Saturday, October 8, 2016

ARC Review: Untitled Beauty by C.E. Wilson

Book: Untitled Beauty
Author: C.E. Wilson
Series: Somwhere-in-Between #1
Source: author (thank you, C.E.!)
Release: October 13th, 2016

Eleven. A name. A title. A sentence passed. If you aren’t a Beauty, you’re less than a person. You’re a commodity known as a Potential… and you only have so many chances to qualify as a human being.

In her seventeen years, Eleven has seen the best and worst in humanity. She’s been passed around and abused by the bad. She’s hoped and dreamed for the good. And she’s despaired for the hand she’s been dealt. Now she’s been purchased by a wealthy man who has the ability to improve her life and help her become a Beauty – if she can put up with his erratic and controlling personality for long enough, that is. Complicating things is the appearance of a stunningly beautiful young man with amethyst eyes who treats Eleven to the rarest form of attention for a Potential: kindness.

Does Eleven trust her powerful owner to help her escape this life of servitude and enslavement, or does she gamble everything on the enigmatic young man who seems to offer her more than she could ever imagine possible?

**I received a free copy in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my review in any way.**

This is not your typical dystopian novel.

This book is a dystopian like none other I've ever read--in the sense that with Western concepts of beauty, it's a legitimate possibility. In a world where you're sorted into being a Beauty or Potential, Potentials are second-class citizens, a commodity, forever trying to climb up the ranks up to become a Beauty to gain the rights of a person. Potentials are rated from One to Twenty: the closer you are to Twenty, the closer you are to finding a sponsor who will pay for enhancement/treatment surgeries to become a Beauty. With a perfect world like this, nothing could ever go wrong.

The protagonist, Grace, began off rebellious in the first few chapters, but her character was quickly subdued, showcasing the cruelness of the society. As a Potential, she had no rights to being a person, and thus was merely called "Eleven" rather than being called her real name. We really got to see just how the society she lived in could really beat the personality and individuality out of someone, and just how unfairly treated Potentials were. I mean, they're conditioned to want to please Beauties in order to gain their favour and hopefully a sponsor to transform them into a Beauty. They are desperate, and Grace's desperation showed in how she took her new master's horrible and morally questionable treatment of her.

Reece's character was by the most interesting of the character cast. Right from the introduction of his character, he proposed an interesting conundrum to the society: he was Potential turned Beauty. He was everything every Potential aspired to be, having been picked up by sponsors and transformed into a member of society. Though Grace questioned his motives at times, my heart was firmly set on him being one of the good guys!

I would have liked to see Celia a bit more, in the hopes that after going through that one specific chapter, she would begin to learn and question the morality of having Potentials who must abide by their masters' wishes. That definitely would have been neat to read about, if the daughter of one of the most essential figures in the warped society (a doctor, aka the people who actually physically transform Potentials into Beauties) had begun to question the practises.

The world itself is a bit similar to Scott Westerfeld's Uglies series, in the sense everyone wants to be a Beauty, but different because you're not guaranteed to become a Beauty, and if you're a Potential, you have absolutely no rights. Grace was constantly referred to as "it" or "the beast," and wore a shock collar, a leash, and handcuffs at various times just like a pet or slave would. This world that Wilson crafted is one heck of an extremely vain world, and one that honestly terrifies me. Never do I want society to morph into anything remotely close to this, ever.

I unfortunately did feel that there seemed to be something missing in the plot and in Grace's character. Though I understood that Grace was helpless, I wanted her to take a bit more initiative in trying to free herself. Similarly, though there was resolution in character conflict, I would have liked to get some kind of direction regarding the world, and if there would be some kind of revolution. Because there's bound to be another Grace, and not all of them will have a Reece to help them out... However, this is the first in a series, so I'm hoping more will be revealed in later books!

This novel is the most thought-proking dystopian novels I've read, twisting the concepts of beauty in such a fascinating way. I'm left with so many questions not about the novel, but about our own society: are humans inevitably vain? Will vanity ever reach the point where it overrules the world? How far are we willing to go to be considered beautiful, and to condemn those who are not? A lot of people may say beauty isn't everything, but when you think about it, beauty makes up enough to cause people to take change their behaviours and to sometimes take drastic measures, so who's to say this won't become a reality one day...


  1. I enjoyed this novel too, but like you it left me wanting to know more...

    1. Agreed! I felt like there wasn't enough of a resolution regarding the world/society itself to leave me satisfied. But hopefully the next one will answer those questions!

  2. I've got this book too. I need to hurry up and read it!

    Carrie @ The Butterfly Reader