Friday, April 12, 2013

Specials, by Scott Westerfeld

"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, in the third book in the series, Tally's been turned into a Special: 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.

     "Specials" comes as a book to fulfill the Uglies series: a concluding ending for the supposed trilogy (Scott Westerfeld couldn't resist to publish a fourth book, "Extras", which is awesome;), and a book with a desired adventure and missed in "Pretties", the second book of the series.
     "Specials" is big in adventure and action. Since Tally Youngblood became an agent of Special Circumstances, she is a special, ans it means a superior category of the society in which had their bodies changed through a surgery to make them stronger; their bones are made of acrylic and her senses are different and more discharged: she can smell your fear, hear your whisper in a kilometer of distance. Along with it, the New Smoke, the rebellion against the operation process in the Society and its hierarchy, is growing stronger and recruiting more and more runaways from the city who were given the cure for the brain lesions. Special Circumstances was getting weaker, what made Tally, Shay and other pretties become Specials. 
     They were assigned to find the New Smoke, denounce it, and bring everybody back. 
     Something bigger than they thought had happened at the New Smoke, what changed their plans. 
     As a special, Tally was changed to understand that she was superior to the other people, and that the human nature was going to destroy the world again, just like happened 300 years before, killing the planet and themselves... She was trained to act like a machine... But there is something beyond being special in Tally that makes her think her way through the spot she is submitted.   
    After finding out the truth of the New Smoke, Tally's eyes are opened, and a whole new world arises. A whole new system. She and Shay together broke the system of uglies/pretties/specials, and furthermore, changed how everything worked.
     I think what had a rude tone was the special's practice of cutting themselves to make their world feel bubblier, icier. The exposure of such violence against your own body should not appear in books of this level, especially because it circulated among teenagers, which can result as a bad influence. The author could have used other figures to symbolize their pursue of satisfaction as Cutters Specials.
     A point that could differ Uglies from Specials is the fact that Specials doesn't explore the romance Uglies had at all, expected from romantic readers. 
    An interesting message from Specials is that, in the end, Tally and David assigned themselves to "watch for the world", even after the freedom breaks in. They make it their job to make sure that the humanity is not gonna destroy everything, again. We need to watch, to treat the world and the people surrounding us with care, protect others from our own inside darkness... 
     I think this book presented an interesting ending for the story, smart, and realistic. I appreciate how, a book that is classified as being directed to "teenagers and young adults" has such a deep meaning between the lines, that sometimes, a section in the library/bookstore cannot explain. 

What I super appreciated was what Scott Westerfeld provided for the last chapter of Specials: a e-book online with his own comments about parts of the last chapter, filling the reader with a deeper look with his view and why Tally's story ended the way it did. It is totally worthy to check it out.
- He explains the quote: "You see, freedom has a way of destroying things." - It can be interpreted to mean both the good kind of destroying (what Tally did to the Pretty system) and the bad kind (what the Rusties did to the earth).
- A little trick: The last word of Uglies is "pretties", the last word of Pretties is "specials", and, of course, the last word of Specials is "uglies".

Quotes: " It didn't matter what you looked like. It was how you carried yourself, how you saw yourself."

" Closing her eyes, Tally drank the bash in through her other sense. Maybe this was what being special  was really all about: dancing along with the rest of them, while feeling like the only real person in the country."

" Without the lesions making everyone agreeable, society was left roiling in a constant battle of words, images, ideas."

" Thinking like a special is partly just human nature, it doesn't take much convincing to make someone believe they're better than everyone else."

" You see, freedom has a way of destroying things."

" We'll be out here somewhere - watching. Ready to remind you of the price the Rusties paid for going too far. I love you all. But it's time to say good-bye, for now. Be careful with the world, or the next time we meet, it might get ugly. - Tally Youngblood. "

Depression after-reading: 98%
Final Rating: 96%

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