Tag Archives: Scott Westerfeld

Specials – Review


If you haven’t read Uglies, or Pretties, or haven’t finished either, please skip this post, I don’t want to spoil the ending for anyone****

Tally Youngblood is now a member of Special Circumstances. Not just a typical Special, Tally is a special Special, part of an elite group made up of the Cutters clique that formed at the end of Pretties. Shay is now the ringleader, having forced Tally to become a Special. As a Special, Tally has been surgically refitted with a body of steel, nails as hard as diamonds and a cruel-beauty to enforce the law of the land. In Specials, Tally is now faced with the decisions to finally end the Smoke and its purpose, forced now to oppose the side she once faught so ardently to keep alive and protect.

This book definately takes the story to a whole new level. It is more edgy and more mature than the first two, but still has the same mood and aura that Uglies and Pretties emit. Once again, Tally is changed into a newer, better version against her will, and once again Tally’s internal struggle to be at peace with herself bleeds into the rest of the story. Guilt, fear and confusion mark the third book as Tally attempts to right past wrongs and understand just how large of an entity the City and Dr. Cable really are. The book starts at a running speed and does not let up until the end of the book. It is near impossible to find a perfect moment to put the book down.

I want to know if Westerfeld had the ending in mind when he started writing the trilogy? He did afterall know it would only be a trilogy. Each book picks up easily where the previous left off, it sort of feels that it was all written at once, and just chopped up for the sake of publishing. The trio is very cohesive and each books hints back to episodes of the previous. I wonder was a second reading of the series would bring? And what about the next book, Extras, a companion to the Uglies trilogy, I wonder where that will pick up?

This series is definitely one of my favorite reads for this year, I have high hopes for Westerfeld’s other titles, such as Peeps (about vampires).

by Scott Westerfeld
Simon and Schuster, 2006
ISBN 1416947957
372 pages


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Pretties – Review


If you haven’t read Uglies, or haven’t finished it, please skip this post, I don’t want to spoil the ending for anyone****

At the start of Pretties, Tally is no long Ugly, and neither is Shay. Both girls were taken captive by Special Circumstances and forced to turn Pretty. Tally is getting ready to join the Crims, one of the elite cliques in New Pretty Town. While at a masquerade party, someone from Tally’s Ugly past returns, crashing the party and bringing all of Tally’s past flooding back to her. Now Tally and her new boyfriend Zane set out to detangle Tally’s past and fight to stay “bubbly” to prevent the lesions on their brains from turn them into pretty-minded as they fight against the city and themselves to break free of New Pretty Town.

Tally’s character becomes developed and more interesting in this book. I’m starting to sense a formula with Westerfeld’s writing (not that it detracts from the quality of the book) It seems that at the start of each book, Tally is young, naive and very active and is soon propelled into a new life by Shay. Shay introduced Tally to the Smokies in Uglies, and now Shay is helping Tally initiate into The Crim in New Pretty Town. The book also ends on a similar cliffhanger as Uglies, so I’m wondering if Specials will follow the same patern. Despite the formula, the actual content of the story is genius quality, full of adult commentary, but at the same time full of typical teen drama, lingo and attitude.

Westerfeld further expands on the intricate societies developing in this new world. I love that the book starts with a typical Pretty life, I was always curious to see this end of the spectrum. I’m also glad the book didn’t stay Pretty. I love Westerfeld’s terminology and new language created for the series, it was very happy-making and thought-provoking in a very non-bogus way. I like how Tally is able to transition easily from one role to another, while remaining true to her true self.

One more opinion, I think this show would make a FANTASTIC TV-show. Its a great plot, great characters and being spread over 4 books lends itself easily to a smooth TV-transition. =) This would be a show quite similar to Dollhouse actually….

by Scott Westerfeld
Simon and Schuster, 2005
ISBN 0689865392
370 pages


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Cover art

I’ll admit it, I judge a book by its cover. A busy cover turns me off to the book, but simple covers attract my eye, as do certain colors or images. I often find myself pausing the book to look at the cover art, hunting for a secret clue that might explain elements of the story. I remember in high school, my English teacher would rant about the cover art for Catcher in the Rye; a plain white cover, title in bold, black font and a small rainbow arc across the upper righthand tip. According to him, this cover art had no relation to the book whatsoever, and a hunting cap would have been more appropriate.

I look for cover art, because its telling about the theme of the book. I’ve been reading the Uglies series, and I noticed a change in the cover art for the Uglies series.

 From this   to this 

I like the second cover art much better. It influenced the cover art for the following books in the series, and it looks more wild and interesting than the plastic barbie dolls in a tin cover art.

Which cover do you prefer? Which one would make you interested in actually picking up the book?

Uglies – Review

Tally Youngblood is only 2 months away from turning Pretty and moving across the river from Uglyville to New Pretty Town, when she meets Shay, another Ugly, after having pulled a few tricks to crash a party at New Pretty Town to see her former best friend Peris. Tally and Shay form a strong friendship over the course of the summer as they wait for their 16th birthday to draw near so that they too can be surgically altered to be Pretty. The night before their shared 16th birthday, Shay tells Tally that she doesn’t want to be Pretty and decides to run away to a secret society hidden out in the wilds, where looks don’t matter, only personality does. At this point, Tally needs to decide if she wants to be Pretty or not, and how much she values her friendship with Shay.

I first heard of this book from Jen so, I knew I could expect a thrilling story and deeper meanings than simply personality v good looks struggle that teens deal with on a day to day basis. What I didn’t expect were the intricate layers of society that Westerfeld had developed, and the philosophic discussions about humanity, individuality and evolution, neatly packaged in teen-speak. I thought Westerfeld’s writing was fantastic, I never wanted to set the book down. Tally is an amazing character, and a great role model for anyone reading this book (teen or adult).

I would definately heed Jen’s warning, if you are going to read this book, make sure you have Pretties and Specials nearby.

by Scott Westerfeld
Simon & Schuster, 2005
ISBN 0689865384
425 pages


Find this book at your local library