Friday, January 8, 2010

Pretties by Scott Westerfeld

I quickly realized as soon as I finished reading Uglies that I would be reading the next books in the series as soon as I could. I did just that even throughout the holidays. One thing I really liked about these books is that they are very well paced. I enjoyed the way things unfolded as they did and how or what it revealed about their world. Basically, I loved the way the story was told and it's truly a page turner.
In Pretties, the story picks up shortly after the end of Uglies with the main character, Tally, already having had the required surgery to make her pretty and similar minded as the others. Suddenly, she's thrust into a world of popularity which includes the best of beautiful things, parties and people. She is still friends with great characters from Uglies like Shay & Peris who is her best friend as promised. As she starts to meet other pretties, like one in particular named Zane, things start to get more complicated. There are always lots of choices for Tally to make and things for her to experience as well. I felt I related to Tally as a character better in Pretties than in Uglies. I feel I had identified more with Shay before but her character has so drastically been altered because of the pretty operation that it deeply saddened me. I didn't realize how this would affect me. It still amazes to feel how deeply I can be moved by the written word. Bravo to Scott Westerfeld for that!
One thing that I feel is at the heart of these stories are the tiny details about friendship. So many possibilities and disappointments that lie within Tally's relations with her friends spoke to me. It is very subtle yet beautiful. It's what drew me into reading these books for the most part and had me wanting to read the complete series. I had to know what would happen with these friends. It's not the only reason though because this book contains a lot of exciting adventurous things, i.e, a floating ice rink. Honestly, I'm a little afraid of ice or ice skating and I couldn't imagine even wanting to go there to ice skate. The way Westerfeld describes it was incredible and what results there is fascinating too. Plus, isn't it just the kind of thing Pretty's would do for fun?
Now, for me I did have to be patient with and get past that semi-annoying Pretty language for most of the novel but I think I understood why it was written in that voice. I think it was valuable to differentiate between the two different worlds in order to transition from the Uglies to the Pretties stories. Actually, I think it moves the story to a higher scale and it's very clever writing.
I admit that I've read very little dystopian novels until this year. I wasn't always sure I could get into them, I think. As I've read them more, I've found that I've really enjoyed reading this genre. I feel I've discovered a whole realm of new thoughts and possibilities which is simply exciting. I'm glad about that.

From the book itself:

"Remember that the most beautiful things in life are the most useless." -John Ruskin. (Pg. 1)

"...everything was always ultra safe in New Pretty Town. Otherwise pretties would be killing themselves left and right."

"She had to get out of this balloon now. Then Tally saw the river. And,
clutching her hover board, she threw herself into the void."

"... as if the metal had suddenly become liquid and alive."

"...a noisy was to travel, the wind roiling the trees like a storm."

384 pages, Nov. 2005, My rating: 4.5 stars

Other Pretties book reviews to read:

Bookworm Burrow
mjrr's weblog
Jawas Read, Too!


Amanda said...

This was my favorite book in the series, primarily because I fell completely and totally in love with Zane. He was the one I really connected to. I didn't really connect with Shay ever. In fact, I never liked her very much at all. I thought she was wrong to accuse Tally the way she did. Also, I never found the pretty language annoying. I think I must be the only one!

Julie said...

Amanda - I really loved Zane too which came full force for me by the end of Pretties. His character is etched in my head. He is nice to think about. I never felt I reconnected to Shay later. It was only in Uglies.
It didn't take me long to get used to the pretty language and then the effect was cool.
You are unique in more ways than you realize!

Nina said...

I really need to get this series, they sound so amazing! Thanks for the great review.

Julie said...

Nina - Thanks! I think you should read this series. I would love to hear what you think about it too.

L said...

I liked this one too. And poor Zane. Sigh..

Julie said...

Great to hear from you Lula!

Yes, I agree. Poor Zane. He's an incredible addition to these books.