Nobody’s perfect. 4/5 stars.
Thank you to HarperCollins UK and NetGalley for giving me an e-copy of this book in return for an honest review.
The blurb: Celestine North lives a perfect life. She’s a model daughter and sister, she’s well-liked by her classmates and teachers, and she’s dating the impossibly charming Art Crevan.
But then Celestine encounters a situation in which she makes an instinctive decision. She breaks a rule and now faces life-changing repercussions. She could be imprisoned. She could be branded. She could be found FLAWED.
In this stunning novel, bestselling author Cecelia Ahern depicts a society in which perfection is paramount and mistakes are punished. And where one young woman decides to take a stand that could cost her everything.
If a frail stranger needed urgent medical attention, would you help them? Of course you would. Now, what if helping this stranger would get you into lots of trouble, would you still help them? You’d probably like to think you would anyway, right? But what if helping the stranger meant you and your family got into a lot of trouble? What would you do then?
These are the kinds of dilemmas raised in Flawed which, like all the best dystopian fiction, encourages its readers to ponder difficult questions. It also touches on interesting issues such as trial by media and the often slippery distinction between legality and morality.
Good, but a missed opportunity. 3.5/5 stars
The blurb: For years, Gansey has been on a quest to find a lost king. One by one, he’s drawn others into this quest: Ronan, who steals from dreams; Adam, whose life is no longer his own; Noah, whose life is no longer a lie; and Blue, who loves Gansey…and is certain she is destined to kill him.
Now the endgame has begun. Dreams and nightmares are converging. Love and loss are inseparable. And the quest refuses to be pinned to a path.
My (spoiler-free) take:
I’m sorry the following is so vague: I’m avoiding anything approaching a spoiler!
The Raven King is the fourth and final installment in The Raven Cycle. I enjoyed book 1 – The Raven Boys – and book 3 – Blue Lily, Lily Blue – very much. I wasn’t as keen on book 2 – The Dream Thieves – mostly because it I think the characters are at their best when working together and they spend most of the book apart/not getting on.
My hopes were high for The Raven King. I was hoping for something epic. After sticking with the characters through three previous books I was expecting a grand finale, a mind-blowing conclusion which was both stunning and satisfying.
So I’m a bit disappointed that I can summarize my reaction to this book as “meh” and “eh?”
I was hopeful, but I just can’t warm to this series. 3/5 stars.
The blurb: No blurb to avoid all spoilers for anyone wanting to start this series from the beginning. Click on the cover image for the Goodreads blurb, or you can visit my review of Book 1, Red Queen.
I’ve just re-read my review of Red Queen which was full of concerns, but also expressed hope that the sequel would improve on some of the first book’s weak spots. And it does. I think the plotting in Glass Sword is strong (the characters have a series of clearly-defined missions) and Aveyard introduces a couple of interesting new characters. The writing remain solid…and yet…any yet…
My issue with this book all stems from my problems with its first-person narrator. Using a first-person narrator is a gamble: if a reader connects with the character and their voice they’re likely to be hooked and have a great experience of the story; if they don’t then the writer loses them. And I didn’t connect with Mare, the first-person narrator of the whole series so far. At best, I’m indifferent to her. At worst, I find her stupid and tremendously selfish. And, as she’s our only narrator, the entire book becomes a long and dreary immersion in the thoughts of someone so self-centred that – at several points – they reduce the narrative to: “Me, me, me, la-di-dah, me, me me, oh and did I mention MEMEMEMEMEMEME”. And as I really don’t care for her or her suffering, I found myself skimming forward to get to the end asap.
At this point, I’m honestly not sure I’ll bother reading book 3.
Overall: If you read Red Queen and found yourself sympathizing with and rooting for Mare then you’ll probably enjoy Glass Sword. As I’ve said, the plot is solid and there are some likeable secondary characters. But, for me, these plus points were sadly over-shadowed by the increasingly dull and narcissistic voice of the narrator.