EXTRAS by Scott Westerfeld | Review

Title: Extras

Author: Scott Westerfeld

Book #: 4 in the “Uglies” series

Publication: October 2007, by Simon Pulse

Pages: 417

Author’s Website and Twitter

Rating: combinej_images

It’s a few years after rebel Tally Youngblood took down the uglies/pretties/specials regime. Without those strict roles and rules, the world is in a complete cultural renaissance. “Tech-heads” flaunt their latest gadgets, “kickers” spread gossip and trends, and “surge monkeys” are hooked on extreme plastic surgery. And it’s all monitored on a bazillion different cameras. The world is like a gigantic game of “American Idol.” Whoever is getting the most buzz gets the most votes. Popularity rules.

As if being fifteen doesn’t suck enough, Aya Fuse’s rank of 451,369 is so low, she’s a total nobody. An extra. But Aya doesn’t care; she just wants to lie low with her drone, Moggle. And maybe kick a good story for herself.

Then Aya meets a clique of girls who pull crazy tricks, yet are deeply secretive of it. Aya wants desperately to kick their story, to show everyone how intensely cool the Sly Girls are. But doing so would propel her out of extra-land and into the world of fame, celebrity…and extreme danger. A world she’s not prepared for.

Synopsis from Goodreads.com

“You see, freedom has a way of destroying things.” 

Review

I’m trying to decide how to rate this book… I know I didn’t like it. But what were its positive aspects? There’s really not much. And that’s just a nice way of me saying there was really nothing I liked about this book.

First of all, this is supposed to be the fourth book in the uglies series, but it was more like a companion novel to me. It takes place a few years after the last book ended and the characters are all new. There is no longer the “pretty” system going on, it has now switched to the “popularity” system. Everyone just wants to be popular and that’s the way of becoming rich. So we follow the story of Aya, who is very low in popularity ranking and is trying to find a good story to publish in order to become more famous. There’s also a boy involved at some point and some ethical dilemmas and so on. I can’t say that the story was predictable, but it was so bad that I even wish it was predictable. There was the supposed mystery of who was the number one popular person, but it was so obvious from the beginning who it was gonna be…

Aside from the storyline, which was getting more and more ridiculous with every page, I also didn’t find any of the characters interesting. They were all a bit flat to me. Aya was just so superficial and annoying at times and she stayed that way throughout the whole book!

All I can really say is that I was very disappointed by this book. The first book in the series was just so good! And to have a book like that be the last book, is simply frustrating. I actually wish that “Uglies” was a standalone. The second book was also pretty good, but after that it really went downhill. The only reason I finished reading this was because I was in a train for six hours with nothing else to do.

First Line

“”Moggle,” Aya whispered. “You awake?””

Recommend it for…

  • I wouldn’t even recommend it to people who have read the rest of the series. It’s really better to stop with the third book.
  • After this, I don’t think I would even recommend the series in general since the rating was like this:

Uglies: 5 golden stars

Pretties: 4,5 stars

Specials: 2,5 stars

Extras: 1 star

Add it on Goodreads

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SPECIALS by Scott Westerfeld | Review

Title: Specials

Author: Scott Westerfeld

Book #: 3 in the “Uglies” series

Publication: May 2006 by Simon Pulse

Pages: 384

Author’s Website and Twitter

Rating: acombine_images

“Special Circumstances”: The words have sent chills down Tally’s spine since her days as a repellent, rebellious ugly. Back then Specials were a sinister rumor — frighteningly beautiful, dangerously strong, breathtakingly fast. Ordinary pretties might live their whole lives without meeting a Special. But Tally’s never been ordinary.

And now she’s been turned into one of them: a superamped fighting machine, engineered to keep the uglies down and the pretties stupid.

The strength, the speed, and the clarity and focus of her thinking feel better than anything Tally can remember. Most of the time. One tiny corner of her heart still remembers something more.

Still, it’s easy to tune that out — until Tally’s offered a chance to stamp out the rebels of the New Smoke permanently. It all comes down to one last choice: listen to that tiny, faint heartbeat, or carry out the mission she’s programmed to complete. Either way, Tally’s world will never be the same.

Synopsis from Goodreads.com

“That Shay was in possession of hand grenades was a comforting thought showed what kind of night this had become.” 

Review

I honestly started reading this book without great expectations, because after reading the first few pages it felt like the story was going to be pretty repetitive. So, in the first book we have Tally basically trying to escape from becoming pretty, in the second she is trying to break through the pretties’ way of thinking and in the third book she is trying to break through the specials’ way of thinking. It’s the same story over and over again!

Not to mention that the first third of the book is actually quite boring. There’s not much going on, Zane is still trying to recover from his brain injury, Shay has turned into a complete bitch and Tally is quite unrecognizable. The story picks up after the first part, but it’s really the same story again! It’s quite predictable, to say the least.

The most disturbing part of the book was the whole “Cutters” group. They’re actually cutting themselves to become “bubbly” now! I mean not eating was one thing (although very close to anorexia), but causing self-injury without even thinking about it? That’s just too much!

All in all, I’m really disappointed by this book, because the series started out so promisingly, that it’s really sad to have a book like this! I’m going to read extras, since A I’ve already bought the book, B it’s set some years later with different characters, and C for the sake of finishing the series!

First Line

“The six hoverboards slipped among the trees with the lightning grace of playing cards thrown flat and spinning.”

Recommend it for…

  • People who have read the previous books and want to find out what’s going to happen.
Add it on Goodreads

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PRETTIES by Scott Westerfeld | Review

Title: Pretties

Author: Scott Westerfeld

Book #: 2 in the “Uglies” series

Publication: November 2005 by Simon Pulse

Pages: 370

Author’s Website and Twitter

Rating: comjbine_images

Gorgeous. Popular. Perfect. Perfectly wrong.

