One thing I ve noticed about Westerfeld s novels is how bittersweet the endings are Although there is still a rainbow or fireworks to brighten the blow, there is still death, failure, destruction Westerfeld knows life will never have a happy ending, just a bittersweet one.
Specials is no exception Although the novel starts off slow, it quickly builds up speed, carrying you along Tally s final journey She s now a Cutter, a Special Circumstances pet project Cutters are stronger andobnoxious than anyone, built to bring an end to the New Smoke Despite her new rank, though, Tally still feels amiss, and is determined to make Zane a cutter too One of things I really enjoyed is how different Tally becomes in each book From Ugly to Pretty to Special, her entire personality shifts and changes constantly as she undergoes not just plastic surgery, but mental surgery It s terribly frustrating knowing she s been brainwashed, but she refuses to believe it Perfect ending to the trilogy Highly depressing, but enlightening also The final chapter especially sent shivers down my spine, and made me think twice about the world we live in And I m still Team Zane So I didn t like Tally as much in this book Her personality has been altered by the special surgery, so she looks down on anyone who isn t special themselves Part of the plot line is that she is supposed to overcome this, but I didn t feel she completely did.
Other things that marred my enjoyment of this storyI hated the cutting aspect Several times they talk about cutting, and how Icy it makes them feel Eventually Tally quit, but only because it was repugnant to Zane, then because she told him she wouldn t Am I wrong to feel a responsible writer of books for teenage girls would include a discussion of how harmful cutting can be This book is also accepting of behaviors I don t think are acceptable like underage drinking, and in the previous books, starving oneself and cohabitation at the age of sixteen The people in these books seem to lack any sort of moral compass The only issue where a strong right or wrong is expressed is the evil of war and damaging the environment view spoiler I also hated that she didn t get her brain repaired at the end It was like choosing to live with mental illness when there is a medication cure available hide spoiler I can t seem to write about this without giving away some plot elements from the first two books So, warning spoilers may arise.
Well, Specials the final volume in the Uglies trilogy finally came up on my hold list at the library After finishing the novel I was in the middle of, I picked up Specials to wrap up all the loose ends I d been wondering about since Pretties had ended How would Tally fight her way out of being special What new insights into our my own existence would I find And, most importantly I am such a girl , who would she end up with David or Zane lol I started reading with zeal, but my pace soon turned to a plodding Tally, the heroine from the first two novels, truly was the bad guy in this book, and it was suddenly really hard to identify with her Nathan started reading Specials over my shoulder sometime around page 50 Turns out that the big action sequence at the Armory action in movies or in books can be hard for me to follow I just don t care about all the dumb details, I guess was wayinteresting to him than to me I was content to let him finish the entire book last weekend while I wondered if I should just return it to the library when I was done, unread.
Kind of says something about the book if I m 800 pages invested in a series and I can t decide whether I care to finish.
But I did finish, and I found the whole book to be a rather dissatisfying ending to the series Like I mentioned, at the beginning, it was surprisingly difficult to care about with the main character the problem, I guess, with the mind altering surgeries performed between each of these novels is that the first chunk of each book is, like, from a totally new character s point of view.
It did pick up after awhile, but I still didn t care for the ending none of the questions I d had from Pretties had been resolved, and the book seemed to end with a whimper, not a bang Too many questions remained in my mind Of course, maybe I m supposed to read the follow up to the trilogy, Extras But that s not lookin too likely right now Not a bad book, but not at all the strong kind of ending I had anticipated after the first two in the series.
Ok, as far as the series is concerned, this is where I m abandoning ship I held on this long in hope that somehow you would bring me around and show me how to like Tally, but it kind of went the opposite direction, you know Anyway, I m stopping here because youve given me no reason to continue The fourth book, though an afterthought, is where you could have rectified yourself, but instead you came up with a whole new story like a lame, sure to fail spinoff show, with special guest appearances from the former cast who are contractually obliged to lend their star power to improve ratings Also, I don t want this to be a repeat of Breaking Dawn or Mockingjay, where, as another reviewer pointed out, you can t unread them but are left forever tainted And those were series I actually liked Anyway, I m not reading Extras So why didn t I like yours Well, it s pretty simple really your characters were shallow Not just morally shallow, which was kind of the point though none of them ever got over that particular symptom but they were just flat Wait, I take that backShay is an exception, but I still didn t like her Also, you left out half of the story Too many things happened between books or offstage so to speak Major stuff too like why she liked, no LOVED, Zane so much when there really wasnt very strong evidence They were a couple after their first date and aside from the experience they went through together, there just isn t a lot of substance there It seemed like a superficial relationship befitting their superficial looks I expected that it would be awkward with David and take awhile to get them to reconnect, but I just couldn t figure out why she held the torch for Zane for so long WAS it because he was pretty that was hinted at but you never told us definitively Was it pity That s even worse Why did David still like her after everything There wasn t much to go on there, either Back in Uglies, it was a lot easier to see why they were together, but after that, it felt forced And you know, for all your talk about gender equality, your male characters were pretty wimpy David was doing good at first, but then, with little about him in the next books, he was weakened because he wasnt part of the action He had been the rebel leader and then became a nobody Same with Zane former rebel, still has a dangerous vibe, but the emo thing was kind of pathetic After that, he was just a constant liability What amazinglyun masculine men, er, boys, you ve concocted here Even the villain is a woman Considering its the females who do all the damage, maybe thats the real gender message here.
