Specials – Scott Westerfeld
Genre: YA Dystopia
Summary: Specials, the third book in the Uglies trilogy, picks up with our narrator, Tally, becoming a member of The Cutters, a select group of young Specials within Special Circumstances. While her terrifying beauty strikes fear into the hearts of some, others have become a bit more skeptical about everything, including life within the city. Since Tally is now a Special, her job is to ensure that everyone in the society conforms to the standards set by the city, and, ultimately, to find and destroy the New Smoke forever. Will she be successful in her endeavors, or will she give in to the memories of the Old Smoke that she just can’t seem to let go of?
Review: This series has truly been an enjoyable guilty pleasure for me, as the books are incredibly easy to read and the dystopian society Westerfeld has imagined is quite interesting. Basically, I can check my brain at the door and just enjoy a good bit of fluff for awhile. Much like the rest of the series, Specials also embodied these traits, and I devoured it in one sitting.
While the writing of the series as a whole is rather lackluster, the plot itself really propels the book forward, and for the most part, it kept me engaged, even though there were a few slow parts. The changes in Tally were really interesting in this book, as we see her as physically strong and powerful, while also possessing the ability to render herself invisible just by touching a button on her clothing. I also really liked that people were finally starting to realize what was going on around them, and it was interesting to watch as Tally struggled with what she should do about it.
One of the things that kind of drove me crazy was the number of times that Tally called Shay “boss.” Yes, we get that she’s technically your boss, but do you really have to call her that in every other sentence? Argh! Tally’s narrative also became a bit tiresome after awhile, as she whined quite a bit throughout. Boohoo, your life is so hard…shut up.
While this novel isn’t deep, it does have underlying themes of the dangers of consumerism, greed, and the adverse effects of deforestation. When taken into context, the characters being completely brainwashed makes sense, as the element of control is necessary in the eyes of society.
Ultimately, if you’re looking for a light, fun read and a unique dystopian world, the Uglies series is worth checking out.
Other Books in the Series: Uglies (Book 1), Pretties (Book 2), Extras (Book 4; same world, different narrator)
Read alikes: City of Ember series, Unwind, The Hunger Games