Sunday, April 27, 2008

Uglies by Scott Westerfeld (3/5 stars)

This is the first book in the Uglies Trilogy by Scott Westerfield. The book follows Tally and Shay, two Uglies who are waiting to turn 16 so that they can get their operations and become Pretties. Pretties are all beautiful and get to live in New Pretty City where life is a party and beautiful all of the time. Everyone becomes a Pretty when they turn 16 without exception. While Tally yearns to become a Pretty Shay wants to escape Uglyville to see what lies outside of the city. Shay is worried about the Pretty operation; what if more than just your appearance changes?

Does the above sound like a shallow premise for a story? Well it is kind of. Although it makes you think a little bit (and I mean a little bit) about what would happen if everyone was perfect and beautiful. Although the story really isn't about that and maybe if it talked more about that it might have some substance.

I realize being 30 I am not the main market for this young adult novel; but it seemed a like surfacey and overused material for me. I think even young girls reading it will figure out what is going by the first chapter of the book. In tone it reminded me a little (tiny) bit of the Tripods Trilogy by John Christopher; except with young girls, and it was all about being pretty and identical, and humans actually have it pretty darn good, and there was a little love story, and I guess it's been about 15 years since I read the Tripods so maybe it wasn't all that similar. I really think it had a similar tone to it though.

By the end of the book I am still not sure if people being turned Pretty is all that horrible. I think you were supposed to think it is the worst thing in the world but I wasn't all that convinced.

All the above being said. The book was simply written, easy to read, a very quick read, and entertaining enough that I finished it. Given all I have heard about these novels I already purchased the next two so...I will probably read the next book in the series even though I am not all that enamored with it. It gets 3 stars for an "It's okay, I guess". It didn't offend me but it didn't work my mind or thrill me either.

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