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.

Synopsis from Goodreads.com

“What happens when perfection isn’t good enough?”

Review

Well, after the cliffhanger at the end of the 1st book of the series, I couldn’t help but immediately start the sequel to that one. So Tally is pretty now… I expected that one, since it was actually revealed in the first book. I also expected her not to care about her brain being totally altered and damaged, but I didn’t expect that all of her memories would be as fuzzy as they were.

In the beginning of the book, Tally is acting almost exactly as every other pretty is in that messed up town of theirs. David is nowhere to be seen and Tally is pretty much left to fend for herself. As all the pretties are living their pretty lives and going to their pretty partys, Tally is starting to get closer to a certain guy, called Zane. He seems to be a bit different from the others, trying to make Tally somehow “wake up” from the haze  that she’s into and be “bubbly”, and they start falling for each other. And that Ladies and Gentlemen is what we call a love triangle!

I don’t generally hate love triangles. In fact if they’re well made I really like them. And in this case it was definitely well made and it actually had a reason for being there. All of Tally’s memories from when she was ugly are very unclear and she doesn’t think that all of those things are important anymore. So she definitely doesn’t feel a commitment or anything against David, which makes her free to start something new! And Zane is a really awesome guy! In a world were everyone is exactly the same, he stands out. Not much, but still… Even a little makes a difference here.

What I really enjoyed about this book was that I now knew a lot of things about this world, which made me enjoy the story so much more! In the first book it took me a while to understand who were the rusties and the smokies, how was everything working and what the heck there was going on! The second book was not as complicated and I now understood this world and what was going on.

The only reason I ended up giving this 4.5 stars was the ending. I’m not going to reveal anything, but it really pissed me off and I’m not looking forward for the rest of the series as much anymore. I really hope that the 3rd book is going to be good, just because the first book was great and I really want to like this series!

First Line

“Getting dressed was always the hardest part of the afternoon.”

Recommend it for…

  • Fans of Dystopia
  • Anyone who wants to read a really fast-paced book
Add it on Goodreads

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UGLIES by Scott Westerfeld | Review

Title: Uglies

Author: Scott Westerfeld

Book #: 1 in the “Uglies” series

Publication: February 2005 by Simon Pulse

Pages: 448

Author’s Website and Twitter

Rating:combinhe_images

Tally Youngblood is about to turn sixteen, and she can’t wait for the operation that turns everyone from a repellent ugly into a stunningly attractive pretty and catapults you into a high-tech paradise where your only job is to party. But new friend Shay would rather hoverboard to “the Smoke” and be free. Tally learns about a whole new side of the pretty world and it isn’t very pretty. The “Special Circumstances” authority Dr Cable offers Tally the worst choice she can imagine: find her friend and turn her in, or never turn pretty at all. The choice Tally makes changes her world forever.

Synopsis from Goodreads.com

“We’re not freaks, Tally. We’re normal. We may not be gorgeous, but at least we’re not hyped-up Barbie dolls.” 

Review

Ok, I’ll admit, this book was not on the top of my TBR (aka to-be-read) shelf. There are so many books that I want to read and this one wasn’t really getting my attention, but I decided to buy it, after finding it at an amazing price. Turns out it was a really great decision!

Set in the future after humans (aka we) have destroyed the world, “uglies” follows the story of a young girl who is about to go through the same operation everyone goes through in order to become pretty. So the first thing that captured me in this book, was how unbelievably crazy this world was, but at the same time not too hard to imagine. Actually, disturbingly easy to imagine! I can not find it unbelievable at all that maybe one day everyone will be going through an operation to turn themselves pretty. A lot of people seem to want to do that even now! This, though, as we very clearly see in the book, comes with a price. Being pretty means being the same as everyone else, which can be extended to not only looking the same, but so much more!

The only thing Tally, the protagonist, wants is to finally be pretty. She can’t stand to see herself in the mirror and feels like she is completely ugly and repulsive. Shay, her new friend, on the other hand, doesn’t want to go through the operation. She has actually found a place where people who don’t want to become pretty escape to and tries to convince Tally to go with her. I really liked Shey’s character in the beginning of the book. She was a refreshing change to Tally, who at first wanted exactly the same as everyone else. Shay was the one questioning the whole system and convincing Tally to do more crazy and fun stuff than she had ever done before.

So, as the story evolved, Tally’s character really started to pick up and grow and she was becoming more and more interesting! I wasn’t a huge fan of Tally in the beginning of the book, but I ended up loving her! I was admiring how brave and open-minded she was, considering of course, the world she grew up in. In the end she turned out to be a great, strong female protagonist.

The whole book was written in such an extraordinary way, that I felt like I was watching a movie! I don’t know exactly what it was (that’s the whole magic of it) but I had a picture of everything in my head while reading it. I definitely think that the book could also be turned into a great movie!

All in all, I am now a huge fan of the “Uglies” series (hence the “5 golden stars”) and I can’t wait to find out what will happen next!

Update 08.12.2013

I decide to change my rating of this book from 5 Golden stars to 4. After finishing the whole series I was so disappointed by the 3rd and 4th book, that my feelings for the whole series have actually changed. On the 5 golden stars category are books that I really love and definitely want to re-read and this book no longer fits there.

First Line

“The early summer sky was the color of cat vomit.”

Recommend it for…

  • Anyone who likes dystopia that is fun to read, but also has to do with important “philosophical” issues
Add it on Goodreads

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