22 February 2010
Book Review: Uglies
Author: Scot Westerfeld
Published: 2005 Pages: 425
Genre: YAL, Dystopian Lit
Buy | Borrow | Accept | Avoid
Tally wants nothing more than to become a Pretty, and in just a few short weeks, on her 16th birthday, she will get her wish. Her friend Peris has already turned, and when Tally illegally goes to see him in New Pretty Town, she ends up meeting Shah, someone who is still an Ugly, someone who isn't sure she wants to be a Pretty.
When Shay runs away, Tally is forced to make a choice. Betray her friend or remain an Ugly forever. Tally's choice changes everything...
I think I read too many rave reviews prior to reading this book to really experience it the way it was meant to be experienced. Wow, that was a convoluted sentence, but in my defense, I'm on vacation and my brain has been fuzzed out by Malibu Rum and Pineapple Juice drinks, sun, and all over laziness.
I agree with the lessons presented - beauty should not be the ultimate goal, we need to be more eco-friendly, conformity leads to control, etc. - however, I, at times, felt like the plot revolved around these themes rather than driving the themes. Sometimes the characters would say something that seemed a bit forced, a sentence to teach the reader something rather than words which would naturally be uttered in that particular circumstance.
The dystopian society presented is rather underdeveloped in this book. We know that a major cosmetic operation is undergone on the 16th birthday to turn normal people into "Pretties", symmetrical beings who embody all of the details that make one attractive, including skin removal and regeneration, bone shaving and padding, reconstruction, liposuction, eyeball modification, and on and on. We also know a bit about the aging of the Pretties, but the details are quite lacking. I'm hoping more will be discovered in the next book of the series.
I will say, however, that I read this in one afternoon between laying out in the sun, walks on the beach, some touristy shopping, and dinner. The plot is quick enough and interesting enough that reading is no real effort, and even though much of the plot is predictable, you still want to keep reading to see what happens next.
While not the stupendous story I was expecting, Uglies is still an interesting read that whetted my appetite for the remaining three books in the series.
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