Thursday, January 13, 2011

Specials (Uglies #3) by Scott Westerfeld

Title: Specials
Author: Scott Westerfeld
Series: Uglies #3
Published: April 15, 2006 by Simon Pulse
(372 pages, paperback)
Summary: "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 ordinary.
And now she's been turned into one of them: a superamped fighting machine, engineered to keep the uglies down and the pretties stupid.
The 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 something more.
Still, 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.
My thoughts: The conclusion to the Uglies trilogy (Extras is really unrelated to the original story arc) is the most action-packed, fast-paced, making-your-heart-beat-faster book of the series. Tally has undergone yet another operation and is now a 'Special'. Along with now having super-advanced abilities, reflexes, and looks, comes a whole new vocabulary. I loved the words and phrases that Specials use ('staying icy' was my favorite) and I think Westerfeld has been outstandingly creative with his new vocabularies and expressions. The Specials are freakishly unfeeling and amazingly powerful (in more ways than one) and I loved the changes. Even though I liked Tally best as an unaffected Ugly, Specials provided a whole new look on the futuristic world set in the series.
Shay's been on my bad side since she turned into a Pretty; however, I love how Westerfeld has changed her with every book, morphing her from the free-thinking, independent Ugly she once was to a vice for the government. The character development is kind of breathtaking when you look at how these characters started and how they are by the end. I liked the re-introduction to the characters from the Smoke, and even though I thought it was a little forced that there would be a 'New Smoke,' the story line was still original and dangerous in a whole new way. Okay, so, spoiler alert for the rest of this paragraph: I love, love, loved Zane, from the first page he was introduced on. I'm not gonna lie; I cried a lot when he died; I have to admit to having hated Tally for her cold response to him early in the book. Westerfeld, though, did a fine job of showing Tally's remorse at her superficiality and her cold behavior around him. I think the fact that he died made it more thought-provoking to show how their society has caused so much destruction.
The writing wasn't particularly great, but it served its purpose; I liked the way Tally's narrative changes with her physical changes. It made it more realistic, and it made the changes in her more apparent. Also, its great how her feelings and emotions weren't totally buried under her new personality; her old emotions still showed through in certain parts of the writing. Also, it was written in a fast-paced way that made it quicker reading and cut straight to the chase throughout.
Tally was still a great protagonist; even when you think she's going to give up, go home, forget all of her rebellions and just let her society get the best of her, she gets back up and rebells some more. The story line was little bit jumbled by the point in the series, but Westerfeld did an alright job of tying up to loose ends from both Uglies and Pretties. Despite the craziness going on and the complicated side stories, the series ended on a manageable, almost hopeful note. Specials wasn't my favorite of the series, but it wasn't a bad novel by any means, and it was still a thought-provoking, frightening look on what society could one day become. It was an action book with a little bit of romance and deepness sprinkled in.
Covering the Cover: This cover was my favorite of the series. It's simple and breathtaking and displays the Specials perfectly.
Characters: 4/5
Plot: 4.5/5
Writing: 3.5/5
Overall Rating: 4 stars


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