Author: Scott Westerfeld
This is my third book review-I discovered this book series this year when a friend of mine got me the first book for my birthday and I wasn’t expecting to like it but I really have loved this series of books-it’s kind of like the hunger games but these books were published years before the hunger games. Here’s a short synopsis of the book:
“Special Circumstances”…the words have sent chills down Tally’s spine since her days as a repellent, rebellious Ugly. Back then, the Specials were a sinister rumour – frighteningly beautiful, dangerously strong, and breathtakingly fast. And now Tally’s become one of them: a super-amped fighting machine, engineered to keep the Uglies down and the Pretties stupid. But one tiny corner of Tally’s heart still remembers something different. When she is ordered to stamp out the rebels of the New Smoke, she is forced to make one last choice: carry out the mission she’s been programmed to complete, or listen to that faint yet persistent heartbeat telling her that something’s wrong…
Okay I’m not going to give too much away about the book but I will explain a little about the premise behind it. Basically it’s in a future dystopian America hundreds of years after the Rusties (supposedly our society) destroyed the world. The world is split into small cities and people are segregated according to age-until the age of 11 you are a littlie and live with their parents, 12-15 you live in a dorm with other “uglies” and from the age of 16 onwards you are a “pretty” and live with other pretties (new, middle or late depending on your age)-at the age of 16 all uglies undergo a huge cosmetic surgery operation which changes you into a brainless pretty-the operation changes your mind as well as your body.
This book is great, the plot is fast paced and the characters are well developed. The specials of the title are special circumstances-a special type of “cruel pretty” who are basically superhumans. I have to admit Dr Cable (the puppet master of the book) is a very well rounded character-you hate her but at the same time at the end of the series you almost feel sorry for her.
Tally is a flawed character-she’s incredibly selfish and egocentric at times but there is something incredibly human about her-she’s a girl who feels like she’s being controlled by everyone around her and even though she seems selfish, I think it’s just her way of trying to be who she is. Shay on the other hand, I’m not so fond of, she’s always jealous of Tally and she’s a very disturbed character but incredibly well written and she’s definitely a three dimensional character.
Tally’s personality does seem to change in this book-she’s always fighting to be free but she doesn’t seem to as much this book, actually she can be a little infuriating at times but you still manage to root for her somehow-you always want her to escape from her mental wiring and beat the city. I don’t see why he decided to resolve the Zane/Tally/David love triangle the way he did though-she had pretty much decided to be with Zane but I knew she’d end up with David-an ugly from the Smoke-the Smoke is a place where the uglies run away to if they don’t want to become pretty. However the personality change may be due to her special rewiring-being special also changes your brain but instead of being a bubbleheaded pretty you become violent with a huge superiority complex.
Another city is seen in this book and it’s quite interesting how that city Diego contrasts with Tally’s city-Diego is very free whereas Tally’s city is strictly controlled however Diego is expanding out into the wild to make room for all the runaways.
Specials is an action packed book-I seriously wish hoverboarding was something you could actually do because they spend a lot of time on hoverboards in this series and it sounds like so much fun.
This book is incredible because it shows the vainness of our modern society and the pressure on people to look beautiful. It also shows the way societies can manipulate people-the city almost seems like a dictatorship, the way all the pretties and even the specials are brainwashed-although even the smoke who are supposedly the good guys still manipulate people’s minds-albeit Maddy (David’s mother) develops a cure for both bubble and special headedness but she’s still changing people’s minds and it’s hard to tell actually who the bad guys are. The gadgets in these books are awesome-sneak suits which camouflage you-how cool would that be if it was real?! This book is a great book and well worth the read-you need to read the two previous books Uglies and Pretties first though. There is also mention of cutting in this book so definitely not recommended for under 13’s.
If you have any questions leave them below. My next review will be Son of Black Beauty-Phyllis Briggs