Monday, May 14, 2012

Pretties (Book Two of Uglies) by Scott Westerfeld

Book Two of Uglies
Written by Scott Westerfeld
“My name is Tally Youngblood and my mind is very ugly.”  -- Tally, Pretties, Written by Scott Westerfeld
If you haven't read the first book in this series, Uglies, I strongly suggest you wait to read this review, until after you've read Uglies.  It is almost impossible to write a good review of Pretties without giving away the ending of Uglies, because it begins right where Uglies left off.

Uglies ended with Tally making the decision to be the guinea pig for a new medicine. Maddy, David's mother and a doctor, believed that she had found a way to reverse the effects of these lesions on the Pretties, but she needed someone who was not only willing to take the medicine, but someone who she felt was capable of consenting. If something went wrong or they found the medicine caused unwanted side effects, Maddy would not be able to forgive herself for forcing it on someone who didn't understand the risks. Because Tally felt so extremely guilty for her perceived betrayal of the Smokies and David, she offered to turn herself in to the Specials, and get the surgery. After she was turned Pretty, the Smokies would rescue her and she'd take the cure.

This is one of those rare books that appears so simple on the surface but becomes more and more complex the more you think about it. As you go deeper and deeper into each layer of the story you begin to see just how phenomenal Westerfeld really is. In fact, it's so subtle that I almost missed it altogether in the Uglies. It wasn't until I was reflecting on the story and began writing my review that I finally realized exactly what he was doing. I was delighted when he continued to reveal new levels of depth in some of the characters, as they found their way to greater understanding, in the second book.

One last thing I feel I must mention, because it is usually something that drives me insane, is the use of a particular "lingo" amongst the Pretties. Usually when I'm reading a book and the author uses unfamiliar made-up words I get frustrated really quickly. It tends to make the book unnecessarily complicated and therefore not nearly as much fun to read. I hate feeling like I need a glossary for the made up language just so I can understand what's going on. Once again though, Westerfeld shows his incredible talent as a writer. The Pretties have a whole slew of slang words in their regular vocabulary, but his consistent use of these words, along with his well-constructed sentences make it incredibly easy to understand.

Pretties was every bit as good as Uglies. There were many twists and turns in the plot to keep it interesting. New characters were introduced, and new relationships formed. I am looking forward to seeing what happens next in, Specials.

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