So my wife and I occasionally swap books which may seem a little kooky However, you have to keep things spicy when you ve been married as long as we have and since nipple showers with hot candle wax make me break out into shouts of FUCKARELLA THAT HURTS we needed some alternative sizzle So she hooks me up with this little philly of a novel while I matched her with The Lies of Locke Lamora Well my wife loved the book I set her up with.as I knew she would because it is all over awesome Of course, I will admit I was a tick jealous when I would look over and she her lying on the bed heart throbbing on Locke Lamora with a wistful smile on her face That used to be meI miss you Locke As for me, I didn t find a love connection with this book Don t get me wrong, I think the story has some wonderful qualities that I can respect it but there wasn t going to be a let s do this again sometime in our future However, even though I didn t go all Lamar and Chloe on this book, I do still owe my wife a HUGE debt of gratitude Why you ask Because if she wanted to be a nasty ms she could have chosen for me to read Twilight which would have caused me all kinds of trauma Honey.you are just too good to me Anyway, there have been so many other excellent reviews of this book that detail the plot that I will just give a brief synop before telling you what I think The story involves a future dystopia in which everyone, at age 16, is radically transformed using extreme plastic surgery to become pretty..kinda like The OC The theory is that by removing all distinctions based on physical appearance, you will also remove the jealousy and bias from society and make everyone sunny and sexy I thought for the most part that it was an excellent way to exploring themes of youthful angst about fitting in and larger issues social conformity While not as good as other YAs I ve read, I thought that the world envisioned by the story was fresh and promising and fit within the framework of the novel In other words I thought it worked I also thought that as the story unfolded and we learned about the TRUTH behind the society and the real purpose for the transformative surgery, the story became a lot interesting That said, there are two main reasons why I couldn t rate this higher than I did First, the pace was much too turtle like for me and events seemed to take way too long to wrap up It just made it impossible for me to slip into the story However, the biggest chunky in the punch bowl for me was the main character, Tally, who I found annoying She drove me completely cranky for most of the book and it is tough to find win if the main biddy is giving you a case of the grumps However, to her credit, Tally did begin to redeem her image towards the tail of the book and there are preliminary indications that she may upgrade into a compelling protag in the subsequent novels However, in this one, she was lugging around a minus sign often than not So, overall, excellent back story and interesting world building give me some reason to think that the sequels might be worth a gander at some point I just pray to George Burns that Tally can grow out of her bugging me phase and that the pace could hit the accelerator in subsequent installments On final comment that probably affected my feelings about this book I recently read an incredibly powerful short story called Ponies A Tor.Com Original that covered many of the themes in this book That story was only TWO PAGES long and yet conveyed a MUCH MORE POWERFUL message Just my opine 2.0 to 2.5 stars. Nope, couldn t finish it Sigh I thought I was going to like this one It started off fine and all And then everything fell apart Yes, that dramatic.Am I the only one who was deeply offended by this piece of crap This book is wrong, wrong, wrong.The writing itself isn t particularly well, isn t anything really But this is supposed to be a book about beauty with a big B and the writing doesn t do justice to the theme I d even call it Ugly The characters are stereotyped Tally is a brainwashed moron Okay, she was raised to believe the ideology of her country but she cannot think by herself She wonders whether to betray the Smoke, the rebellious uglies, and you know what helps her make the right decision A boy Woohoo, thank God he was there, with his adorable crooked smile, his sweet kisses, and his handmade leather shoes, otherwise I really would have thought that she was an immoral bitch This also means that the fate of an entire city depends of the hormonal state of our young hero DUDE The boy himself is phew, of course he thinks Tally is beautiful, special, strong, smart, unlike anyone else when she is, in fact, so flat that I could surf on her back In fact, she s the only one who truly understands Pleaaaaaase He was raised to be a very careful, and independent thinker, but he falls for the first pair of boobs he encounters and turns out to be a spy Good job.Shay was the best character until Westerfeld reduced her to some stupid, vapid girl She, who expressed interesting and deep as much deep as this book can be thoughts became a giggling, na ve, brainless chick whose only interest is, of course, the boy with the handmade leather shoes.Anyway, let s move on to the real problem The content has almost nothing to do with the premise The book is full of ecologist propaganda Westerfeld keeps telling us how bad, bad, BAD things we, humans, are He calls our generation the Rusties Isn t that nice He criticizes everything we do Oh, wait, no, he praises the invention of the Roller Coaster We re bad because we use metal, we re bad because we re savages who eat animals and because we killed every living thing Well apparently not, because there are a lot of forests and flowers despite our destructive frenzy.I was going