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Editorial Reviews

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By Jen Heller

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3rd March 2023

TITLE: Perfect
Author: Jen Heller
Star Rating: 4 stars

‘A cleverly plotted, character-led, dystopian saga.’ A ‘Wishing Shelf’ Book Review

I settled down with this dystopian novel, Perfect, for three evenings this week. I´m a big fan of this genre, my bookshelf packed with novels such as The Darkest Winter by Lindsey Pogue and novel turned Brad Pitt film, World War Z. I´d better begin by summarising the plot. Basically, it´s the story of two characters, Carmen who´s sort of genetically engineered and perfect, and April, who´s not perfect at all and is used (horrifically I might add) by the government for military experiments attempting to develop the perfect fighter. Now, this book is divided up into four parts: The Industry, The Revolution, The Regressives, and The Compliant. In the first part, the protagonists attempt to destroy a government prison called The Industry. It´s dark, gritty, with a terrible ending for poor April. In the second part, Carmen turns her anger on the wicked government. This is the best part of the story, particularly with the return of a character I thought had been killed at the end of the first part. Excellent twist! I don´t want to give away the rest of the book, but the battle is very much on to stop Dr Tragg – who is referenced by April in the first part – and who has sinister plans for controlling everybody!
I few things struck me reading this long novel. Firstly, I liked how April, not being perfect, ended up with the biggest skill set of the two characters. Not that she particularly wanted the skills, but there you go. Yes, she´s messed up and, yes, she ends up impersonating Peeta trying to kill Katniss in part two, but she´s still cool; or, as my kids say, sick! Secondly, although it´s dark, there is a sprinkling of humour there. I did particularly laugh at the end of Part 1, Chapter 8; very amusing. Thirdly, the author´s a good planner. For example, in Part 1, April tells Carmen she´s not a killer which is important much later in the book. And finally, and this is the important bit, although it is a long book, I didn´t mind. I totally enjoyed it, not only the plot, but the way the author developed her protagonists.
So, yes, I´d totally recommend this story to anybody who enjoys a cleverly plotted adventure and who isn´t going to get upset by lots of gory bits and characters who enjoy saying the F word. There are 133 of them! Although it has a THG feel to it, this is no young adult novel; it´s dark, depressing, gory – and that´s why I liked it so much.

A ‘Wishing Shelf’ Book Review

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