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Sigh. I love reading. I love blogging. Unfortunately I read much faster than I write reviews for my blog. Add into the mix my own faulty memory... and I find myself thinking I've posted reviews when I haven't even written them yet. For example, Uglies by Scott Westerfeld, I read in October 2009. I really thought I had already posted my review but realized I hadn't when I started to write the review for the sequel, Pretties.
In this first book, Tally is nearly sixteen. When she is, she'll be given the operation to make her a pretty. She'll move into the city with all the other pretties where she'll have access parties, toys and other fun stuff.
Tally though is having second thoughts about being a Pretty. She's the youngest of her friends and therefore the last to go. Left alone she's feeling abandoned. While finding ways to spend her free time she makes new friends, friends who show her what life outside of her closed society is like.
The first third of the book builds a utopia based on a mandated homogeneity. People who are all the same, or at least all within the bounds of what society considers "beautiful" and who have all their needs cared for in excess will be happier and therefore easier to control. While I found the limits of this society and how it was affecting Tally and her friends interesting, I didn't really dive into the book until Tally leaves the confines of her city.
The second third follows Tally as she explores the remains of a long dead society, colloquially called the Rusties. Here we see glimmers of our current society. By keeping the details vague the remains could be almost any city, making the book all the more compelling.
There aren't just ruins out there. There are people. Some of them work for Tally's society but others are off the grid. They live without the operation and they try to recreate an older style society. This fringe society reminded me a bit of the rebel encampment in the caves as described in The Host by Stephanie Meyer. The difference here though, is that less time is spent on mundane details, meaning the pace of the book doesn't suffer from a momentary pause in the action.
As Uglies is the first in the series, it ends on a cliffhanger, leaving Tally to make the ultimate sacrifice to possibly save her friends and to bring an end to the flawed utopia she grew up in. Although the book is the first and ends as it does, the book can stand well by itself.
Comment #1: Monday, August, 23, 2010 at 01:21:13
I too feel like this book ends well enough to read by itself.
Westerfeld deals with a lot of unique ideas in this book. For details on what inspired him and what some of his concepts look like check out From Bogus to Bubbly.
For a similar book that's totally vintage check out the Tripod series. Excluding a prequel the series starts with The White Mountains.
Comment #2: Tuesday, August 24, 2010 at 20:18:12
I read the series when I was in 4th grade and then I re-read the first book about seven years ago. I think my husband has most of the books in the series. I just need to pull them off the shelves and give them another read.
Comment #3: Monday, August, 23, 2010 at 08:53:58
I'm getting these books off Paperback Swap and look forward to reading them. :)
Comment #4: Tuesday, August 24, 2010 at 20:20:58
Have fun with them. I still need to finish the series.
Comment #5: Monday, August, 23, 2010 at 19:09:34
I've read Uglies and really enjoyed it. I should start on Pretties. Oh, my TBR pile is so huge!
Comment #6: Tuesday, August 24, 2010 at 20:46:09
My TBR pile is huge too which is why I haven't gotten the next two books in the series.
Comment #7: Tuesday, August, 24, 2010 at 00:18:34
Very interesting sounding book; nice review
Comment #8: Tuesday, August 24, 2010 at 20:46:09
Comment #9: Tuesday, August, 24, 2010 at 06:12:41
I find it odd that I've not posted reviews of some of my favorite reads. How did that happen?
Comment #10: Tuesday, August 24, 2010 at 20:48:16
It happens far more often than I'd like. That's for sure.
Comment #11: Monday, August, 30, 2010 at 00:29:58
Ooh sounds good! Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this one.
Comment #12: Friday, September 3, 2010 at 10:36:02
You're welcome. Happy reading.
Comment #13: Monday, August, 30, 2010 at 16:06:05
Hi! Thanks for linking to my review of Uglies. I think that's a neat idea to include other reviewers like that. I may borrow!
Comment #14: Friday, September 3, 2010 at 10:38:06
You're welcome. Borrow away. It wasn't my idea. It was part of Weekly Geeks challenge a couple years ago.