Review Specials (Uglies #3)

Kamis, 22 Maret 2012

Specials (Uglies #3)

by Scott Westerfeld, Yunita Candra (Translator), Lulu Fitri Rahman (Editor), Tisa Anggriani (Proofreader)

Tally telah bergabung dengan Special Circumstances, aparat rahasia pemerintahan kota yang bertindak seperti militer. Mereka menjalani operasi yang menjadikan mereka “rupawan bengis,” rupawan namun mengerikan.

Bersama Shay dan kelompok Cutter, Tally memburu Smoke Baru. Sebagai anak emas Dr. Cable di Special Circumstances, mereka berusaha menghentikan upaya Smoke Baru mengobati kaum rupawan. Namun Tally merasa bimbang ketika Zane, pacarnya yang masih mengalami kerusakan otak, berbeda pendapat.

Tally kembali dihadapkan pada pilihan sulit, memilih pacar yang dicintainya tetap rupawan, atau memaksanya berubah menjadi spesial—seperti dirinya. Dan Tally tak pernah membayangkan pilihannya berujung pada masalah serius yang melibatkan kota lain, bahkan dunia.

Penerbit Matahari 2011

Beth: So I didn't like Tally as much in this book. Her personality has been altered by the "special" surgery, so she looks down on anyone who isn't "special" themselves. Part of the plot line is that she is supposed to overcome this, but I didn't feel she completely did.

Other things that marred my enjoyment of this story...
I hated the cutting aspect. Several times they talk about cutting, and how "Icy" it makes them feel. Eventually Tally quit, but only because it was repugnant to Zane, then because she told him she wouldn't. Am I wrong to feel a responsible writer of books for teenage girls would include a discussion of how harmful cutting can be?

This book is also accepting of behaviors I don't think are acceptable like underage drinking, and in the previous books, starving oneself and cohabitation at the age of sixteen. The people in these books seem to lack any sort of moral compass. The only issue where a strong "right or wrong" is expressed is the evil of war and damaging the environment. (view spoiler) So while the story was interesting, these issues distracted me enough that I just couldn't enjoy it.

Jess: Note: I am considering this book the finale of a trilogy, because Extras was an un-planned addition.
It is finally time for me to deal with Specials, the final book in the trilogy that began with
Uglies. I have put off this review for a couple of days, because I honestly dont know how I feel about this one.
I think the main problem for me, is the fact that Specials is the conclussion to a trilogy, yet it certainly did not seem that way when I was reading it. Allow me to explain:
The Hunger Games Trilogy: In both The Hunger Games and Catching Fire, Collins builds up the intensity, making it clear from the first moment who the good guys and bad guys are. She keeps us in suspence, and ends Catching Fire on such a note we are desperate get Mockingjay-eager to find out weather Katniss or The Capitol prevails, to find out how everything concludes. If she chooses Gale or Peeta? The point is, the first two books set up for an epic finale.
Chaos Walking Trilogy: Much the same, The Knife of Never Letting Go and The Ask and the Answer build up our excitement, desperate to see which side wins. Again, we know that Monsters of Men will finish everything in a breathtaking manner.
This comes to my problem with Specials. It does not seem like a grand finale to the trilogy, but more like any ordinary book. There was a beginning, a middle and an end. The major plot twist came half way through, as oppose to the previously mentioned finale's, when the beginning is book one, middle is book two and the end is book three. We know what to expect from #3, and know that so much is at stake.
Maybe this is the fault of Uglies and Pretties. Whilst very, very good, those two books did not build up our excitement enough, and the vibe of an exciting,fast conclusion is missing, and is instead replaced by a normal plot.
That is how I saw it anyway. I hope that makes sense. It does, at least in my mind.

