I don’t really reread a lot of books and apart from Harry Potter I honestly don’t think I’ve reread an entire series ever. But when I found the audio books for this classic dystopian tale from my teenage years I decided to dive back in.
Book 1: Uglies
This is the book that gets all the points for reminiscence. For some reason the first book is always the one that sticks with me most (and quite often I have NO RECOLLECTION of how the series ends once I finish reading).
Setting up a civilization that divides people by Uglies (pre-16s and pre-operation), Pretties (post-operation), and Crumblies (take a wild guess), Westerfeld’s society revolves around an operation that turns people into the image of biological perfection on their 16th birthday.
But of course it is never how it seems and there are secrets and manipulation and conspiracies.
I truly enjoyed all the characters in this book and the plot line was intriguing but also kinda basic as a reread. This is very basic 2000s dystopia, the characters are a little flat and the writing style isn’t exciting.
Book 2: Pretties
And then my rereading experience started to go downhill. While I gave this book the same rating as Uglies, I didn’t enjoy it as much. Gone is the reminiscence because my poor memory is kicking in.
In this book the characters are just so… annoying. Tally is annoying, Shay is bitchy, even David (the original love-interest) is getting on my nerves.
This book did introduce Zane, which I still SWEAR is the superior love interest in the series. Fight me.
Book 3: Specials
You would think that I would love the book that is about the genetically engineered cruel people who run all the conspiracies.
But no. This was the most boring book in the series.
Maybe that is why I don’t even remember reading this one.
Book 4: Extras
Okay, let’s just be real.
This is not the final installment of the series like advertised. This is a spin-off book.
Don’t get me wrong, I like Extras better than Specials, but the entire book just feels out of place in the series.
I really appreciate the idea of expanding the world a little more in each book – which is really the focus of this book – but with a whole new crew of characters AND a new type of society just throws this book off too much.
So I was halfway through rereading the final book when WESTERFELD ANNOUNCED THAT HE WAS WRITING ANOTHER 4 UGLIES NOVELS.
It has been 12 YEARS since Extras was first published and now, out of the blue,after grudging through the series again and NOT enjoying it much as my formally-youthful self did: the series is suddenly not finished. What the actual heck?
Westerfeld has basically stated these will be like Extras, a futuristic version of the Uglies universe with what I’m guessing are unrelated characters. But, like in Extras, the old characters will apparently make a reappearance.
Ideally, I’m hoping for a sapphic remix of Extras with better writing (because world help me if Westerfeld’s writing is the same basic blandness that it was 12 years ago…)