By Cynthia Ayala
“Special Circumstances” was supposed to be just a myth, something to keep Pretties and Uglies in check, a scary story. But for Tally, they were very real, and now, they have made her and most of her friends Specials. Dangerous and apathetic, the team of Specials have been given one mission: destroy New Smoke and their allies. Still, nothing has ever been easy for Tally whose heart continues to fight what she has become. Now she has a choice, be a hero to the so called villains or destroy them.
Specials is the third book in the Uglies series by Scott Westerfeld. The series, a young adult dystopic/fantasy, was published by Simon Pulse on May 9, 2008, follows Tally Youngblood as she discovers who she is in a world that divides people by their looks.
Another great addition to the Uglies series by Scott Westerfeld. Specials brings the story of Tally Youngblood to a certain close, breaking hearts and delving into who Tally is, who she has always been.
This novel, like the novels before it, is incredible. There is just something fundamentally amazing about the way Westerfeld goes about constructing this novel to provoke deep thoughts about the idea of beauty and the cost of it. Specials goes deep into that thought process to create the specials and their dangerous beauty as well as their psyche. Something is very wrong with them because even though they are “bubbleheaded” like the Pretties, kept dumb to be kept in control, something has split their mind, made them apathetic. They are literal killing machines. Their beauty came with a high price. And that is not fiction. Everyone has encountered a person who thinks they are above everything because they are pretty, this isn’t a foreign concept, it’s a real one that should be analyzed, and this novel does that without hindrance.
Tally Youngblood is the protagonist and readers have followed her through her changed from an Ugly, to a Pretty to a Special. Her character has gone through so many transformations, and not just physically. Something about Tally makes her strong, makes her captivating to read about. She’s a character is who constantly trying to figure out who she is and where she fits in. This novel continues that journey. Right now, she’s not likable, but her heart, her mind, they help keep her the person that readers grew to love and admire. Her characterization makes her so different from everyone else she encounters in the book and it continues to make her an outcast which just forces to grow and figure out just who she is. That concept is remarkable and Westerfeld constructed it in a very smart way.
Westerfeld built the novel around Tally and what the Special procedure has done to. Slowly, the reader watches her evolve from what everyone wants her to be, so what she understands and wants herself to. She wants to be who she was in the first book but no one person can be who they once were, society, circumstances, they have engraved themselves into her psyche, changing her forever. But her heart knows just what it wants to be and that influences her greatly. No, readers aren’t going to like her at first, but as the novel progressed, her character growth is impeccable and the central focus of the novel.
The inside plot is the driving point of the novel and influenced the overall outside plot. Some moments seem a little slow compared to most of novel which is very paced, but every page, every line, every word shows the reader who Tally is and how she is growing. Narration is key for that and her narration is spot on. While not likeable, she is relatable and that, alongside her character growth, is what makes her an admirable and captivating character.
With punches being thrown from all sides, Specials is the must read conclusion to Tally’s story in the Uglies series. (★★★★☆ | B+)