to quote some passages but the words are so offensive I just can t We re freaks, we re ugly, and we re wrong This must not be the message intended but it s all I got from this book It s like Westerfeld wants us to go back to some primitive way of life He doesn t criticize our mistakes, he condemns progress He s not warning us, he s trying to shove his dogma down our throats He s telling us I m right, you should believe me, because I detain the truth I deeply love nature and also fear for its future, but I want to believe that mankind has an equal capacity for creation and destruction, for beauty and ugliness, for right and wrong It s depressing to read about how hopeless we are Westerfeld lacks delicacy, neutrality He s not objective Nature, at least, didn t need an operation to be beautiful It just was How about us Aren t we part of nature Aren t we beautiful, then, the way we are For Westerfeld, this is Nature versus Mankind He takes us apart from it, he draws a line between the Earth and our species I believe that everything that lives on Earth is connected, that we re a part of a whole If you really want to write about nature and man, you shouldn t make them opposite Instead, look for what makes us part of the earth, what connects us to the rest of the world, the plants, the animals We are a part of this planet, we are nature and culture I believe that it is where lies the true beauty of our condition I want to believe that some of us can see that, that we will realize how important nature is, not because it just feeds us or that flowers are pretty, but because we are one with it.The plot itself is weak I don t understand what the real issue of the book is The government doesn t look threatening I didn t feel the pressure I felt in The Hunger Games, for example I I don t understand what the Smokies are doing, what is their purpose, I have no empathy for them or any of the characters Everything is very confusing Westerfeld wants to talk about free thinking, nature, man, beauty, but he doesn t do it well.Also, I may not be an expert about economics but it seems to me that without a financial system, a country cannot work In the Pretties society, no one pays for anything, and Tally is shocked when she learns that at the Smoke, people have to give to receive So, yeah, it made me frown. In a world of extreme beauty, anyone normal is uglyIn Tally Youngblood s society, everyone obtains absolute physical perfection the perfect skin, hair, eyes, literally everything At least, after you turn sixteen and undergo the right operations.Tally, at age 15, is an Ugly right now but after her birthday, she will get to become Pretty She can then move out of the Ugly Dorms and into New Pretty Town It s all she wants.After all, who in their right mind would choose to remain Ugly All she has to do is wait to turn 16 With all of Tally s friends already Pretty and living in New Pretty Town, it s shaping up to be a very long, boring summer.Enter Shay, another Ugly, who Tally meets during one particularly wicked trick Tally grabbed a bungee vest and dived off a Pretty building Shay has the same birthday as Tally and for a while the two of them spend all of their time togetherI want those perfect eyes and lips, and for everyone to look at me and gasp And for everyone who sees me to think Who s that and want to get to know me, and listen to what I say I d rather have something to sayThen, Shay comes to Tally with a wild story There are people, Smokies, who live outside of their city and would rather remain Ugly than turn Pretty It s absolutely insane by Tally s standards.A few days before their birthday, Shay takes off to find the Smokies, leaving Tally to go through the operation along Only, on the day of the operationTally finds herself barred She must lead the Specials aka Special Circumstances, aka the police task force to the Smokies or she will never turn Pretty.So, armed with nothing but dehydrated food, water purifier, hover board and a sleeping bag she sets off to become the Judas Goat She s waited all her life to become Pretty there s no way she wants to be stuck with her Ugliness forever Only, along the way she finds friends in unexpected places, she learns things about herself that she never thought possible and discovers something far horrifying about the Pretties than she could ever have imagined Your personality the real you inside was the price of beautyAnd the overconfident Specials are going to get than they bargained forMaybe they didn t want you to realize that every civilization has its weakness There s always one thing we depend on And if someone takes it away all that s left is some story in a history classRereading this one as an adult really made this one pop in my mind It definitely passed the test of time.The only thing that bugged me was that this one did manifest one of my pet peeves Namely, the tension is motivated and maintained by people keeping secrets It s just why can t they communicate Oh yeah, it s cause then there wouldn t be anything to drive the plot any Audiobook CommentsWell read by Emma Tremaine The guy voices sounded a bit weak but it was still a great one to listen to Blog Instagram Twitter I ve only seen one episode of The Twilight Zone In this episode, a woman undergoes a battery of surgeries to look normal At the end of the episode, viewers learn that this latest surgery has failed the woman is still hideous Except that to the audience she is beautiful Online research led me to another episode where teenagers are surgically altered to live longer and conform to a unified standard of beauty based on a limited number of acceptable models Uglies, Scott Westerfeld s dystopic novel, plays similar games of perception.The novel starts with Tally Youngblood a fifteen year old