I finally got around to reading the third in the Uglies Trilogy by Scott Westerfield. And, like Pretties, I didn’t enjoy it nearly as much as I did Uglies, though I thought Westerfield did a good job tying up all loose ends and giving the story a decent punch at the end. (At least there’s no cliffhanger at the end of this one.) I’m not even going to try and review this book without spoilers. So if you are even remotely interested in reading this one, and you have a problem with spoilers… stop now.
I really disliked Tally for a great deal of the book. Like at the beginning of Pretties, she was completely controlled by what she had become, in this case, one of the Special Circumstances. At one point, though, I realized that I was supposed to dislike Tally. Or rather, I was supposed to dislike what Tally had become, what Dr. Cable had made her in to. Once I made this realization, I could deal with Tally: her snobbery, her insecurity, her need to be “icy”. (Though she did get better as the book went on.) But, I also disliked Shay. Was it just me, or did anyone else see parallels to drug use in this book? Shay was addicted (like a drug user) to cutting herself and very controlling of the people and situations around her. (She’d get really mean if things didn’t go her way.) Her friendship with Tally was superficial and controlling as well. The problem was that I disliked her so much that I wasn’t entirely convinced by her change and remorse in the end. Why would Tally even consider giving Shay yet another chance? How do we know that Shay’s change is real, complete? We don’t; and because of that, I distrusted it.
Speaking of change and remorse, Dr. Cable completely threw me for a loop. I’d been expecting some of it; she’s been the “bad guy” all along — controlling the town to extreme ends. I didn’t expect her to attack another city, though I suppose it wasn’t completely far-fetched. (I did like the line which went something like — I couldn’t find it to get it exactly — “All cities had given up war; it’s just that some cities had given it up more than others). But, I found it really hard to hate her because she had been lurking in the background for most of the books. As a result, the final confrontation between Tally and Dr. Cable at the end just completely fell flat. And after that… well, I understand it, but just because I understand it doesn’t mean I thought it made sense.
Which brings me to the ending. It was… okay. I guess I couldn’t have expected much better; how do you fully resolve a story like the one Westerfield created here? But, it kind of fell flat. After all the struggling Tally did in all three books — against the way she was brought up and against the subsequent operations — what more did I want from her? I don’t know. So, to quietly slink off into the wild with her first love is probably the best ending anyway. I just wasn’t fully satisfied by it.
All that said, though, Westerfield has created a very interesting and very compelling world. Uglies is a brilliant book, and the other two are still good, if flawed, reads. And since I did enjoy myself with these three, I’ll be picking up Extras as soon as the library gets a copy.