Thursday, June 15, 2006

Feeling Special

I finished Scott Westerfeld's Specials earlier this week. It's the third book in his Uglies trilogy.

At first I really liked it. I liked the way all three books were written from the same character's point of view, but in each book she is quite different (and yet the same) because of the surgery she has had to make her "pretty" or "special." But Specials has more of the preachy environmentalism that marred the first book. And, remember, I actually like environmentalism. He was preaching to the choir as far as I'm concerned, and I still felt that his message was distracting and intrusive.

The last few chapters of the book cover a major event in a very rushed manner, too. In order to get through it, there's a great deal of telling, though the drama of the situation could have made for a lot of great scenes. Maybe even a fourth book.

Specials has a comic book superhero quality, though, that I actually liked. (Though last two pages went a little too Batmanish for my taste.) And the book holds some surprises. I never suspected the location of the New Smoke, for instance.

Scott Westerfeld was all over the May issue of Locus that I keep talking about. Everyone was mentioning him. Gary K. Wolfe did quite a lengthy analysis of the Uglies Trilogy in his Locus Looks at Books column. In his discussion of Uglies, itself, he talks about other sci-fi titles related to beauty.


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