I want to start this book review with what I believe is a very necessary warning to people who read my blog and who may purchase this book based on my review. Flawed is an exceptional story that is above par in writing and character development; however, reader be warned - this is an extremely disturbing and violent book. It is very dark in a way that some may find offensive or even frightening. If you have any problem with reading scenes of rape, extreme violence towards women, killing, or sex trafficking, I want to caution you in advance. I don't classify this as a love story or a romance at all, but it is a very good book. If you can overlook these things then I have to say that I strongly recommend Flawed
In this story you have three main players: Lacey, Knox, and Katia. There are other people that are important to the story, but these three are the primary focus of this dark tale.
Lacey is a young character. She's only 18 and a senior in high school. Frankly, this bothered me a great deal and I wish she had been older. It bothered me so much that it gave me pause and wasn't sure if I wanted to proceed. I realize now, however, that her age is just another twisted cog in the wheel of Flawed. Lacey is a teenage prostitute. She's turned to this life in order to support her family and keep a roof over her head. Her family members are leeches, slowly but surely draining the life out of Lacey and depriving her of a normal teenage life. Her mother is a drug addicted prostitute. She isn't good for anything really and spends any money earned from prostitution on drugs (if she isn't paid in drugs that is). She has a crazy pimp who's after Lacey and wants her to work for him. Her brother is the eldest sibling and no longer lives at home. Unfortunately, he is still a drain on Lacey as he is always getting in trouble in one way or another. It's her brother and his mess that introduce her to Knox and the trouble that will bring to her life. Poor Lacey has been given such a bad deal in life that your heart really goes out to her. She struggles not only with the issues at home, but also with mean girls at school who are determined to make her life even more miserable than it is. Her goals for the future are what keep her going. She's in advanced classes and has been saving money for college. You can imagine how well that'll turn out. She is a well written character who is used to doing what she has to do and protecting her family. This is a girl who needs to be saved from her good intentions.
Knox is not a hero. This man is insane. He is psychologically so broken that it would take several miracles to fix him. In a normal romance you just know that love will fix our tortured hero. But like I said, Knox isn't a hero and love can't fix crazy! You know there is a story that explains his insanity, however, and the readers are given pretty good hints at what has caused him to be so flawed. The problem is, I don't think anything can excuse the horrible things that he's done, or excuse the horrible thing that he has become. He's been some kind of insane his entire life and done things that are horrible and sadistic. Inevitably there are some women who will probably find Knox "hot," and frankly that's too twisted for me to think too hard about. What he is to me is a fascinating character. This sick individual lives for murder and mutilation. Yet Lacey has made him feel emotions that are so foreign he doesn't even recognize what they are. That doesn't stop him from hurting her, and frankly I don't think he could express himself any other way. Poor Lacey has become his point of fixation, his pet, a favorite toy, an obsession. Like I said, I feel so sorry for Lacey and the horrid path her life has taken.
Katia is perhaps the most disturbed of all the characters in this book. She was raised alongside Knox by a father who is the head of a Russian crime organization. She gives the world the impression that she is a kind and charitable heiress, but in reality she is the biggest monster of all who has created her own organization of crime. Her relationship with Knox is a sick one, which is to be expected. It's like she feeds off of his psychosis. She is the closest thing to a friend that Knox has and she believes he is hers. Not that she loves him romantically, but I'm thinking it's a possession thing. Another type of toy or belonging.
This isn't the type of book that I would normally read. That says a lot about how well written Flawed is. I was disturbed, but also intrigued. I hated it, but I loved it as well. I couldn't put this book down even though a part of me wanted to stop at certain parts and cry over this fictional situation that this poor fictional girl found herself in. It was just that good. If the issues mentioned at the start of this review aren't a problem, then I do recommend reading it. Don't expect this to be a nice relaxing read however. Chances are you'll go through so many emotions that by the end you'll need a glass of wine and some cute YouTube videos of dancing cats or something. Strangly enough, you'll also find yourself ready to see this twisted tale through to the end. I am. Ready that is. Can't wait to read the second book in the The Butcher series (yes it ends on a cliffhanger of sorts, but really you need a break at this point so I ain't complaining!). I'm giving this book 5 very twisted and disturbing stars.
That's the only memory he carries from a childhood he does not remember. And now it is all he knows. Blood is his life.
Knox Bishop has done a lot of horrible things, all at the command of the man who holds his leash. It's a matter of loyalty for him. Allegiance to the man who saved his life when he was a child. So he goes where he is needed and does what he is told. He tortures. He kills. He kills. He tortures. It is an unrelenting cycle that he constantly craves and can never quite satisfy.
She goes to Knox willingly offering him the only valuable thing she has. Herself. In doing so he allows her into his world, a world filled with darkness but rather than being scared it intrigues her. It lures her, calls to something in her that she hadn't known existed until he awakened it.
Every bit of his flaws is reflected in her and Knox will do anything to keep her in the darkness with him.
I’m not what you would call normal. The word has no meaning to me. But I’ve been pretending to act normal. It’s something I’ve been practicing since I’ve been aware of the thrum and its significance in my life. I was seven when I first heard the lullaby. Second grade, just before recess. It happened in a squall. Nothing and then all at once. I remember everything about that day. The bell rang and the other children went to play. Not me. Never me. I always stayed behind, mostly by choice, but never contested because the other children thought I was weird. I think maybe they unconsciously knew that I was lacking something fundamental. Something they all had and I didn’t, and maybe even never had at all. Whatever it was, I was alienated, excluded from their games. But I couldn’t say it bothered me. I was indifferent to it. Katia would sometimes play with me. Yuri’s youngest daughter, my adoptive sister, kept me company when she wasn’t with her own friends. But she’d been home sick that day.
In the small classroom with its oversized, rainbow-colored letters hanging over the chalkboard and tiled number blocks littering the carpeted floor, I sat in the beanbag chair staring fixatedly at the class pet. Sweet Ms. Devon always stayed with me but she’d left for a moment. A moment to heat her lunch. A moment to speak to a fellow staff member in the teachers’ lounge. But it’d been a moment too long for me. The noise in my head had been too loud. The urge too strong. The pink-eyed little rabbit, Mr. Apples, and the yellow pair of scissors sitting blades down in Ms. Devon’s “Best Teacher” mug had been too much of a temptation for me to resist.
The pounding of my heart. The lullaby and the thrum. The latch had given way beneath my shaking fingers, soaked with apprehension and anticipation. The struggle. The frantic movement of something living, something warm, with the same accelerated heartbeat as mine grappling for life. Desperate for freedom even while knowing the inevitable hand of death loomed was intoxicating. The thrill, the excitement, the sweet seductive power. I swam in it. Like too much candy on Halloween. Too much ice cream in the summer. It had been a quick death for Mr. Apples. It had been crude. Amateurish. But ever so effective in quieting the discord of my mind.
Poor, sweet Ms. Devon came to find me on the floor of the overly-bright classroom. Huddled on the floor, covered in Mr. Apples. She’d been one to smile a lot. But I stole her smile that day and replaced it with horror instead. Her pretty features contorted like a Kabuki mask.
Francette lives in Massachusetts with her amazingly supportive husband of ten years and her darling two year old son. Reading amazing books has led her to writing and she’s dabbled in fan-fiction before self-publishing her own works. She’s constantly thinking up new stories to write and does her best work when music is playing in the background. Romance is where she’s most comfortable but she hopes to one day venture in mystery novels. She has a weakness for coffee ice cream, tropical fruits and a good glass of wine.