Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Thoughts on The Uglies Series

I want to preface this with a warning to those who have not completed the series yet. Do not read this until you have read all four of the books in the Uglies series!  This is my own thoughts and interpretations of the series and it does contain spoilers that may well ruin the unpredictablity of the books for you.  It would be a shame to miss out on the discoveries you'll make by reading these books yourself.  I just enjoied the series so much and found it so thought provoking that I wanted an outlet to express my thoughts on the series as a whole without having to worry about giving away too much of the story-line and messing up the books for the future readers.  This is my review of the entire series, without holding anything back.

If we're being honest here, I have to admit that I wasn't crazy about the conclusion book to the Uglies series. When I found out that it was originally only going to be a trilogy, I felt a little better about it all. In my opinion, it would have been better ended after Specials.  I felt like the characters I'd grown to love were regulated to the back burner, and the new characters were too shallow or too deep - it lacked the balance that I'd come to love about the Uglies series. That being said, I also felt the plot was kind of thrown together. Everything happened too fast, and was wrapped up with a nice bow at the end, with little left to chance. All in all, I think that Westerfeld should have stopped while he was ahead and just left these characters and storyline for some other series where the changes would have been innovative, rather than dissapointing.

I also have to say that, in the final book, Extra's, I hated Tally's character. She was way to different and I felt that she was less genuine because of it. She seemed so thoughtless, arrogant, and just plain dumb. Always before, Tally, even when she didn't quite know it, seemed to have others best interest at heart. She was caring, even when she wasn't supposed to be. She broke through the training and the rewiring of her brain over and over. The final version of Tally, in Extras, just didn't seem like the Tally I thought she would become after rewiring her special brain. I was also disappointed that she didn't seem to be "with" David, after all they'd been through and how didn't seem to care that they weren't a couple. I felt like that was totally out of character for both of them. In my mind, I invisioned them together as a couple maybe even with a child, protecting the world from itself. But it was like she hadn't really repaired herself from the Special status at all.

Now to discuss the first three books, the original trilogy, which I loved
Westerfeld's style has remained much the same throughout the first three books of the series as he allows the characters to become more and more real to you as you see them interacting with others and with their world. I think he is brillant at this method of writing because he rarely, if ever, describes any person, place, or thing as a narrator. Instead he allows you to see the world of Uglies only through the masks of his characters. This is especially interesting as the characters change so dramatically throughout the books, giving the reader the opportunity to see this world from so many different perspectives that it becomes so tangible. 

I love how wildly unpredictable Tally's character is at the onset of each book and how much farther she must travel, mentally and emotionally, to get back to her true self.  I truly love how Westerfeld manages to make you want to laugh and cry over Tally's struggles to remain true to herself. I love how at the beginning of each book she thinks that her new existance is perfectly fine, but how her complex brain never seems to allow her to really settle into her changing roles. This entire series so far has been an amazing metaphor for me. I liken Tally to the free-thinkers of our own world, and the religious and government leaders who have struggled to tamp down that desire to question everything. Tally is the perfect example of the best society has to offer, someone who time and again rises up from her environment better and stronger than before. Everytime they operate on her they try to remove her ability and desire to rebel, to question. Every time they fail. Tally has the remarkable ability to see through the bull shit and apply logic and reason to her life and actions, as well as those around her. I think it has been incredibly fortunate that I found this series as I was struggling with my own identity as a free thinker. Tally is inspriational in that respect. Her ability to free herself from the masses and to take her own path doing what she believes is right no matter the consequences is such an inspiration.

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