Friday, July 1, 2011

Flawless Ruin by Kieryn Nicolas

Friday, July 1, 2011

In 2238, life in America is finally perfect. The Wars are over and the CommWall is in place, blocking communication with what remains of other continents. The women are content to have great education, choice careers, and glamorous hair. Best of all, when every girl turns seventeen she’s given her Like; an adorable, perfect spouse tailor-made just for her.

Everyone looks forward to the day she gets her Like, and Morgan Waters is no exception—until she accidentally stays out past curfew and stumbles across someone who appears to be a Like but claims to be a man. Morgan’s perfect world crumbles down around her in the midst of a forbidden romance, forcing her to deal with the realization that her life may not be so flawless after all.

In her dystopian novel Flawless Ruins, Kieryn Nicolas cleverly reveals that even perfection has flaws and what is one person’s utopia is another’s nightmare.

I found Nicolas’ world building nearly flawless. Unlike some dystopian novels where it takes time to assimilate the differences, Nicolas eases us into life in 2238 America through her use of alternating points of view.  Morgan’s POV allows the reader to experience what it is like to be a seventeen year-old girl in a world run entirely by women, and like Morgan, we experience a world that seems idyllic. However, unlike Morgan we also understand that there is no such thing as perfection and when Morgan meets Neil we begin to see just how flawed this world truly is.

In addition to strong world building Nicolas also did a terrific job building characters who were quite believable. Morgan is a fairly typical seventeen year-old strongly committed to becoming a doctor just like her mother. She is excited about her best friend’s upcoming Amore and like all seventeen year-olds is looking forward to her own. But what I liked most about Morgan was her gumption. When the world she knows begins to fray around the edges, instead of turning a blind eye to it she investigates without hesitation. Neil on the other hand was a bit more difficult to like at first. He is moody, and suspicious of Morgan and remains guarded through most of the book. However, as we learn more about Neil’s life these traits are completely understandable. Besides the two main characters, I loved Hans, Neil’s roommate.  He is funny, supportive and very pragmatic and was a excellent addition to the story.

Flawless Ruins is also very well paced. There is not a lot of action, but this only helps solidify the extraordinary world in which Nicolas has created. The pacing also was perfect for the romance that builds between Neil and Morgan. Anything faster would been unrealistic. The ending, although, a bit rushed still left me quite satisfied.

Flawless Ruins is a fantastic dystopian novel with a believable and substantial world.  Nicolas takes a close look at how even good intentions can go terribly wrong. Through her strong characterization, readers will take away a powerful message: perfection cannot be manipulated and it is our flaws that make us individuals. 

 Source: Received copy for review from author
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