Reviewed September 15, 2007.
Simon Pulse, New York, 2006. 372 pages.
Specials is the dramatic conclusion to Scott Westerfeld’s Uglies trilogy. As before, I don’t want to say too much about what happens, because that will give away the ending to the earlier book, Pretties.
This third book focuses on the department of Special Circumstances—run by the “Specials.” While “Pretties” are beautiful and empty-headed, Specials have a cruel beauty. They look perfect, but haughty and superior. The effect is frightening when combined with their pointed teeth and nails.
What’s more, the Specials have superhuman abilities—with bones crafted of unbreakable aircraft ceramics, muscles sheathed with self-repairing monofilament, and heightened senses and reflexes. The Specials are after the Smokies who want to reverse the effect of the surgery on the Pretties’ brains. The Smokies want people to think for themselves, and then what will become of the world?
These books are absorbing and exciting. My friend, who also heard Scott Westerfeld speak at the Bologna writer’s conference, was mad at me for snapping it up when it came to the library. Fortunately, I was already planning to read it as soon as it came in, and now I’ll pass it on to her.
This is science fiction with teens that seem real—complete with love-hate relationships, conflicting emotions, and complex feelings. Sometimes they screw up, and when you’re “Special,” that can cause a major disaster.