast throughout. There are plenty of cliff-hangers and twists.
This is a long book – 426 pages and the format is 9 x 6 inches. The font is adobe Thai point 13 so the text resembles a book for adults. However, the chapters are very short with a few of them being just one page long.