Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Review: Flawed by Kate Avelynn

Title: Flawed 

Author: Kate Avelynn 

Rating: 2.5 Stars 

You need to know straight off the bat that this is one of those reviews you should take with a grain of salt. I read Flawed just after finishing Juliet Marillier’s masterpiece, Daughter of the Forest, and you should know, that reading order did no wonders for this novel. While both novels are vastly dissimilar, they both contain protagonists who have suffered through difficult situations and while Sorcha, the compelling heroine of Marillier’s tale, managed to make me weep and feel with intensity every feeling she felt, I unfortunately can’t say the same about Sarah, the protagonist of Flawed. Furthermore, Flawed is a novel that left me confused. I was forced to simply think about this book when I was finished with it – just not in a good way. It didn’t compel me to question society and think deeply about the issues this book covered, it simply made me think about why the book ended the way it did and how I actually felt about it – two questions I’m still not sure I entirely have the answers to.

Flawed is one of the most perfectly names books I’ve come across. It is flawed, just as the characters and the lives they lead are as well. Flawed starts off immersing us into a world of horror, sadness, and misery. Sarah and her older brother, James, have grown up in an abusive household. Not only does their father repeatedly beat them, but their mother is a drug addict and as such, they have been forced to rely solely on one another as they’ve aged. At a young age itself, the two siblings made a pact: James would protect Sarah from their father’s beatings as long as Sarah promised never to leave him. While Sarah sees nothing harmful in this simple promise, the true repercussions of it are felt later on in her life as she begins to fall for Sam, the sweet-spoken and gentle friend of James. As James witnesses their romance blossoming, his own pent-up feelings for his sister – not-so brotherly ones, mind you – begin to come to the surface. In this flawed world, is there any real hope for Sarah?

No, there isn’t. I hate to say it, but this book ends on a note that leaves me angry, upset, and feeling like I wasted my time because, to put it bluntly, this is not a story of hope. It isn’t even realistic, which is usually the other option when we are faced with novels that don’t feature around a theme of hopefulness. I’m getting ahead of myself though – we’ll talk about the end at the end. Firstly, what you need to know is that Flawed is a surprisingly quick read. It’s short, its chapters are short, and it will have you turning the pages in anticipation. Sarah and Sam’s romance is sweet – if you’re into sweet. I, on the other hand, yearned for more substance from Sam. If you liked Zeke from The Immortal Rules or Jase from My Life Next Door, then chances are you’ll love Sam. Like Zeke and Jase, Sam is perfect - too perfect. For a novel named Flawed, Sam ironically has none, which, for me, makes him a romantic interest who was sweet, but nothing else.

Sam aside, Sarah was a compelling heroine. It was evident that she was torn, both between accepting her love for Sam and staying true to her promise to her brother. Sarah realizes that James’ feelings for her are not normal and while she keeps him at an arms length physically, she too realizes that she needs James just as much as he may need her. Unfortunately though, this is never further explored. We have on our hands an intriguing psychological situation of two siblings who are too close, all due to their circumstances, but we can never see the repercussions or true impact of this type of a relationship. It isn’t quite incest in the way Forbidden is – these two don’t love each other and they don’t struggle to want to be together. Instead, they rely on each other for support, but in an unhealthy manner. While I found this all very interesting, I was disappointed that this was never explored further.

What prevented this novel from progressing to the depths it could have gone to? Well…the ending. It was convenient. Avelynn creates raw, tortured, and different characters, but instead of dealing with them, we have a rather convenient ending that very abruptly ends the story. A cop-out? I believe so. I guess readers were meant to cry and scream at the injustice of this ending or feel terrible for our protagonist, but contrary to all that, I just felt a massive dose of disappointment. Now, contemporary isn’t my preferred genre, so perhaps I go into it expecting a little bit more to really “wow” me, but somehow, this book failed to deliver.

My personal qualms aside, as a piece of literature, I believe Flawed tackles on more than it can truly handle. We have an abusive father, a drug-addict mother, and two psychologically messed up siblings, one of whom is the victim of unrequited love with his own sister. Hmm…seems plenty complicated to me. Now, throw in a best friend romance, a protective older brother, lots of sneaking out to make-out, and some issues concerning sex and we literally have two books on our hands, only they’re smashed into one and the issues concerning both fail to be developed to their full potential or degree.

All in all, I can’t say I really recommend Flawed. On the other hand, it was a novel that kept me entertained, captivated, and I enjoyed it a lot while reading it, but the overall impression it left with me was one of disappointment. I feel as if this novel could have been so much more and truly had the potential to resonate with the reader, but alas, I know this is one I’ll be forgetting easily. Yet, it seems as if I am – as I usually am, really – a black sheep when it comes to this novel. In fact, the majority of preliminary reviewers have loved this one and if you’re a fan of contemporary, issue books, or very sweet romances, you won’t be disappointed. If, however, contemporary isn’t your usual cup of tea, you only pick up issue books with severe persuasion, and you need your romances to have a little more, you may want to look elsewhere.


