Review: Flawed

Flawed by J.L. Spelbring

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

In a world where Hitler won the The War, and perfection is constantly sought, Ellyssa has broken free from her austere life and has found another meaning for her existence.

Family, friendship, and love.

But her happiness is short lived. Ellyssa finds herself on the run, again. Her father’s work didn’t die with him, but lives on in her siblings, Aalexis and Xaver, and they are determined to complete his unfinished dream.

All that potential of a racism-influenced dystopia, all of it wasted on a love story. That is what disappointed me the most about Flawed. There is this brilliant concept of a world governed by a person’s genetics and how it can be taught to be accepting and the plot is more focused on the love scenes between the protagonist Ellyssa and her movie boyfriend Rein. When thinking about the emotional awakening of conditioned soldiers, I would think empathy is a more useful emotion than love, but yeah – all YA has to be focused on love, right? Atleast Perfection had focused on Ellyssa forgetting her conditioning and joining the Renegades but Flawed was a poor rehash of Perfection. Simply put, Flawed suffers from the Sequel Syndrome – can’t live up to the potential of the first.

The writing was good but can’t sustain a plot that focuses on how hot the guys are. We get – they are the ‘perfect’ specimens, blah blah. Xaver is a sociopathic romantic – we get it! Rein is hot as Sam Winchester – we get it! Can we just move on to the actual story? Honestly, the start of the book was a snoozefest and I lost interest in Ellyssa POV pretty soon. Aalexis and Mathew gave a good narrative and honestly, it was more interesting through their eyes. In a book where there is a freaking containment camp, how can oodles of pages be devoted to the lovefest going on? I get that every dystopian book is avoiding trying to be the next Hunger Games, but incorporating romance in a dystopia is a pretty silly concept. Delirium did it right – well, that was basically the main plot point there – but here? Nah, just don’t go there in a dystopia. Nobody cares how soulful the person’s eyes are and how many times your midsection quivers (I got pretty sick of that line too – takes me to Romance novel territory) when there are PEOPLE DYING! Love in the face of death is an okay concept but not practical for a rebellion-themed book.

Most of the review seems like a rant because that’s what I really want to do. I left the book halfway, started another one, finished it and then came back to this – I was that frustrated to read it in one go. It got better in the second half, when things actually started HAPPENING, but by then my brain was fried. Xaver and Aalexis were a more interesting couple than Ellyssa and Rein and when you start cheering for the antagonists’ romance, man, that’s rough. Another bullet dodged was the almost-love-triangle (though I am not sure whether to call it almost – it was there and then kinda resolved a few chapters later?) but when you look at Ellyssa’s perspective, it feels like it is there? She herself says that she doesn’t like another girl making eyes at Woody so I am not sure whether to call it an almost love triangle or not. Even Rein is a one-dimensional character – he is the movie girlfriend who just keeps getting caught in the villian’s clutches and has to be saved by the heroine. I mean, seriously, that happened in the last book too.

The take-away message is – skip this installment and go to the next (whichever is coming because the story isn’t close to being over) because honestly, it doesn’t do much advancement in plot besides humanizing the antagonists and introducing yet another Renegade camp. Below 3 for this one, and even that is mostly because of Aalexis and Mathew.

Received an ARC from Spencer Hill Press via Netgalley for review purposes. This has in no way affected my opinion of the book or the comments in my review

View all my reviews


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