Anyway, it was an enjoyable book, just not what I expected.
I found the major action scene in the armory a little hard to follow, and there were many paragraphs through out the book that I had to re-read, just to make sense of.
However, the last half of this book was excellent. It certainly had the trilogy-epic-finale feel about it.
The action was great, as was the descriptions and emotion. Especially, involving the death scene of a certain-character. In my opinion, the finale of all trilogies/series must have the death of an important character. Westerfield wrote that particular scene very well, and it felt very real-the characters reactions were amazingly believable.
Also, the final showdown with Dr. Cable was great. Very visual and well written. The action in this scene was fast-yet very clear. Infact, the second half of this novel was wonderful. Brilliantly paced and highly addictive. I stayed up until 3AM to finish it. Oh, and I really, really liked Shay in this book for some reason. Its not as good as Uglies, though its better then Pretties. Final mark: 3.5 stars

Bethany : What happened? It wasn't the greatest series I'd ever read but c'mon! Did they give him time? It was worse the the third movie sequel that shouldn't have had a second. Where do I begin with this train wreck? There wasn't one storyline that was wrapped up. The plot was thrown together so hastily and it left more holes (and was as deep as) an 80's John Hughes film. The ONE character I thought was interesting barely featured and fizzled out pathetically... so much potential! Also, the ending was the WORST! I mean, it didn't have to be happy- dystopia and all- I would have settled for a suicide in hopeless despair or a reconditioning to the status quo, but no! I think it was supposed to leave the reader hopeful but it was just stupid and wrong on all levels and did not make sense to the purpose of the entire series! The writing became too contrived and redundant and self-defeating and preachy and contradictory and redundant (did I say that?) and amateur and BAD. So disappointing!

JoLee: Even though I have The Host waiting for me, I just really had to find out what happened to Tally, Shay, David, and especially Zane. This book was a good conclusion to The Uglies Trilogy, but it didn't have the same magic Pretties held for me. What I really liked about the trilogy is that Tally is very different in every book, and I think Westerfeld handled those changes very convincingly. However, that's also what I didn't really like about Special. Tally was so changed in Specials, and I really missed the old Tally. I liked Tally, but not really because of who she was but because of who she had been and who she could become. But, at the end of the novel, I'm not sure she became the person I wanted her to be. I guess Tally's past and her potential future was probably why Zane still liked her too. Poor Zane. He was my favorite character. I'm sad about him.

Jen: Like most of the other reviewers, I'm dissatisfied with this third book, but can't come up with a concrete reason. I think the biggest reason is a lack of concrete character development for Tally's latest brain alteration. I felt she was just too inconsistent.

There are a slew of other minor reasons as well. Dr. Cable suddenly changes to an old woman. Tally is suddenly joined at the hip with David again. Zane's suddenly gone. Shay's suddenly all better and has mended her relationship with Tally on her own. There's also some weird correlation with brain lesions and leaving the environment alone. However, if a city decides to forego the brain lesions, they automatically start expanding their city and destroying the environment... and Tally's going to be there to stop them. I'm sorry, I seem to remember several hoverboards Tally left as trash somewhere in the wild. I doubt those things are biodegradable. And if saving the environment has been ingrained in these people their whole lives, then why would having normal brain function suddenly reverse the indoctrination? I'm pretty sure saving the environment would still be pretty important to them.

I was also expecting an explanation for why there are so many rusty skeletons in their cars. I understand there was a virus that destroyed fuel, which would cause cars to stop working. I just don't understand why rusties would remain in their unworking cars until they perish. Usually when a car dies, the driver extis the vehicle and looks for an alternate method of transportation, which occasionally includes walking. Tally points out several times that the rusties were so stupid that they stayed in their cars until they died. That just doesn't make sense, so I was waiting on an explanation that did.

Jenelle: Oh Scott! I am so so proud of you! Only 2 'purchases' in the whole book! Such an improvement: like you can think for yourself, like youre curing yourself of bogus making writing! Bravo.

Ok, as far as the series is concerned, this is where I'm abandoning ship. I held on this long in hope that somehow you would bring me around and show me how to like Tally, but it kind of went the opposite direction, you know?

