Specials Review



by Scott Westerfeld

Summary: "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 super-amped 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.

Review: I gave this 2 out of 5 stars.

I’m so glad to be done with this series. I loved Uglies and couldn’t wait to continue the series. Pretties was okay, but I gave it a higher rating because I was hoping the 3rd book would be worth all the ridiculous pretty speak.

The truth is… I didn’t care for Specials.

When I finished Uglies, I guess I thought the plot would go differently. I was anxious to see more of this world and more of the messed up government and see what all the Smoke accomplishes.

Pretties took 20 steps backward from Uglies and only about 3 steps forward. It wasn’t until the end of the 2nd book that anything really happened. And then Specials took another 20 steps back again. The only reason the plot (outside of Tally) moved forward was because of everyone BUT Tally and Shay. And we don’t get to read about it because the books are from Tally’s point of view! 

After going through the ridiculous charade of having Tally turned into a Pretty in book 2 and then spending the majority of the book trying to be cured and remember her past and realize that’s why she felt so conflicted, I was hoping Specials would be better. But it started just like Pretties. Except Tally was a Special now, and it took her 3/4 of the book to remember her past AGAIN. In both Uglies and Pretties, I was trying to be sympathetic to Tally because I realize that being brainwashed for 16 years has to have some effect on the brain and your choices and then being operated on obviously adds a lot to that as well. But, come on.

I’m so tired of reading about Tally’s struggle within herself to do the right thing, so tired of Shay being the completely wrong influence, tired of the way Tally’s guilt always makes her obey Shay… it’s just too much.

And above all, I’m tired of the way these people talk. I mentioned the pretty talk in my Pretties review and how everything was bubbly and pretty-making. I thought because Tally was turned into a supposedly clear headed Special that the talk would end, but it didn’t. Now everything is ICY. Are you serious? Can we just stop with the retarded speak? I couldn’t wait to finish this and just have it be over.

I still think the concept is extremely interesting. I still think the story line is compelling. But I would have rather read this story from a 3rd party point of view. While these books are written in 3rd person, it’s still from Tally’s point of view. I wish that Westerfeld would have written as an objective narrator. I would have enjoyed seeing how things played out as a whole. Tally was annoying to read through. While I normally enjoy unreliable narrators, Tally was such a mess that I just couldn’t take hearing about her internal struggle anymore, especially when I, as the reader, already know what the right answer is and I already know what she has to do to fix herself. So watching her take a hundred or two hundred pages figuring that out is painful.

Had I not been so fed up with Tally, I would have enjoyed the ending a lot. It was a marvelous ending. But I guess I just didn’t trust Tally anymore. I don’t like her, I don’t think she’s strong enough to be herself, and I don’t think she’s ever really known who she was. So I didn’t believe the ending, I guess that’s the right way to put it.

I wanted to like this series. I’m just glad it’s over.