Saturday, January 30, 2010

Specials - Scott Westerfeld (Uglies Series #3)

In the third installment of the Uglies series, Tally finds herself transformed in to a "Special" - a super-human fighting machine, designed to enforce order. With strength, speed, and clarity of vision, Tally finds herself supremely focused on preventing a rogue faction in the New Smoke from undoing all the work her people have done to turn ugly free-thinking humans into obedient bubbly pretties. But, as Tally moves forward with a singular purpose, there remains that small voice inside her that wonders if she is really doing all of this for the right reasons. I found this book less engaging than the first two in the series - the chase scenes and other adventures that Tally finds herself in seem to last far too long without any particular purpose. Tally's boyfriend from the second book has suffered brain damage and is physically handicapped after the attempt to "cure" him goes wrong. Tally's reaction to him is unsettling. She is unable to remember why she fell in love with him - and just wants him to be pretty again. While perhaps this is Westerfeld's commentary on the danger of having your brain altered and becoming shallow, Tally's disgust at anything different is protrayed in a way that almost makes her seem justified. I'm glad that Westerfeld decide to abandon his original idea of making the Uglies a trilogy, and wrote another book in the series (Extras) so I see this play out further. Somehow, I want Tally to learn a few lessons - about friendship and how to treat people - and I don't want them all blamed on brain damage over which she seemingly had no control. I know there is more here in terms of Tally's character - and the point being that she does have control over her actions despite what she sometimes thinks. But, right now, the way the author has portrayed her friendships with girls and relationships with boys has been troubling and incredibly unsatisfying.

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