Friday, 27 December 2013
Perfection by J. L. Spelbring
Author: J. L. Spelbring
Publisher: Spencer Hill Press
Released: May 7th 2013
Pages: 320 (ARC)
Buy: Amazon UK / Amazon US
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The personification of Aryan purity, Ellyssa's spent her whole life under her creator's strict training and guidance; her purpose is to eradicate inferior beings. She was genetically engineered to be the perfect soldier: strong, intelligent, unemotional, and telepathic.
Only Ellyssa isn't perfect.
Ellyssa feels emotions--a fact she's spent her life concealing. Until she encounters the epitome of inferiority: a dark-haired boy raised among renegades hiding since the Nazis won the war a century ago. He speaks to her telepathically, pushing thoughts into her mind, despite the impossibility of such a substandard person having psychic abilities.
But he does.
His unspoken words and visions of a place she's never visited make Ellyssa question her creator. Confused and afraid her secret will be discovered, Ellyssa runs away, embarking on a journey where she discovers there is more to her than perfection.
Oh dear....I really don't know what to say. I couldn't wait to read Perfection when I received it through the ARC share - I mean, imagine a world where Hitler had succeeded and won the war? It's an understatement to say I was excited. However, halfway through and I just knew it wouldn't get any better than disappointing. I think this is a classic example of a book with an amazing concept that just isn't delivered in a way that makes it interesting.
As I said above, the initial concept is that Hitler managed to win World War II, meaning that the world as we know it is completely different. In his dying moments, he told Doctor Hirsch that he wished for the world to one day be full of a singular superior race, with blonde hair, blue eyes and a mass of superpowers: an Aryan army. Hirsch put Hitler's plans into action and began to believe that he had succeeded in creating this super-race. However, Ellyssa is different - unlike her other siblings she can feel emotions, and when she finds out what her father is planning, she runs away. Unfortunately she doesn't get too far before she's found by the Renegades - basically people who differ from the Aryan norm. Perfection follows Ellyssa as she comes to terms with the lies she has been fed her whole life, and the reality of the world.
I thought that the world Spelbring created was actually quite realistic in terms of what the dystopian was based on. I think if Hitler had succeeded, maybe it wouldn't be much different from this. However, this was the only aspect of this book which was actually believable - the writing didn't help me to slip into the tale; I didn't get lost or absorbed in it; throughout the entire novel, I was concious that someone had written this and that it wasn't real. I think the escapist side of books is one of the most important factors.
I didn't really like Ellyssa. I didn't dislike her as she didn't have any traits that were annoying...but at the same time, there was nothing about her that made her interesting. She was meant to be a genetically engineered human being with emotions - instead, she pretty much acted like a robot until she cosied up to Rein - and then suddenly, her blood is lava. Yeah, that was actually the term used to describe how his kissing made her feel.
And about that - there was literally no chemistry between the two of them. Was that because she acted like a robot? Or was it just bad writing? And also, since she was the most boring being in existence, why did so many different guys want her?! It's so flippin' cliché, and you know what it reminds me of, despite having completely different storylines? The Host by Stephanie Meyer. It's robot-y alien-y thingy stumbles across rebellious community, meets guys, falls in love, has some fight, wins, huzzah, the end. I never thought I'd ever be saying this, but I think Meyer did it better.
For me, Perfection just didn't work. It had amazing potential but just didn't work, ending in a novel that fell completely flat. In the end, I skim-read about the last third of the novel, and you know what? Just from paying attention to the dialogue, I got a good idea of what was going on. Whilst I really wouldn't recommend this novel, I think it'd be pretty awesome as a film.