Thursday, April 7, 2011

SPECIALS

Review of SPECIALS by SCOTT WESTERFELD
(third in the UGLIES series)


This is by far my favorite book in the series. As I touched on in my reviews of UGLIES and PRETTIES, each book mimics Tally's current programmed mentality. In UGLIES, the writing is angst-heavy and emotional, as are uglies before the operation "fixes" all that. Then in the second book, Tally turns pretty, and the book often has a slow, confused sense. Actions are a little harder to follow, as is Tally's train of thought while she struggles to pull herself out of this enforced mind fog. Now, in SPECIALS, Tally has been altered again, and like the specials of the title, the writing of this book is intense. Every detail has an "icy" clarity, and much more attention is paid to sensory detail and miniscule observations, emphasizing that Tally's mind and senses are more awake than they have ever been before.


We start to see the toll Tally's life has taken on her. Still only sixteen, circumstances have forced her to grow up too fast. She seems more mature in this book, which admittedly is in part because her brain has been adjusted for clearer thought, but there's more to it than that. Another reason I prefer this book to the first two is that Tally starts to do more for herself. For the first time, she rebels rather than being dragged into rebellion by someone else. She's tired of always being a creation, a toy, a project, a weapon, and she's determined to find herself buried beneath all the surgeries and politics and expectations. “Sometimes I think I’m nothing but what other people have done to me—a big collection of brain-washing, surgeries, and cures.” Need I say more?

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