Celestine lives in a world obsessed with perfection. Anyone makes a choice that does not fit with the strict guidelines of society is publicly ostracized, branded, and forced to live by an even more confining set of rules. Celestine has always supported the Flawed system as the only way to maintain a safe and just world. However, she she herself is targeted for an act she thought of as logical, she begins to see through her own blind faith and to discover how flawed the system truly is.
Celestine does not begin as a sympathetic character. She is steadfast in her support of The Guild and, at its head, Judge Crevan - her boyfriend's father. She sees the world as black and white and trusts that if the guild deems someone flawed, it is because they are a risk to society. Once she is thrown into the system herself, she is finally able to see the fear and abuse of power that has surrounded her, her whole life. Her character development is my favorite part of the novel as she embarks on a fantastic path of personal growth.
The world Ahern has created is one that all too chillingly possible. It is easy to imagine the religious fanaticism that could lead to a system similar to the Flawed one, in the hopes of returning society to the nostalgic notions of the past. It is also just as easy to see how this system can be manipulated by a man like Judge Crevan, for whom ultimate power has allowed the ability to dispose of his rivals and naysayers while also placing his own family members into positions of high esteem. The Crevan that the world sees is a very different one than is revealed through Celestine's acts of defiance.
While the story is truly one of personal growth, Ahern did not shy away from action and there are some truly shocking moments. I did enjoy the plot itself, however, the ending was not quite as satisfying as I would have liked. No secrets huge secrets are revealed, no problems are solved. A number of storylines are set up and sure to be fleshed out within the second book, we just have to wait for it.
Bottom Line: A great intro into a new series with some chilling scenes and great character development.