March 25, 2009

Review of: Specials

Author: Scott Westerfeld
ISBN: 9780689865404
Pages: 384
Published by: Simon Pulse (April, 2006)
Genre(s): Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Young Adult
100+ Reading Challenge - Read 'n Review '09 - Scott Westerfeld Mini-Challenge - 2009 Young Adult Book Challenge

Specials is book #3 in a 4 book series (#1 Uglies, #2 Pretties & #4 Extras). In Specials Tally, Shay, Fausto and others from the Crims clique have been made into Specials. But not just any Special, this group is called Cutters. All Specials have what is described as 'cruel beauty'. Tally is described this way in the first chapter "...all those operations had filled her with icy new muscles and reflexes tweaked to snakelike speed." Some of the things those operations gave to Tally, Shay and the other Cutters: bones made of aircraft ceramics and muscles sheathed with self-repairing monofiliments, flash tattoos and razor-sharp teeth and finger nails. They particular group are called Cutters because they do just that. In order to feel anything, they cut themselves.

Tally (especially) seems to only feel comfortable 'in her own skin' when she is a position to feel superior to someone or a group of people. Anyone who is Ugly or just not Special seems to make her almost physically sick, especially her sometime boyfriend Zane whose brain was damaged due to taking meds he wasn't supposed to take.

Well, I don't want to give away the whole book! I worried about issue of cutting in the book, but the way that Tally relates to cutting changes throughout the book and I like that. I hope the young people that read this realize that cutting is a wrong and dangerous way to deal with their feelings. Tally has a lot to deal with in Specials. A lot goes right and very wrong for her. She has to learn to deal with it all in the right ways; she accomplishes this in my opinion.

I've become a little ambivalent to the characters in this series. I think I will read Extras at some point; just not anytime soon.
Special Circumstances

The words have sent chills down Tally's spine since her days as a repellent, rebellious ugly. Back then Specials were a sinister rumor -- frighteningly beautiful, dangerously strong, breathtakingly fast. Ordinary pretties might live their whole lives without meeting a Special. But Tally's never been ordinary.

And now she's been turned into one of them: a super-amped fighting machine, engineered to keep the uglies down and the pretties stupid.
The strength, the speed, and the clarity and focus of her thinking feel better than anything Tally can remember. Most of the time. One tiny corner of her heart still remembers something more.
Still, it's easy to tune that out -- until Tally's offered a chance to stamp out the rebels of the New Smoke permanently. It all comes down to one last choice: listen to that tiny, faint heartbeat, or carry out the mission she's programmed to complete. Either way, Tally's world will never be the same.

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