Author: Scott Westerfeld
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Rating: Five Star
Flash three hundred years into the future where mankind has been propelled into a chilling dystopian vision. In one act of terrorism, an engineered petroleum bacterium has brought the world to a standstill. Free thought, free will, industry, culture, diversity and imagination have now become things of the past.
In its place resting on the ashes of the 21st century and all it encompassed, is a world shaped by scalpel. This is the world that Tally Youngblood unknowingly lives in. As a fifteen year old "Ugly", Tally looks forward to her 16th birthday. That is when she will be whisked off to complete her transformation from an "Ugly" to a "Pretty"-where beauty's specifications are cunningly determined by the Pretty Committee.
But what she doesn't know it's that that not only her body will be changed, but her mind. Just mere weeks before her operation date, she meets Shay, another Ugly in the dorm. Shay seems to know of a world that operates outside of Uglyville and New Pretty Town-a mysterious backwoods utopia known as The Smoke-where the government can't get at you. But getting there might end up costing too much. And what Tally and Shay don't know is that the government will do anything to crush The Smoke and its rebellion. Including using her and Shay to their own ends.
Westerfeld knows the intricacies of humanity's foibles and he exploits them in his terrifying vision of the future, where everyone looks alike, acts alike, thinks alike, and only a select few are chosen to think freely. The human race is depicted as operating with such diminished capacity that readers will cringe, and Westerfeld manages to encapsulate the conflict and pressures of superficiality that plagues society today. What could be scarier: A future where the government controls your actions or where they actually tamper with your mind? The Uglies Trilogy is an inventive and captivating YA series, reminiscent of Stephens' The Big Empty, and Orwell's 1984 with a little bit of Logan's Run thrown in.
A Fiendishly Bookish Review