Let me take a deep breath before I begin so this review doesn't turn into a long boring rant about everything I was disappointed with (yes, I'm sorry to say there was much disappointment).
Okay, so as I have mentioned in a previous post I had heard good things about the Uglies series and so downloaded the sample on my eReader and loved it. I was so frustrated I couldn't start reading the rest right away, but I quickly went on Booko to find the cheapest print copy and order it ASAP. The first few chapters sets up an intriging dystopian world where everyone is born ugly. At the age of twelve they leave their Pretty parents and live in boarding schools to wait for the day they turn sixteen and get the 'operation' and go to live in what's known as NewPrettyTown.
The book follows Tally as she deals with her best friend Peris getting the operation before she does. She misses him so much and he didn't write to her like he promised so she sneaks into NewPrettyTown to see him.
What ensues is a wonderful adventure as Tally tries to reach him, only to suspect he doesn't really want to see her, and then has to escape in a terrific way, setting off fire alarms and jumping of a roof with a bungee jacket on. On her escape Tally discovers another Ugly girl trying to get away. So, at the end of this sample I was left with so many questions... what has happened to Peris? Will him and Tally eve be friends again? What will happen to Tally for causing such a scene? Who is this new girl and why is she trying to get into NewPrettyTown?
And then the book goes on for a while of Tally and her new friend (Shay) just hanging out. First fifteen pages good, next hundred and fifty.... boring as bat poo. I'm sorry to say it but I couldn't help myself feeling like I was watching some low budget pre-teen attempt at drama on the ABC. It wasn't until I got a third of the way through the book that something interesting happened. And even that wasn't all that interesting.
The last hundred pages or so to get better, and the last fifteen or twenty are very good. But everything in the middle is just absolute rubbish.
I hate to say that it feels thrown together and not thought through, because for all I know the author spent a lot of time sweating through all the details and polishing it to perfection. But I just can't see it. Every plot twist or major decision seems forced. There are moments that just don't make any sense. For example, Tally all of a sudden feels sick at one point when she sees how many trees have been chopped down. But why? She doesn't ever show a strong love of nature preceding this and it doesn't fit in with her supposedly shallow character that just cares about being pretty. There's lots of little moments like that.
The thing I really hate about this book is that a romance is thrown in just for good measure. It's very forced and completely unbelievable. If at the end of the series these two people end up together it will be ridiculous. You'll know what I mean if you read it.
I could go on and on with all the things I didn't like but will stop and just say that mostly I didn't. But what did I like about it? The idea behind the whole world is very good, and I actually liked the ending. But the ending is only a couple of pages long. So, I like the premise, I like the start and I like the end. But you can pretty much chuck out everything in between.
In the back of my book there was also the first chapter of Pretties and of Leviathan. After reading both of those I have pretty much decided I will never read Scott Westerfeld again. Sorry Scott. Perhaps younger readers will have a better time with these books, I really didn't.