Anyway, I'm stopping here because youve given me no reason to continue. The fourth book, though an afterthought, is where you could have rectified yourself, but instead you came up with a whole new story like a lame, sure-to-fail spinoff show, with special guest appearances from the former cast who are contractually obliged to lend their star power to improve ratings.
Also, I don't want this to be a repeat of Breaking Dawn or Mockingjay, where, as another reviewer pointed out, you can't 'unread' them but are left forever tainted. And those were series' I actually liked! Anyway, I'm not reading Extras.

So why didn't I like yours? Well, it's pretty simple really--your characters were shallow. Not just morally shallow, which was kind of the point (though none of them ever got over that particular symptom) but they were just flat. Wait, I take that back...Shay is an exception, but I still didn't like her.

Also, you left out half of the story. Too many things happened between books or 'offstage' so to speak. Major stuff too: like why she liked, no LOVED, Zane so much when there really wasnt very strong evidence. They were a couple after their first date and aside from the experience they went through together, there just isn't a lot of substance there. It seemed like a superficial relationship befitting their superficial looks. I expected that it would be awkward with David and take awhile to get them to reconnect, but I just couldn't figure out why she held the torch for Zane for so long. WAS it because he was pretty?--that was hinted at but you never told us definitively. Was it pity? That's even worse. Why did David still like her after everything? There wasn't much to go on there, either. Back in Uglies, it was a lot easier to see why they were together, but after that, it felt forced.

And you know, for all your talk about gender equality, your male characters were pretty wimpy. David was doing good at first, but then, with little about him in the next books, he was weakened because he wasnt part of the action. He had been the rebel leader and then became a nobody. Same with Zane--former rebel, still has a dangerous vibe, but the emo thing was kind of pathetic. After that, he was just a constant liability. What amazingly un-masculine men, er, boys, you've concocted here. Even the villain is a woman. Considering its the females who do all the damage, maybe thats the real gender message here.

Agreeing with Amy about all the cutting, thrill seeking, etc as inappropriate for a teen audience, but I think it would have been more acceptable if you just explained it better! Endorphins and all that. But very irresponsible
that you didn't.

And the alcohol, and anorexia, and constant surgeries were maybe even worse. No one had any respect for the human body, before or after being pretty. Even David, who should've been so repulsed that he had the same kind of reaction she had to his ugliness. So disgusted with all of them that he wouldn't want anything to do with them anymore. He should have said a lot more about the beauty of humanity, the fragility and the strength that is naturally programmed into us. YOU should have said it. Maybe you were trying to, in some satiric way, but it just ended up being demoralizing, not actually inspiring.
Maybe you were just trying to tackle too much at once--someone else suggested that #4 is another idea you wanted to develop, and that may have been why the rest sucked so bad for me. I thought the pretty surgery as a cure to the breakdown of civilization was really far-fetched, and became even more so because it became such a catch-all. Rusties were too reliant on oil; Rusties destroyed nature; Rusties made war over nothing; Rusties destroyed themselves with their own technological genius---all because of looks? The line of reasoning is very thin, but you had some good points. The problem was, you lumped them all together instead of exploring a few at a time. The surgery revolution and the equality and the superhumans is a great idea, BY ITSELF. The ruins of civilization, the oil dependence, the super weed--another good idea--BY ITSELF. And the lesions and the anthropological guinea pigs, wow--could be super, but by itself. These concepts are what intrigued me in the beginning when the characters didn't, but instead of finding out how this society got from one point to another, how some people survived and prospered and others became savages, or how the cities were so absolutely isolated and disconnected
but still largely the same-- it was all brushed-over and vague. Such a tremendous disappointment.

Am I just too ugly and emotional? Is this written at a bubbly pretty reading level and I'm just over thinking it? Or am I simply not icy enough and i'm missing the message?
Probably I'm just expecting too much from YA books. It's not like we're meant to do a critical analysis of Brave New World here, but that might actually be easier.