Fantasy Realms

Explore the realms of fantasy, from Alagaesia to Middle-Earth, from Coruscant to Tortall and beyond!

Friday, September 02, 2005


Title: Uglies
Author: Scott Westerfeld
Pages: 448
Price: $6.99

“The early summer sky was the color of cat vomit.”
When a story begins with a sentence like that, you know it has to be interesting. Tally Youngblood is waiting for her sixteenth birthday. No, not for her driver’s license. She wants to turn Pretty. In this futuristic world, everyone turns Pretty. They get to choose how they look, what they do to their face, skin, hair. It’s a full-body makeover, plastic surgery to the extreme. It’s perfect! New Pretties live in…New Pretty Town, where they party all day and all night, the perfect life for perfect people.
As in every society, there are rebels. The ones who – for some strange reason – want to stay Ugly. Tally’s new friend Shay is one of them. Shay leaves soon before her 16th birthday, wanting to take Tally, but leaving a message just in case. Then, a branch of authority thought to be a fairy tale approaches Tally with a choice: Follow Shay and betray the rebels, or never turn Pretty.

I spent days searching down this book, from the first time I saw it in the library’s “New Books” review section. Since then, I’ve read “So Yesterday,” “Midnighters” (The Secret Hour and Touching Darkness), and have “The Risen Empire” on hold at the same library. I don’t have the actual book with me, because my friend borrowed it, then her older sister borrowed it, and it has yet to make its way back to me. A book this good, to make followers out of everyone near it, has to have my highest praise. (I only lent it to my friend on conditions that “You cannot bend the cover, hurt the pages, or get any spots on it. If you do, I will hurt you.”)

What makes it so good? The characters are involved in the plot. The villains are believable while inhumanely cruel. The plot has meaning. A plot with meaning does more for a book, in my opinion, than flashy covers, multimedia news coverage, or movie-making status. The writing is lively and funny, and the ending…is the worlds’ biggest cliffhanger. If you buy this book, be prepared to spend money on its future sequel, Pretties (which you can pre-order at Amazon).

Tally, the main character, is interesting. She keeps her personality, which is extremely important and all too rare in so many books these days. You know what she’s thinking, you would make the same mistakes she did, you want her to succeed. You know her like you know your friends. She doesn’t fade off into some being with no emotions. I can think of several major novels in which the characters stop being characters and become the narrator. She doesn’t fall into that hole.

Is anyone interested in links to certain authors? Reviews of certain books? I have an extensive collection of fantasy/sci-fi author links, which I'll be adding to the links on the side of this blog. Y'know, over there ----> ---->


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