girl desperately waiting for her sixteenth birthday when she will be reunited with her best friend and, importantly, when she will finally be pretty Uglies is set in the distant future after a mysterious global catastrophe precipitated changes to the foundations of what readers would call modern society Fearful of war and violence cities now operate as independent states think Renaissance Italy as opposed to contemporary Italy Isolated and self sufficient, the cities have agreed to certain standards for the greater good.New technology ensures that citizens never want for food or luxury items, weapons of any kind are largely illegal, and at the age of sixteen everyone undergoes a series of extreme surgeries to better conform to societal standards of beauty The logic being that, since humans are preconditioned to respond to certain visual cues in each other already big eyes are non threatening, a clear complexion and good teeth indicate that a person is healthy , applying these beauty standards will reduce conflict and create a harmonious society.But in a world where everyone is movie star gorgeous oldies like Rudolph Valentino and Greta Garbo are considered natural pretties , normal people are so not pretty In short, they re ugly.Things change for Tally when she meets Shay, another Ugly girl, who wants to run away before the operation to a place called The Smoke where people can live like Rusties that would be us basically in the wilderness without any surgery As the novel progresses, and Special Circumstances a government agency coerces Tally into finding The Smoke for them, Tally is forced to choose what means friendship or beauty As the plot might suggest, this is a science fiction novel Just to be clear, the real difference between sci fi and fantasy is that the technology in science fiction novels could conceivably work if someone ever built it dragons, most likely, are never going to be genetically engineered so they re a good indicator of a fantasy novel At times this leads to explanation of, say, hoverboard mechanics in the novel than is strictly necessary to the plot but the rest of the book makes up for this small shortcoming.What makes Uglies great, besides how it looks at cultural values, is Westerfeld s use of language The novel is not pretentious or brash Instead, Westerfeld creates a narrative voice that is really unique especially for a sweeping sci fi saga like the Uglies trilogy The novel opens with Tally observing that The early summer sky was the color of cat vomit That is not, it is fair to say, a typical opening for any novel Yet Westerfeld moves from that observation seamlessly into the story.This book is the first in the Uglies trilogy followed by Pretties and Specials which focuses on Tally and her city The scope of each book can largely stand alone, but to get the full story it s best to read the entire trilogy Additionally, Westerfeld released a companion book to the trilogy last year called Extras which is set a few years after the trilogy with different main characters Uglies is simultaneously funny and frightening, showing how overvalued beauty can be while illustrating how Tally s world has been conditioned to believe there s no other way to live The sections where Westerfeld describes the Rusty Ruins and the end of that era are particularly haunting and eerily reminiscent of the History Channel s recent documentary Life After People.Sci fi book discussions often bring up a writer s world building in reference to how well a writer creates their alternate universe Westerfeld s world is built really well The cities have their own culture, the characters their own slang, but Westerfeld manages to bring in enough references to our own contemporary culture that it s easy for readers to believe Tally s world is built on the ruins of our own.You can find this review and on my blog Miss Print Do you know that feeling, when you really want to punch a character in the face Well, Tally Youngblood, you must be grateful that I can t see your face.Now I should stop the rant the book itself was a quick read, but I don t get the hype Enjoyable, yes Good, not that much I m not really sure if I ll ever finish this series Maybe one day if I m actually bored. Uglies Uglies, 1 , 2005, Scott WesterfeldUglies is a 2005 science fiction novel by Scott Westerfeld It is set in a future post scarcity dystopian world in which everyone is considered an ugly , but then turned Pretty by extreme cosmetic surgery when they reach the age 16 It tells the story of teenager Tally Young blood who rebels against society s enforced conformity, after her newfound friends Shay and David show her the downsides to becoming a Pretty 2016 1393 97860062255555 9786006225562 448 21 I remember my initial disappointment when Scott Westerfeld switched from adult sf to YA fiction How could he do this to me I liked his books, but I don t wanna read a dopey YA novel I d read in an interview that it was mostly a financial decision the YA market has exploded, and that s where the money is right now How can you fault a guy for trying to make a living As a junior high Language Arts teacher, it s impossible not to notice that Westerfeld s first YA series has done extremely well I guess it s time I checked it out for myself.Well, after the first section of the novel, I can understand why Uglies has been a hit with the YA crowd it s a fun, easy read While Westerfeld hasn t completely dumbed down his writing, it is certainly much accessible than his adult novels Tally is a likeable teenager that the readers will identify with, and her plights are standard ones, considering the world she inhabits.Yes, it takes some suspension of disbelief to accept the premise that all people are given massive plastic surgery and made pretty