Friday, 17 June 2011

Review: Pretties by Scott Westerfeld

Pretties (The Uglies)

Author: Scott Westerfeld
Series: #2 of The Uglies
Genre: Young Adult, Urban Fantasy, Dystopian,
Age restriction? Teens, 12+
Published:11 November 2008

Very promising beginning, but fell flat at the middle and just got worse and worse.

Description: Gorgeous. Popular. Perfect. Perfectly wrong.

Tally has finally become pretty. Now her looks are beyond perfect, her clothes are awesome, her boyfriend is totally hot, and she's completely popular. It's everything she's ever wanted.

But beneath all the fun -- the nonstop parties, the high-tech luxury, the total freedom -- is a nagging sense that something's wrong. Something important. 

REVIEW: When I started reading this book, I was like "YES! This is what I wanted Uglies to be! Thanks Scott!" Tally's unease in her new life, her nagging feeling that there's something more, something other than partying and being pretty all the time. Suddenly, Tally's shallow self-involved cowardice and dullness which so irritated me in the first book fit perfectly here, and together with the nebulous but unshakable knowledge that there's something more, that being "pretty" isn't everything, isn't all it's cracked up to be but her inability to put her finger on exactly what, serves to make her sympathetic to the max - with the understanding, of course, that she'll learn and grown and grow out of these things.


Sigh. Sadly not, it turns out.

For a long time I strongly felt that the beginning of this novel should have started the series. You actually care about the viewpoint character, you are shown the disconnect between what she knows subconsciously and what she is told to believe, you get sucked into her life and root for her all the time. Even her love for Zane would have made a great triangle once she got back with David.

However, I am very sorry to say, that is exactly where the problem came in. Suddenly, now that she's all prettied up, now she loves Zane more because, according to Tally, they had 'shared so much'. Sure, they did, and I like Zane a lot too, but David and Tally went through so much more and shared such a special connection that I came to the same conclusion that David did - she was sticking with Zane because he was pretty and he wasn't.

Further, the unconvincing use of anorexia to escape the City, the gratuitous physical mutilation and danger to achieve and maintain a sense of "realness" and release and the overall shallowness - it was all just a little too casual, just a bit too flip. The emotions, consequences and reality of these elements were just nowhere to be found, for me. Further further, the of the point of view character. Oh good grief. She never grows up, never learns anything other than how to make everything work out nicely for herself, never willingly sacrifices anything. No, with her it's all "what's in it for me?" and it frustrated the crap out of me.

I will not be reading the third book, as I'm sure I'll just be further frustrated. I was so hopeful when starting this book that it feels like an extra-large letdown that Tally remained the same shallow, heartless, power-hungry conformist that she always was.

I'll be reading the next book just to see if the flicker of character Tally finally showed in the last chapter will be realized, but I don't have much hope.


  1. I've heard so much about these series and I will admit I was wondering if I should read them. I am guessing not. All those things would annoy me too.

  2. Oh, sad to hear you didn't like it. I'm reading it right now. Been on my to-be-read list since it was published, so was about time.

    Now I'm afraid to continue. >_<

  3. Ah, I mean I'm reading the first book. Damn. Where's your review of the first one... *goes searching*

  4. Love your review, you gave me all the information I needed to decide if I wanted to read this or not. And the answer would be no! In pretty much all of the books I read, I can distinctly see the characters growing and evolving. If a character is not learning, growing, evolving, then it just ruins the book, makes it kind of pointless.
    Thanks for all of the great comments you left for me! You definitely need to read Karin Slaughter's books. The first book of the Grant County series is Blindsighted, so definitely start there. Now it's called the "Will Trent series" because it's not located in Grant County anymore, but they're all connected. I promise you'll love this series, such amazing characters and the author is just incredible!