Pretties (Uglies Trilogy, Book 2), by Scott Westerfeld

This book is the sequel to Uglies, abortion reviewed previously. It’s the middle book of Westerfeld’s initial Uglies trilogy. He’s still an American author married to an Australian author, viagra 40mg and they split their time between the two countries a bit strangely: they spend summer in both places. I’m a Midwesterner and I actually like winter (when my gas bill isn’t approaching the $500 mark), so that would drive me crazy, but they seem to love it. They’re lucky that they have that option!

Pretties starts a few months after Uglies and its cliffhanger leaves off; in order not to give anything away about the plot of either book, I’ll be putting it behind a cut. Read on at your own risk, or, of course, go check Amazon for what the back of the book actually says.

At the end of the last book, Tally decides to go back to the city to get the operation to become Pretty. The operation also comes along with brain lesions that make you Pretty-minded, or shallow and uninterested in power, ambition, or getting into real trouble. David — the non-Pretty outlander (“Smokie”) from the previous book — has parents, who have invented pills that will cure Pretty-mindedness, and they needed a willing subject — Tally. Unfortunately, but as they expected, once she got the operation, she forgot what was going on. Fortunately, there’s another Pretty, Zane, who knows that he’s Pretty-minded but doesn’t like it. Between the two of them, they do all sorts of things to stay sharp — they call it ‘bubbly’ — and attempt to figure things out. Tally then receives a coded message from the New Smokies, and is presented with two of the pills to cure Pretty-mindedness. She and Zane split them between them, but he has a bad reaction to them. They don’t trust the city doctors, so now she has to take him to the Smoke doctors — which, of course, isn’t dangerous at all. Heh.

I read this book a couple weeks ago, and it’s much the same as Uglies, in many ways. Becoming a Pretty has sort of dropped Tally back at the beginning of her odyssey, so in many ways she can repeat a lot of the same knowledge-gaining as the previous volume. Her character is quite different, though, at first, because she has become Pretty-minded. After that, she does display a lot of the characteristics that we remember, but she’s gone through quite a few experiences since the naivete of the first book, and naturally she would be different.

Westerfeld’s command of his world and his characters’ dialogue is still complete and masterful. Tally and Zane and the Crims — a group of New Pretties who have ‘criminal’ pasts — have their own new set of slang, and everyone seems to stay true to his or her own character. Zane is a moderately interesting new character; his realization of his Pretty-mindedness started when he decided not to escape to Smoke with Shay’s friends, and he has figured out various ways to kick his mind into overdrive, mostly involving adrenaline surges.

Again, though, the book bothered me. I think a large part of it is that the book seemed like it would be very triggering to people with eating disorders and problems with self-injury, again specifically cutting. One of the ways that Zane and Tally stay sharp is by eating nearly nothing, and then taking a calorie-suppressant (I can’t remember what they’re actually called, and my copy of the book isn’t with me); Shay stays sharp by cutting herself. Again, I do not recommend censorship in any way, shape, or form, but it would be inappropriate of me to recommend this book to someone who has problems with SI or EDs. Unfortunately, with the prevalence of these disorders in our society, that represents a larger segment of our population than most would care to admit.

So, yes; if one has read Uglies and enjoyed it, I would recommend reading the sequel, but I am a little weirded out by some of the fundamental assumptions and issues involved with these books. 4/5 stars.

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