Uglies by Scott Westerfeld [Review]

Is it not good to make society full of beautiful people? – Yang Yuan, quoted in The New York Times

Free Uglies

About the Book

Tally is about to turn sixteen, and she can’t wait. Not for her license — for turning pretty. In Tally’s world, your sixteenth birthday brings an operation that turns you from a repellent ugly into a stunningly attractive pretty and catapults you into a high-tech paradise where your only job is to have a really great time. In just a few weeks Tally will be there.

But Tally’s new friend Shay isn’t sure she wants to be pretty. She’d rather risk life on the outside. When Shay runs away, Tally learns about a whole new side of the pretty world — and it isn’t very pretty. The authorities offer Tally the worst choice she can imagine: find her friend and turn her in, or never turn pretty at all. The choice Tally makes changes her world forever.

My Thoughts

This book has been on my radar for a while, almost since I started book blogging, but something has always held me back from reading the series, even when I discovered what a great writer Westerfeld is, I still wasn’t tempted. I think it’s because I had visions of a preachy “you don’t need to be beautiful…” kinda book. One of those horrible young adult novels I remember from school.

But when he posted about a free download of the ebook of Uglies to celebrate the launch of his next series, I just knew I had to give it a try.

I really should have known better, Westerfeld is not that sort of writer, Uglies, is set in a a great science fiction world, with brilliant characters and exciting action sequences, and much deeper philosophy, than you’d think going in.

Set an undisclosed amount of time in the future, the Uglies world is both recognisable and very strange, and with a level of control and spying on its inhabitants that would do any big brother government proud. Even so, Tally gets to play with some fantastic ‘toys’! 😀

“Of course, a hoverboard. What is it about those things and miscreants?” -Dr. Cable, Uglies

I should talk about the ‘Pretty’ speak that Tally and her friends either use or aspire to, it’s perfectly realised, so much so, in fact that it is damn annoying at times (it is meant to be), and I suspect my less than perfect tolerance for it, has more to do with my age than anything else 😉

I’ll be honest, while I really enjoyed the book, I didn’t quite enjoy it as much as The Midnighters or Peeps. Even so I still called in at my library to grab the rest of the series, before, I was even half-way through this one. A good job too, considering the cliff-hanger ending!

I’m already on the last book of the series, so keep your eyes open for a review of Pretties, the second book in the series over the next few days.

Before I sign off, I must give special mention to the opening line, one of the best I’ve come across this year! 😀

The early summer sky was the colour of cat vomit.

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18 thoughts on “Uglies by Scott Westerfeld [Review]

    • August 18 at 9:46 pm
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      Well, they’re all pretty good, but the Uglies series seems a bit more ‘stylised’ than the others.

  • August 16 at 2:03 pm
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    I’m kind of like you…this book has been on my radar for a very long time, but I’ve never taken the time to read it. I don’t know why either. It really is the sort of book that would totally appeal to me. Guess I’d better go grab a copy!!
    .-= Stephanie´s last blog ..My First Discworld Book!! (Buddy Read with Kailana!) =-.

  • August 16 at 2:05 pm
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    Thank you for linking! I have never read anything else by Scott Westerfeld. I’ve been meaning to read the rest of this series but the library here doesn’t have it. The one where I’m moving in a month does, though, so I’m excited to finish it ASAP!
    .-= Meghan´s last blog ..The Sunday Salon: Bookish Rambling =-.

    • August 18 at 9:45 pm
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      No problem! happy to share a bit of link love. :) I’d recommend Peeps/Parasite Positive as your next, one. Especially if you enjoy skin-crawlingly interesting facts woven in to your stories! 😉

    • August 18 at 9:47 pm
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      It’s looking good stuff so far, and I really need to get the last Midnighters as well.

  • August 17 at 2:12 am
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    I’m with you. This one has been on my radar pretty much since I started blogging as well! The only differece between the two of us is that I still haven’t read it, lol. Sounds good though. Come to think of it, I still haven’t read any Westerfeld except for the story in The Starry Rift which I absolutely loved!

    • August 18 at 9:51 pm
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      Well, get it downloaded to that iPhone of yours and get reading! 😀 (Just as soon as you’ve finished painting that is!)

  • August 18 at 2:02 am
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    I loved all the Uglies series (Pretties, Specials, Extras). They’re my favorites by him, and I love the language (although not as much as the young fans of his blog). My other favorite of his was So Yesterday. I don’t care for the vampire ones or the Midnighters. They don’t have the same sense of fun.
    .-= Jeanne´s last blog ..The Gone-Away World in paperback =-.

    • August 18 at 9:54 pm
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      I think, Midnighter’s is still going to be my favourite, but I really need to read Blue Noon and finish the series before making a final decision. :)

    • August 18 at 9:55 pm
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      I’d not really heard musch of him either, before I started blogging, I was aware he existed, but I’d never contemplated reading him. Really glad I did, though 😀

  • Pingback: Review: Pretties by Scott Westerfeld | Bart's Bookshelf

    • August 18 at 9:56 pm
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      It’s a brilliant idea, it’s going to drive people to look at his new book and guarantee extra sales of the rest of the Uglies series!

  • March 4 at 11:57 am
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    I love Uglies, Pretties and Specials. When I read the back cover on the book for the first time I thought it seemed strange and messy. But I gave it a chance and after just some few pages I loved the book. Scott writes in a way that makes everything even more fun and you never get bored of reading.

    I read the books in English first, and my english isn’t that good so it was hard for me, but when I read it in Swedish later it was so much better :)

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