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.

11 thoughts on “Specials

  1. I liked your review; I agree with pretty much everything you said. I still wish I’d stopped reading after Uglies, the ending was actually OK in a ‘The Giver’ by Lowry sort of way.


  2. I think the big problem with Pretties and Specials is that the characters are so unlikeable. Tally. She’s not a reliable narrator. She’s not necessarily a *good* person or a *nice* person or a likeable person. Same with Shay. I think that Specials was better than Pretties simply because it had a plot. But it wasn’t perfect, you’re right about that. I’m not going to push you into reading Extras by any means…but I’m curious as to what your response would be. I thought in many ways that it recaptured some of the things that made Uglies work. The narrator is NOT Tally. And that helps. There are some things in extras that shed some light on the end of Specials…as far as Shay and some of the other characters go…but I won’t speak of them here because the book won’t be released until October 2nd.


  3. Okay, I obediently skipped the spoiler part, because I am intrigued by the titles of these books. Give me a good titling system, anytime, and I’m slapping down my $12.95 just to see how it works in the book. So easy, me. I especially like one word titles. And long titles.


  4. I think Becky’s point about the main character being unlikeable is a good observation, here. Pretties and Specials were more superficial compared to Uglies — or maybe (as I’m starting to believe) it’s just that the “real meaning” is less obvious. I think they’re about the consequences of forcing change on a person, control of the society, and choices. But it’s harder to get at the message and more difficult to enjoy the books because of the the person Tally becomes in each one.Still, I’m not sure I would have stopped after Uglies. I think I would have been too curious to know what happens next. All that said, Uglies is still the best book.


  5. I agree with what Becky says too, but i think another main part was that we finished uglies amazed and stunned. we wanted more and when pretties came out we were dissapointed at what tally had become. PErsonally i like zane better than david. I think david is a bit of a player and just isn’t right for tally. I thought zane was the good guy. ANyway, at the end of pretties we were left stunned with zane’s condition and everything shay had becoe. and when specials came about it was a huge let down. the end was a too clean finish. How is it possible that both the doctor and shay have a second change? and zane’s death is a little too convient in putting david back in tally’s life. i think scott wrapped it up a little to nicely and created an ending a little too ‘nice’. in real life nothing ever ends up that way and scott had based his characters on a realistic emotions until the 3rd book.frankly, i was dissipointed


  6. MJ says:

    I enjoyed the way the book ended. But i to think that in ur review there should be a very quick synopisis to get the readers into the book if they have not yet read it. But as i said i do like the way it ended with choosing one over the other but now there is another once called Extras! so I don’t know how they are goning to add anymore to the book. I thought that the triligy was fine, But no! they had t add more. excuse my puctuation and spelling this was a a very quick comment. Thank you for the review


  7. debs says:

    I’ve just finished reading the Uglies trilogy. These books are expremely hard to get a hold of here in little old Masterton New Zealand (I haven’t been able to get a hold of “Blue Noon” which is incredibly annoying). I’ve just been reading the comments here and I sort of agree. When I finished specials I felt completely saddend by the whole thing. The book didn’t really have that much feeling in it. A lot of things happened sure but it was a bit too aggresive for me, maybe. I enjoyed pretties alot more in that it had feeling and emotion in it. New, old and lost friendships for instance. It was intresting to see throughout the books what chracters you start to cling too or uncling yourself from.I loved Shay in uglies but couldn’t stand her in Specials, Wanted David to be with Tally untill Zane showed up e.t.c. Maybe I just have too much time on my hands or lead an incredibly boring life (A bit of both) but I just wanted to let my thoughts be known. Still “Ulgies” is an awesome, awsome, read that I stumbled upon as I was wagging school one summer’s day……


  8. I think this book was…. how should I say it?… Obsession-Making… xD. Sure… Tally and Shay are unlikable, but it’s because of the operations they have been through. Also, Tally’s life is sooooooo complicated, it’s sad…=C I was obsessed with this book, and am currently obsessed with the Twilight series! Soon I will need another obsession…..o_O


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