at the age of 16 But if you are willing to accept the premise, the rest of the world makes sense Tally wants to be pretty, as do all teens in this world But she s a mischievous girl and loves to play pranks and pull tricks When she meets up with Shay, a fellow prankster, her world is turned upside down Shay introduces her to a world where people don t consider being pretty the ultimate goal, and when Shay runs away, choosing NOT to be made pretty, Tally is led down a road that will completely alter how she sees herself and the world around her.Westerfeld has created a good old fashioned coming of age tale in a sf world Sure it s a YA novel, but that s ok We need to create another generation of sf readers It might be a bit of an easy read for a sophisticated ie old reader like myself, but it was still enjoyable The book is in fact the first of a trilogy, but it is possible to read the first novel by itself Sure, the story continues, but Westerfeld does give the first book a sense of closure I think the YA market is lucky to have Westerfeld I hope he continues to have great success And maybe someday, he ll write adult novels for his growing legion of YA fans. Tally Is About To Turn Sixteen, And She Can T Wait In Just A Few Weeks She Ll Have The Operation That Will Turn Her From A Repellent Ugly Into A Stunning Pretty And As A Pretty, She Ll Be Catapulted Into A High Tech Paradise Where Her Only Job Is To Have FunBut Tally S New Friend Shay Isn T Sure She Wants To Become A Pretty When Shay Runs Away, Tally Learns About A Whole New Side Of The Pretty World And It Isn T Very Pretty The Authorities Offer Tally A Choice Find Her Friend And Turn Her In, Or Never Turn Pretty At All Tally S Choice Will Change Her World Forever Three hundred years after an apocalyptic sized disaster that reshaped the world, Tally is about to turn 16 and pretty In her contained, isolated, self sufficient city just like all the other contained, isolated, self sufficient cities the operation to make her pretty will be intensive, extreme and, as far as she and everyone else alive is concerned, absolutely worth it Once she s pretty, she ll go to live across the river in New Pretty Town and party the nights away, loved by all.It s a shock to her, then, to find that her friend Shay doesn t want to be pretty, and doesn t think she s ugly now Of course she s ugly everyone s ugly before the operation But Shay runs away to the mysterious, secretive Smoke where her friend David awaits, leaving Tally a set of cryptic directions in case she changes her mind and decides to go too But Tally has no intention of running away turning pretty is all she wants, so she can be with her friend Peris again across the river, and be noticed and listened to because beautiful people cannot be ignored.But on the day of her own operation, she is taken instead to Special Circumstances, where cruel pretties with lethal reflexes bring her to Dr Cable They want to know about Shay and the Smoke and where it is located, but Tally keeps her promise not to tell Even when Dr Cable tells her she won t get the operation and be turned pretty until she does what they ask, she does not yield Not until Peris unexpectedly visits her in Uglyville, and reminds her of the promise she made him, that she would be with him again, a promise that predates the one she made Shay Latching onto this ray of hope for she doesn t want to stay ugly the rest of her life Tally is sent to spy for Special Circumstances and give them the location of the Smoke by sending a transmission via a heart pendant given her by Dr Cable.When she arrives, though, it s not that simple Yes, the people are all ugly, and that takes a while to get used to But there s something else about them, something sharp and clear at odds with the vacuousness of all the pretties she s ever known, including her own parents And then there s David, who was born in the Smoke and is definitely not pretty but who teaches her that she s beautiful because of who she is, not what she looks like.I really enjoyed this book It reminded me a lot of Isobelle Carmody s books, her heroines especially, and also Ellie from John Marsden s Tomorrow series, and a host of others She s a quick thinker, afraid yet brave, resourceful and caring, faced with a choice no one at sixteen would want to have to make The writing style is clear and descriptive without wasting a word, the characters deftly portrayed While the themes and messages of the book may not be subtle nor are they meant to be, since we re talking about the structure of their world here there are depths to the concept, and nothing s black and white There are also little digs about our own lifestyle we are the Rusties in the book because what s left of our cities are just rusty ruins , about how we clear fell forests and waste resources and genetically modify plants The entire concept could have fallen flat on its face for being too contrived and as superficial as the operation itself, but Westerfeld holds it all together with a great heroine in Tally, a dark sci fi underworld beneath the glitter and party fun, and an examination into what price we really want to pay for the things we hold most dear. Parts of it I m obsessed with, other parts I think I m a little too old for That said, here I am picking up another teen fiction I am in denial I ll be 60 and still reading teen fictions.
Scott Westerfeld is a New York Times bestselling author of YA He was born in the Texas and now lives in Sydney and New York City In 2001, Westerfeld married fellow author Justine Larbalestier.He is best known for the Uglies and Leviathan series His next book, IMPOSTORS, returns to the world of Uglies It comes out September 11, 2018.
- 425 pages
- Scott Westerfeld
- 09 June 2019 Scott Westerfeld