Specials by Scott Westerfeld (The Uglies, book 3)
Reasons for reading: I've enjoyed the series; Young Adult Challenge
Description: " "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 superamped 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."
First line: "The six hoverboards slipped among the trees with the lightning grace of playing cards thrown flat and spinning."
My thoughts: I'm getting a bit of series fatigue with this one (seems like it was supposed to be the final book but then Extras came out). The constant descriptions of flying on hoverboards is getting a bit old (if I read the words "lifting fans" one more time, I was going to scream). The cruel-pretty Specials are really interesting to read about, but Tally has just become one - I guess we didn't need to hear about the operation.
In this book, however, we found out that there are other cities out there that aren't as insanely controlling as Tally's - it's interesting to see that there's another option in this dystopian/utopian world. Tally does always seem to be the one who is most adaptable, no matter what they do to her (Shay calls it being self-centred) and in this book she needs it more than ever as she single-handedly must try and stop a war.
The series certainly does make you think about the present and the future and how we can find a balance between Westerfeld's view of the "Rusties" destroying everything and the world of these books where people's brains are damaged by the government to keep them in line and avoid today's problems. I don't know the answer yet, but I don't think it's brain lesions.
The book ends on a very environmentalism-ish note - Tally is very concerned with people cutting down "the wild" just like us Rusties did. So I expect Extras will have even more of that theme, so I'm not entirely sure if I'm interested. But I'll probably finish out the series.