Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Review: Specials

Book cover
Title: Specials
Author: Scott Westerfield
Genre: Fiction, Young Adult, Sci-Fi
Pub Date: September 2007, Simon Pulse
Paperback, 372 pages
Book Source: Purchased from Yawn's Books, our local independent bookstore


Tally thought they were a rumor, but now she's one of them. A Special. A superamped fighting machine, engineered to keep the uglies down and the pretties stupid.

But maybe being perfectly programmed with strength and focus isn't better than anything she's ever known. Tally still has memories of something else.

But it's easy for her to tune that out--until she's offered a chance to stamp out the rebels of the New Smoke permanently. It all comes down to one last choice: listen to that tiny, faint heartbeat, or carry out the mission she's programmed to complete. Either way, Tally's world will never be the same.

My Thoughts

It's been awhile since I read the first two books in Westerfield's Uglies series but I finally got around to reading #3, Specials. This book has some of the same annoyances that I found in Pretties, but I tried to overlook them this time around. One observation I would like to make: this series is better read closer together, rather than spacing the books out over a long period of time. For some reason, the events of the first books didn't really stick with me the way some stories do, so I found myself struggling to remember what had led to some of the events in Specials.

As I was reading I initially found myself losing interest in the story--it went back to really needing a refresher of the first two books. As the book picked up pace, however, I found my interest piqued and I was able to get pulled into the story. Once again, Tally has to think her way out of the person she has been turned into, as one of the Specials. For the record, the operations this future civilization uses on some of its people are absolutely crazy--it makes you hope that things like that never become reality. But back to the story--Tally's hope is to find Zane and help him become a Special like her, instead of the somewhat broken Pretty he had become.

This time we see more of this future world that Westerfield has created, visiting a new city, Diego. We also learn that Maddy has perfected her pills to cure "Prettiness" and that they have been mass-produced and sent out to cities all over. There is a lot going on in this story, but ultimately it all comes back to Tally and her struggles. I could have done with some further character development but at least the storyline was gripping. By the end of it I was convinced that I need to finish the series (although Uglies is easily still my favorite of the books so far), and so I picked up a copy of Extras today. Technically the Uglies trilogy is its own and Extras is set a few years beyond, but I am curious enough that I would like to know where the story goes, even if the focus is on a new set of characters.

My rating: 4 stars

Other reviews of Specials:

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  1. That is me buggered then. It has been ages since I read the first one. Perhaps I had better reread it before I move onto the second one.

  2. I just purchased the "Uglies" collection boxed set. Can't wait to read them :) Great review btw :)

  3. Vivienne, I would think you could get away with doing some skimming of Uglies before moving on to Pretties :-)

    Maria, thanks--hope you enjoy the books!


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