Published: November 1st 2005
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Details: Paperback, 370 pages
My grade: 4/5
I was glued to the pages in Pretties from start to finish. This is as action-packed as the first, and once again ending with a cliff-hanger, so make sure you have the third book ready by the time you finish!
See my full review here:
Tally has finally become pretty. Now her looks are beyond perfect, her clothes are awesome, her boyfriend is totally hot, and she’s completely popular. It’s everything she’s ever wanted.
But beneath all the fun — the nonstop parties, the high-tech luxury, the total freedom — is a nagging sense that something’s wrong. Something important. Then a message from Tally’s ugly past arrives. Reading it, Tally remembers what’s wrong with pretty life, and the fun stops cold.
Now she has to choose between fighting to forget what she knows and fighting for her life — because the authorities don’t intend to let anyone with this information survive.
This is the second book of the series Uglies by Scott Westerfeld. It’s very much a continuation of the first book Uglies – no extra explanations provided for newcomers – so you definitely need to start with Uglies.
I should also warn you that if you haven’t read Uglies, don’t continue reading this review as it will contain spoilers!
So as for the review:
While Uglies explained the world of the “Uglies” – those who had not undergone cosmetic surgery, Pretties explains the life of the Pretties – what life is like post-operation. At the end of the first book “Uglies”, Tally decides to become pretty, so that she can try out the cure that David’s mom has developed for the altered Pretty brain. Thus we continue following our heroine, but this time as a Pretty.
There is certainly no slow beginning here. We are quickly thrown into Tally’s adventures in Pretty town. Already in the first chapter, her former “Uglies friends” from The Smoke (rebellious town outside of society) contact her, thus making her remember some of her past, which has been quite fuzzy since the operation (for reasons explained in the book).
She finds an accomplice in Zane, one of the guys in her group of “Pretty friends”, and together they bark on a journey whose goal is to free themselves from their pretty minds, and the city.
If I was a bit hesitant towards Uglies at first, Pretties was exciting from start to finish. I could not let go of the book! There were a number of reasons for this.
Firstly, I was so invested in the heroine Tally that my heart felt with her in every step along the way. Secondly, the prequel Uglies had already sparked my curiosity for how the Pretty world functioned. In the first book, we experience Pretty Town through Tally’s eyes as an ugly – that is, at a distance, so I was really eager to find out more about that world in closer details. The main reason however for me liking this book was the new addition of Zane as a character in the story. I immediately rooted for him and loved following his relationship with Tally.
As in Uglies, the plot continues to twist and turn and true to his form, Westerfeld provides a number of things to reflect upon in our society – things I discussed in my review on Uglies. But not only that, while reading Pretties I was also starting to see shades of grey, as in I was starting to wonder if the “bad guys” really were that bad.
The “bad guys” are The Specials who keep interfering in Tally’s life. They are the secret police (The Specials is short for Special Circumstances) who operate whenever a threat from the outside is detected, essentially anything threatening the Pretty World that they have created.
Of course, I knew that The Specials are supposed to be the bad guys. After all, they alter people’s brains without permission which is clearly not OK. But what if the purpose of The Specials is good? I mean, they are trying to avoid a repetition of what happened to “The Rusties” – the people before them (us) who nearly brought the world to an end through wars and environmental catastrophes. At one point in the book, one of the Specials describes humanity as a cancer tumor to the world – unable to live in it without destroying it. And well, at the rate we are currently going at destroying our world, I can’t help but wondering if it’s true.
So, what I asked myself was: how much damage are you allowed to cause (as in what the Specials did with the Pretties), for the sake of the greater good (not destroying the world)? Tough question with no easy answer, but it sure had me thinking.
As for the ending, I was sort of guessing where it was heading, considering the name of the third book. Yet, the way it happened shocked me, as it felt so cruel. Once again, my heart felt with Tally.
All in all, this was a great and exciting read, with an ending that made me throw myself over the third book in the series “Specials”.