Agreeing with Amy about all the cutting, thrill seeking, etc as inappropriate for a teen audience, but I think it would have beenacceptable if you just explained it better Endorphins and all that But very irresponsiblethat you didn t.
And the alcohol, and anorexia, and constant surgeries were maybe even worse No one had any respect for the human body, before or after being pretty Even David, who should ve been so repulsed that he had the same kind of reaction she had to his ugliness So disgusted with all of them that he wouldn t want anything to do with them any He should have said a lotabout the beauty of humanity, the fragility and the strength that is naturally programmed into us YOU should have said it Maybe you were trying to, in some satiric way, but it just ended up being demoralizing, not actually inspiring Maybe you were just trying to tackle too much at once someone else suggested that 4 is another idea you wanted to develop, and that may have been why the rest sucked so bad for me I thought the pretty surgery as a cure to the breakdown of civilization was really far fetched, and became evenso because it became such a catch all Rusties were too reliant on oil Rusties destroyed nature Rusties made war over nothing Rusties destroyed themselves with their own technological genius all because of looks The line of reasoning is very thin, but you had some good points The problem was, you lumped them all together instead of exploring a few at a time The surgery revolution and the equality and the superhumans is a great idea, BY ITSELF The ruins of civilization, the oil dependence, the super weed another good idea BY ITSELF And the lesions and the anthropological guinea pigs, wow could be super, but by itself These concepts are what intrigued me in the beginning when the characters didn t, but instead of finding out how this society got from one point to another, how some people survived and prospered and others became savages, or how the cities were so absolutely isolated and disconnectedbut still largely the same it was all brushed over and vague Such a tremendous disappointment.
Am I just too ugly and emotional Is this written at a bubbly pretty reading level and I m just over thinking it Or am I simply not icy enough and i m missing the message Probably I m just expecting too much from YA books It s not like we re meant to do a criticalanalysis of Brave New World here, but that might actually be easier.
Update 5 20 15 I finally discovered a series that makes up for everything the Uglies series lacks It s Pure, by Julianna Baggott I feel immense dystopian satisfaction and fulfillment now that I ve read it Special Circumstances The Words Have Sent Chills Down Tally S Spine Since Her Days As A Repellent, Rebellious Ugly Back Then Specials Were A Sinister Rumor Frighteningly Beautiful, Dangerously Strong, Breathtakingly Fast Ordinary Pretties Might Live Their Whole Lives Without Meeting A Special But Tally S Never Been OrdinaryAnd Now She S Been Turned Into One Of Them A Superamped Fighting Machine, Engineered To Keep The Uglies Down And The Pretties StupidThe Strength, The Speed, And The Clarity And Focus Of Her Thinking Feel Better Than Anything Tally Can Remember Most Of The Time One Tiny Corner Of Her Heart Still Remembers SomethingStill, It S Easy To Tune That Out Until Tally 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 I have ambivalent feelings about this book It s fatally flawed in my opinion, both in tone and content The tone is adolescent hyper drama which is okay I suppose since it s written for a teen audience But, as an example of literature, it falls flat and since my interest in YA lit is exclusively how it might be used in the classroom or whether I can suggest the book for outside reading, I have to say, it s a problem Soaking in a gossipy, soap opera loop of teenage angst and action adventure takes time away from the substance of the novel I almost get the feeling that the writer was channeling its cgi potential and planning out some Dawson Creek Buffy dialogue while writing it None of this would keep me from wanting to use the book in a classroom, however What is a deal breaker is in the content itself The Special Specials or mean girl police force of this society are called Cutters And they stay icy translated aware and outside of their programming by cutting themselves with knives.
This particular direction takes the book off the shelves for classroom use and I m disappointed Cutting as a means for becomingreal is such a bad choice on Westerfeld s part Why suggest cutting as an experimental tool for enlightenment to an audience that is already so impressionable and self dramatizing It s not essential to the story although the entire book is suffused with cutting references, really it s just a plot conceit that could have been nearly anything else He later illustrates a better way to become icy but it s too little too late Then, of course, the next question is can I promote any of the books now Can I teach one in my classroom if a later one in the series is objectionable I don t know.
Finally I have finished this series I have politely deleted the adjectives that I considered adding to describe series And even though I only spent about two hours on this one, skipping entire pages and frequently entire chapters, part of me still thinks that it was an hour too long If you are interested in this series, simply use the formula below and insert the suggested words into the blanks for each different book 1 Tally doesn t like or feels out of place being .
2 Tally gets roped into being a mole to uncover .
3 Tally betrays .
4 Tally realizes she was really stupid and tries to fix it.
5 Tally gets capture usually and gets turned into aFor Uglies, insert ugly, The Smoke, David, and pretty For Pretties, insert pretty, The Smoke, David and Zane, and special For Specials, insert special, The New Smoke, everyone, and environmentalist It s a bit of an oversimplification, but not much Uglies was pretty interesting, but it was all downhill from there.
I have only commented on Goodreads on a couple of books I ve read, but this one really bothered me I still liked it enough to not stop reading, hence the three stars By the time I finished all three, I felt I had been lectured to and virtually yelled at about how awful a people we currently are and how horrifying our lifestyle is Even though I amthan twice the age of the target audience , I think the target audience is well equipped to understand anuanced approach to the obvious message I also think that even though the cutters eventually realized they didn t need to do that, there are many readers out there who will be intrigued enough about the concept to experiment and I find it irresponsible for a book aimed a teenagers to make this horrible and real even in our day practice look so enticing and power granting Thanks, I feel better now