22 February 2010

Book Review: Uglies

Title:  Uglies
Author:  Scot Westerfeld
Published:  2005  Pages:  425
Genre:  YAL, Dystopian Lit

Buy  |  Borrow  |  Accept  |  Avoid

Plot Synopsis
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...

My Thoughts
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.

Other Reviews
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  1. I read so many rave reviews of this one that I added it to my list but wanted some of the descriptions to fade before I read it. Thanks for lowering my expectations :)

  2. The reputation precedes these books that is for sure. I've heard the first two are good, then it falters. I have yet to take the plunge. But it sounds like a great read for vacation!

  3. I think I'm in the same boat with you on this. It was interesting enough, but I didn't quite think it lived up to all the hype it seems to get. I enjoyed the book enough to finish it, but not enough to want to run out and grab the next in the series. But then, if the next crossed my path, I'd probably grab it just the same. LOL.

  4. Hmmmmm... I went ahead and got these books as everyone was going on and on about them and then I come across your review. But I suspect I'll get sucked in even if I don't LOVE it (like I did with the whole Hunger Games brouhaha). And if not, I'm not obligated to read them all.

  5. I think I may be the last person in blogdom not to read this book. It's on my someday list though, so good to know to expect a pleasant if not amazing read.

  6. Amanda - So many people did that at first I was convinced I was missing something. But I guess to each their own and the such not.

    Stacy - Hahaha! I don't think anyone has ever thanked me for lowering their expectations but I'm glad to help!

    Sandy - It was definitely a quick, easy vacation read.

    Megan - It is great to hear that I'm not the only one!

    Jenners - I'm still unsure of whether or not I'll continue the series; there are just sooo many books out there and I'm trying to be more selective.

    Nicole - That is a wonderful description: pleasant if not amazing read. Definitely how I felt about it.

  7. I really liked this one -- but I still haven't read Pretties! Thanks for the link!

  8. Beth F - Not a problem! I'm holding off on Pretties until I see some more reviews on it.

  9. I think you should give Pretties a try. It was my favorite in the series. I did a review on my site but it's a general one for the whole series.


  10. I was apathetic about this one. I went on to read the second book but put it down not even a hundred pages in--I hated it!!


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