Monday, March 31, 2014

Review: "Uglies" by Scott Westerfeld

Title: Uglies
Series: Uglies #1
Author: Scott Westerfeld
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Year: 2012 

"Tally can't wait to turn sixteen and become pretty. Sixteen is the magic number that brings a transformation from repellent Ugly into a stunningly attractive Pretty, and catapults you into a high-tech paradise where your only job is to have a really great time. In just a few weeks, Tally will be there.

But Tally's new friend, Shay, isn't sure she wants to be Pretty. She'd rather risk life on the outside. When Shay runs away, Tally learns about a whole new side of the Pretty world - and it isn't very pretty. The authorities offer Tally the worst choice she can imagine: find her friend and turn her in, or never turn Pretty at all. The choice Tally makes changes her world forever."

Despite me rating this book 3 stars, I was still pleasantly surprised with it. I had to start it three times before I got going so I was very skeptical at first. But in the end it was not half bad. Definitely good enough for me to add the next books in the series into my list.

Let us poke this beast with a stick, shall we?

First of all the world. My love for dystopian novels is no secret. My favorite part of any new dystopian series is the descriptions as to how that particular world works. So when this was the first aspect in which "Uglies" failed to impress then I was a little sad. For some reason my fangirl-senses just weren't tingling when I was introduced to the world of "Uglies". It was quite obvious that the teenagers who were supposedly ugly were just our version of normal people. And it would have been fine if the whole thing played heavily on the obsession of beauty and plastic surgery, but the backstory as to why the operations started was not about that at all and it fell a little flat in my opinion.

Now on to the saving grace of this book. The story and its development. "Uglies" had a very nice slow pace. It took its time and played the story out properly. So many books hurry through various parts these days so it was nice to see all sides of the story getting attention. It also did not rely on romance too much which was nice. And the romance did not just jump out of nothing. No "I saw him brooding and knew that I want to throw my whole life away for him" here. The story did have a few twists and turns but then again a lot of the big revelations that my friends say were really unexpected felt a little predictable to me.

And to the characters. They felt really life-like in their decisions and emotions.
It took me a little while to start liking Tally. Which, I have a feeling, was Westerfeld's plan. With her being a little whiny and too obsessed with Pretties at first, it made her development all the more dramatic. I liked that she had a very human feel to her. A lot of fiction portrays its heroes and heroines as completely selfless beings who always think of someone else first. But Tally planned to look out for herself firstly and for others secondly. I would like to royally present to you a big, fat, happy FINALLY! Most people have a sense of self-preservation it was about time an author admitted that.
Same goes for Shay. She chickened out the first time she was going to leave her life behind. And considering at that time she was very young then it makes sense. I did think that she deserved a little more attention. Don't get me wrong, she was a well-written character, I just wanted more of her.
David was the one character I could not quite decide if I liked. Through him we got a lot of depth to the story but sadly not much for himself. Will look to the next books to make up my mind about him.

"Uglies" might not be the shiniest book on my shelf, but I do not regret reading it. Its three stars were well earned.
This review has been brought to you by your Book Mistress for the day.


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