Specials by Scott Westerfeld

24765Fiction — print. Simon Pulse, 2006. 384 pgs. Library copy.

The real problem with Specials, the third book in the Uglies trilogy, is that the main character, Tally, is so difficult to relate to now that she has become “special.” Specials are meant to be weapons with unbreakable, ceramic bones and diamond-like nails; she’s deadly and can’t stomach “weakness.”

“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 crowd…” (pg. 14)

Yet her boyfriend, Zane, shakes uncontrollably as a result of what happens to him in Pretties, and she’s repulsed by a wonderful, sweet guy who loves her. Not only that, but she’s a member of the “cutters,” a group within Special Circumstance that cuts themselves in order to feel “icy,” to feel in control. Cutting is a problem with in teen world, and Westerfeld usually does a good job of confront teen issues, but this one just feel short. She stops, but not for the right reasons.

“Controlling someone by changing their brain is like trying to stop a hovercar by digging a ditch. If they think hard enough, they can fly right over.” (pg. 84)

David, who was mostly absent from Pretties, also makes barely a peep in Specials. I was expecting more interactions between Tally and her former boyfriend. The narrative is also pretty slow, even during fight scenes, and seemed to drag on. Part III was the best section of the book, but by then I just hated Tally so much. Honestly, I’m beginning to think the only thing I liked was the new city, David, Zane, and the destruction of Tally’s world.

As it’s own book, Specials ends much like the others; the primary conflict is resolved, but there are still a bunch of holes. Although, Specials is supposed to document Tally’s transformation and her overcoming her new wiring, but I never felt like she did in the end. However, as it is ultimately the end of the series, it ends with a whimper and doesn’t answer any of the residual questions I had from Pretties or even Uglies.

Others’ Thoughts:


  1. I completely agree that the third part was the best one. I think my biggest problem with this series was that basically all of Tally’s character development was erased at the beginning of every single book. But you raise a really good point about how Tally is so unrelatable by the third book.


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