Author: Scott Westerfeld
Series: Uglies #2
Genre: YA Future Dystopia
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Summary (from Goodreads)
Tally has finally become pretty. Now her looks are beyond perfect, her clothes are awesome, her boyfriend is totally hot, and she’s completely popular. It’s everything she’s ever wanted.
But beneath all the fun — the nonstop parties, the high-tech luxury, the total freedom — is a nagging sense that something’s wrong. Something important. Then a message from Tally’s ugly past arrives. Reading it, Tally remembers what’s wrong with pretty life, and the fun stops cold.
Now she has to choose between fighting to forget what she knows and fighting for her life — because the authorities don’t intend to let anyone with this information survive.
What’s Good About It
I love how this series is progressing (though knowing the final title is ‘Specials’ does somewhat ruin the last sucker punch). The idea of Tally experiencing New Pretty life is a great one because, as a reader I was somewhat fascinated by their lifestyle – encouraged much by Tally’s own fascination. And I’m sure I’m not the only one.
Zane wa an interesting new character. Normally I hate when a love rival is introduced if it’s not set up very early as a love triangle (and even then I’m not usually fond of them) but Zane was a likeable character and I believed Tally’s confusion and conflicting emotions.
The idea of a human ranch, where people are kept in some sort of experiment – forced to live like savages – was an intriguing one, and a nice addition to the sinister world Westerfeld has created
The Pretty speak ought to have been annoying, but it wasn’t. In fact, I found it creeping into my own head as I thought about what I was going to say. Which could have been embarrassing but fortunately my internal filter caught any stray Pretty words before I actually said them. It’s a testament to how natural the Pretty language sounds, how unforced it was, that I almost found myself imitating them.
I also loved Shay’s total mental break down and how she starts trying to break free of being Pretty-minded in increasingly extreme ways. However…
What’s Not So Good
I did feel this was a bit ‘Uglies’ all over again. The story didn’t amp up the threat, and nothing seemed to move anywhere. Tally gets told to do something by Special Circumstances, Tally doesn’t want to do it, but for various reasons has to, Tally inadvertantly betrays everyone, Tally ends up right where Special Circumstances want her. Rinse and repeat.
Or hopefully not. I’m prepared to put this down to ‘middlebookitus’. It’s difficult to create real tension when you know there has to be a final story. So if Pretties was treading water waiting for bigger and better things in Specials, I can forgive it its minor flaws. Now if only I could lay my hands on a copy of Specials to find out…