Over the last month I’ve read all four books of the Uglies Trilogy (?). The books in this series are Uglies, Pretties, Specials and Extras. I plan on including my individual reviews of these books at the end of this short introduction, but I have a few observations to make about the series as a whole.
First I’ll start by saying that the series was very readable … in fact, almost too much so. It was written simply, and parts got quite a bit annoying with the slang thrown about. Think about reading a book and hearing “dude” “totally awesome” “groovy” over and over throughout the story. That was what it was like for me everytime someone talked about being “bubbly” or “icy”. A little too over the top.
I have more to say, and I’ll be including it in italics at the end of this post. WARNING: There will be spoilers in what I have to say, so read at your own risk.
I blazed through this book in about 2 1/2 hours. Once I started reading I was immediately sucked into a fantastic world of hovercrafts, dried foods and the adventures of a “Bad girl”. So why didn’t I give it four, or even five stars?
A few things. First, you can definitely tell that this book is written for young adults. Even more so than other young adult novels out there. It’s simplistic and full of moral preaching. “Don’t judge a book by its cover” and “Don’t pollute” being two of the biggest messages being told. There’s arguments for (or against, if you take the Pretties side) eating meat, thinking for oneself, etc. It’s almost overwhelming and makes the story a bit less enjoyable for me, so.. take away one star.
The second is the quick resolution. Seriously? Just.. boom, a confession and then everything gets turned around? It just felt all too neat and tidy. So much so, it feels like the cliffhanger at the end is more like.. a downwardhill-hanger. Sure, I’m interested in getting to the bottom of the story, but I’m not propelled to the next book like I was for say, the Harry Potter books or The Hunger Games novels.
Is this a bad book though? Not at all! It’s an enjoyable, fun read with lots of adventure, interesting characters and a vibrant world. Just nothing I feel like I need to run out and by like the other books I’ve mentioned.
Not a big fan of this second installment of the Uglies series. Unfortunately the entire book made me feel as if I was listening in on the stereotypical cheerleader group. All the “bubbly” was overwhelming and I couldn’t stop rolling my eyes. It seemed dumbed down and severely over-simplified.
I really hope Specials has something more to offer. Pretties didn’t have the same amusement factor as Uglies and it really should have kept the momentum going throughout the book – not just the last portion of the story
Specials was, in my opinion, the best of the trilogy. But the things bugged me in the first two books continued to bug me here.
I spoke to my 17 year old sister about the trilogy fairly recently. She called it “over-rated”. It’s easy to see why kids would gobble up the story. Rebellion, lots of action, a strange world (and an incredible one, I found myself wishing for a hoverboard more than once). So why did she call it over-rated?
While not as bad as the Twilight saga, the series still seems a bit more juvenile and simple than the Harry Potter series, or Hunger Games (I know, I know.. I talk about these a bit). Even the Eragon series had more substance to it. Instead, with these books I felt like skated along the surface of a story. I don’t know how else to explain it other than saying it felt a bit like “fluff” to me.
Entertaining? Definitely. And yes, I’d recommend it to teenagers – especially those that don’t enjoy a lot of reading and have a harder time getting into the more heavy books.
I’ve still got Extras to read and will be interested to see if it carries on the pattern. Oddly enough, I really enjoyed Westerfeld’s Leviathan and I’d rate it over this series any day.
Nothing particularly new here from the other books – I did have hope though, the first half of the book was different and unique and I was enjoying the arc.
It felt like halfway through though Westerfeld copped out by giving Aya “permission” to break the story. The story could have gone in a completely different arc and redeemed what the issue had been with the trilogy, but he decided to go the same path – predictably so.
Not a bad read, just a tad disappointed.
—————————– SPOILER ALERT——————————–
The other thing I wanted to mention was that my biggest issue with the book is that Tally always gets what she doesn’t want. Normally this wouldn’t bug me, but in a book teaching that pretty isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, why is Tally made pretty? In a book where the Specials are an elitist society within the society, why is Tally made into one? For all his speaking out against the inane silliness of being popular, of looking just right, of fitting in, Westerfeld doesn’t practice this with his main character. She would have been much stronger of a character, in my opinion, had she accepted her “ugly” self – much like David did. But, this didn’t happen. Perhaps this won’t bug you as much as it bugged me.