  1. Woh, this sounds intense and I can totally understand your disappointment. An ending like that really does sound like a let down and yet part of me wants to read this but the other part of me wants to trust your opinion and skip it ;)

  2. Great review, Keertana. By the sounds of it, this probably isn't my kind of book.. but I'm also a little intrigued :)

  3. I was not much a fan of Zeke in The Immortal Rules (and now you have me worried Jase won't do much for me when I get around to MLND), so there's a chance I won't be falling to my knees for Sam. It's disappointing that the compelling sibling relationship is not explored to great depths, because it sounds like it could have potential to be an interesting topic. You have me intrigued by this ending.... on one hand, I want to stay away because I don't want to be so let down, but on the other hand, I'm crazy curious what happens!

    Such a shame that Flawed did not fulfil on it's promise for you, Keertana! Lovely review, though :)

  4. Contemporary isn't really my genre either, so I'm surprised this worked for me as well as it did. I can understand your feelings over the ending completely, Keertana! I do have to admit though, I'm glad it wasn't a happy ending, and it did have a huge impact on me, which perhaps tell you how strongly I felt for the characters. I'm sorry this book wasn't entirely to your liking, but I have had similar experiences with books I have read straight after something I loved. It nearly always has too much to live to. Beautifully written review as always! :)

  5. "I hate to say it, but this book ends on a note that leaves me angry, upset, and feeling like I wasted my time because, to put it bluntly, this is not a story of hope."

    Based on that line, I'm thinking this is most definitely not the book for me. While I don't need a sunshine and rainbows ending every time I pick a book up, I don't deal well with endings where there's seemingly no hope and injustice prevails. I need there to be a sliver of hope I can cling to:) Thanks for the review Keertana, I'm going to pass on this one!

  6. Just reading about the flawed characters made me feel icky. I am all about endings as well. I feel cheated when I read an entire book and the pay off sucks. I think this is definitely not a book for me. I was not a big fan of Zeke in Immortal Rules so Sam won't be a favorite for me. Anyway thanks as always for your honesty!

  7. I don't know that I could sit through the intensity of this one! Thanks for the honest review!

    - Jessica @ Book Sake

  8. This isn't my usual kind of reading so I'll probably skip it. Your review makes me curious, making me want to read it to see what you meant about the ending. I'll resist this urge and say thanks for the fantastic review.

  9. Aw, I'm sorry this didn't work for you! I get reading an AMAZING book and comparing it to my next read. Ack to the convenient ending! Thanks for your honest review.

  10. Oh no! It's really too bad that you didn't like the book better, Keertana. I had high hopes for this one because of the issues it tackled, but if it's unrealistic I don't think I want to read it. Plus, your review has me worried for the ending.
    Thank you for the honest review though. I hope your next book is much better than Flawed!

  11. Really, really lovely review! I was initially attracted to the fantastic cover of this and intriguing premise, but since you mentioned that it's akin to Forbidden (which I loathed) and it has a Hollywood-esque ending, my interest in reading this book has evaporated almost completely. Yes, I don't think the soap opera nature of this book is at all for me... Thank you for helping me maintain my current chain of really great 3.5/4/5 star books lately! ;)

  12. Mh. This is clearly not something I would ever ever read. To me it sounds like at least 6 issue books all crammed into one, and you know I don't read that.
    As for Sam, I'm so tired of fictional boys that are too perfect! I wrote about it the other day, but I can't remember which character it was about. Which brings me to my point: perfect means forgettable, and why on earth would I want that?!
    So, I'd probably have stayed away anyway, but I've seen some glowing reviews and I might have been tempted to pick it up at some point after all. Thanks for convincing me it's not worth it. :)
    Wonderful review as usual, my darling. :)

  13. Oh I'm sorry this book didn't work out for you Keertana, the books I usually pick up after a mind blowing reading are always a huge disappointment for me, it usually takes me a while before I stumble across another gem. So I'm totally blaming this being the reason for you not liking this book. I think otherwise you may have loved this book. I heard from an early reviewer who got the copy early this year that there had been two endings planned, I'm so gutted that they went with this one though! A beautiful review yet again darling, I admire your honesty in your reviews, as as you said this book isn't for everyone! :)

  14. Another great review! I am really drawn to this novel simply because of the amazing cover- it's so stunning and makes me want to pick it up, but I think I'll stay away from this one after reading your review, though Daughter of the Forest does sound interesting!

  15. Unfortunately, I didn't like Zeke all the much and contemporary isn't my usual type of book to read, so I don't think I'll be picking up this book despite some of the really good reviews I've heard on it.

    Maybe I'll pick it up if I have some extra time or I want a contemporary book, but at the moment I feel like I'd follow in your black sheep shadow, Keertana.

    Great review!

  16. I hadn't paid much attention to this before but now I'm actually a bit curious. If its a quick read I may have to watch for it at the library. I'm not going to expect a lot from it because of your review but maybe that will make me like it more. It sounds very... interesting.

  17. Many mixed reviews about this book. I haven't read the book yet. But after reading your review, I'm having second thoughts :D Old Follower



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