Monday, January 23, 2017

Specials by Scott Westerfeld

Specials is the third book in the Uglies series so this review contains ***SPOILERS*** about what happens in Uglies and Pretties - and this is a series where you really need to read the books in order for maximum understanding and enjoyment.

Tally Youngblood is part of Special Circumstances, the secret policing force that keeps the Pretties in line and under control.  But even in Special Circumstances there are the elite, and Tally and her fellow Cutters are that elite - pushing themselves to the limit to root out the Uglies and Pretties working with the New Smoke.  It is a never ending task, and it soon becomes clear that Tally and Shay are going to have to take matters into their own hands to stop the New Smoke once and for all - without the knowledge of their commanding officer Doctor Cable.  Tally is determined to bring down the New Smoke and their leaders, because they cost her, and they are going to pay.

Specials in the last book in the original Uglies series, and brings to a close the story arc that started in Uglies.  As I have said before this series is a great read, but rather difficult to review well as the twists and turns are what makes it such a great read (and I don't want to risk spoilers).  Binge reading this series is definitely the way to go, as it keeps the events fresh in your mind and makes it easier to connect all the dots together.  Tally is an interesting character to see the world through as although she is often a pawn in other peoples games, she shows amazing resilience and adaptability - she is also flawed and human which makes her the imperfectly perfect hero. 

There are a lot of themes across these novels that are interesting to explore and question.  As one of the earliest examples of a dystopian series, Westerfeld has created a world where everyone is perfect and happy as adults so there is no war, serious disease, or poverty - but there is also no freedom, no real individuality, and everyone is kept under control in a somewhat sinister way (because everyone willingly submits to it).  There are times when I wish there had been a little more *pow* with the writing itself, but the characters make up for that over the course of the series. 

This series would work well for a class reading with themes around social control, friendship, and the implications of making everyone the same.  It is also a series that you can enjoy for it's own merits.  While this is officially the last book in the series, there is a fourth book (in the trilogy) called Extras which is set in another city and continues with some of the same themes and characters.

If you like this book then try:
  • Uglies by Scott Westerfeld
  • Slated by Teri Terry
  • Renegade by J.A. Souders
  • XVI by Julia Karr
  • Partials by Dan Wells
  • The testing by Joelle Charbonneau
  • Proxy by Alex London
  • Article 5 by Kristen Simmons
  • In the after by Demitria Lunetta
  • ACID by Emma Pass
  • Perfected by Kate Jarvik Birch
  • Reboot by Amy Tintera
  • The scorpion rules by Erin Bow
  • The hunt by Andrew Fukuda
  • Variant by Robison Wells
  • The forest of hands and teeth by Carrie Ryan
  • Sister assassin by Kiersten White
  • The declaration by Gemma Malley
  • Breathe by Sarah Crossan
  • Inside out by Maria V. Snyder

Reviewed by Brilla

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