Series: Uglies #2Possible spoilers for those who haven't read Book One.
Publisher: Simon and Schuster Children's Publishing
Source: School library
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. Then a message from Tally's ugly past arrives. Reading it, Tally remembers what's wrong with pretty life, and the fun stops cold. Now she has to choose between fighting to forget what she knows and fighting for her life -- because the authorities don't intend to let anyone with this information survive.
OK, I think I can safely say that this series is getting progressively worse. Uglies started out relatively creative, rather interesting, and quite original. If you read my review of Uglies, you'll know I thought that the story went steadily downhill after the initial concept and originality of the 'pretty' procedure and this seemingly-utopian society wore off. Trust me in saying that you don't really want to read Pretties if you thought Uglies was a so-so read, because you'll definitely be disappointed.
Pretties suffers from severe middle-book syndrome. It's that awkward novel that doesn't seem to have much purpose, and I have to say it feels as though Westerfeld was just stretching the plot arc out so that he'd have a trilogy on his hands. Unlike, say, Insurgent, where the novel was very interesting in terms of character development, Pretties was just the average semi-entertaining YA read, although flimsy, mildly annoying, and rather lame.
Firstly, let's get the love triangle out of the way. Ugh, the love triangle. For a series that didn't start out too romance-based, it got far too heavy in Pretties. Zane and David--and needless to say, I, as usual, did not root for either--were both rather annoying for me. Zane was shallow, lame (much like the novel), and brain damaged, and I never formed an emotional connection with David during the first book, so he was pretty much out of the question. I don't know whether the author was trying to make readers pick 'teams' to create hype for his book as so many YA authors seem to do these days, but it didn't work at all. In fact, I actually ended up hating Zane so much I thought David seemed okay in comparison.
Secondly, I am sick of the words 'bubbly' and 'bogus'. Yes, I get that the author is trying to take us into the minds of annoying pretties. But that is secondary to readers getting actual brain damage from overt headdesking, and I have to say that I was getting dangerously close. For the love of food, enough was enough. If I wasn't dead-set on actually finishing my first dystopian trilogy, I would've quit just because of the Pretty slang-abuse. Honestly. However, this luckily tapered off a little as the story went on, so it was bearable towards the end.
Has anyone else mentioned the inconsistencies in Tally's character? Tally starts off knowing nothing about history in Uglies. She has no clue whatsoever. And all of a sudden, she's going on about the environment and the pre-Rusty era and oil-eating bacteria? Why? Why would a brain-damaged character suddenly know about all this? It just doesn't make sense.
The only redeeming feature of this story was action, the only thing I can safely say that Westerfeld can write, and even this story lacked that. Most of the story was spent within brain-damaged Tally's mind, which was intensely frustrating to read, and action scenes were few and far apart. Westerfeld is not the amazing sort of characterisation-novel author; he is obviously a YA action one, and he should be sticking to that.
Overall, Pretties wasn't a good read at all. With a combination of shallowness, inconsistencies, cliched love triangles, and annoying and deeply overused slang, it didn't meet the already-average standard set by Uglies. If you've already read it, keep going with Special since you're invested, but if you haven't started, think twice before reading it. There are many other good books out there, and you might not want to waste your time.