Friday, June 25, 2010

Book Review: Pretties by Scott Westerfeld

Pretties - Scott Westerfeld

It has been months since Tally Youngblood returned to New Pretty Town, and underwent the operation that changed her from an ugly into a pretty.
Since then, she has been reunited with her old friends Peris and Shay, and been introduced to an exclusive clique named the Crims, whose main prerequisite for joining is having completed daring feats as uglies. With Tally’s tricky experiences far outweighing those of her fellow pretties, she has more than earned the right to join the gang, under the leadership of the handsome Zane.
But while she is happy to be incredibly attractive, have fabulous clothes, and a large group of friends, Tally can’t help but feel that something is missing.
When Tally runs into an ugly from her past, she rediscovers the truth about the operation and New Pretty Town, which the operation has partially erased from her memory. As her memories return, she is determined to have her old, clear-headed life back.
But first she has to combat her guilt after remembering her betrayal of the Smokies, find the New Smokies hideout, and convince the Crims that leaving the city is the best thing that they will ever do in their entire lives.
However, doing that while keeping the elite Special Circumstances team from learning of her plans is easier said than done…

What I gained from reading this book:
In this novel, Tally encounters people from various ‘cultures’, and she has to learn to adapt to their ways of life- rather than the comforts she is used to- in order to survive.
Having lived as a Smokey with David and the rest of the runaway community, Tally has had some experience in living in the wild and surviving from the land.
But when she comes across a group of people who seem to have escaped from the sights of Special Circumstances, she discovers that her life with the Smokies was far more urban than she imagined. The villagers of the place she discovers are primitive in their beliefs and theories, live in a blood feud with other outsiders, and see the pretties as Gods who must be obeyed otherwise harm will befall them. This is in stark contrast to the Smokies, who, while in awe of the beauty of the pretties, certainly don’t deify them, and have never engaged in murder for the sake of avenging people killed in the past.
While this kind of situation is not prevalent in today’s society, similar circumstances have played out in the past, in the form of one ‘superior’ race of people exerting their authority over another’s. This has also occurred in third-world countries where people from more well-off countries have challenged people’s primitive beliefs, and attempted to treat them as test-subjects for various anthropological studies.

The action scenes in this novel are more intense, as Tally fights to remember what she once learnt, and tries to regain what she has lost in her new life as a pretty. As a pretty, Tally gets involved in even more dangerous stunts than when she was an ugly, and readers who enjoyed the action last time will be even more impressed this time around.

Pretty language can become quite annoying at times, even if it is representative of the vacant-mindedness of the pretties. Readers will probably get sick of reading words like bubbly and bogus, and will get annoyed at seeing –missing and –making tacked on to normal words, turning them into phrases that the pretties would use.

Rating: 7 out of 10

Genre: Teenage Fiction

Recommended for: People eager to see the cliffhanger from the first Uglies book resolved.

Australians can buy the book by clicking the picture below:


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