Review: Uglies and Pretties

One of my favorite memories snuck into the present this weekend- the memory of being so absorbed in a book that I barely notice outside stimuli.  I read the 2nd book in the Scott Westerfeld Uglies series (which is in fact titled Pretties).  Westerfeld panders to all my literary indulgences: post-apacolyptic visions, the inhumanity of humans in danger, speedy plot and character development, and a tender (but not overbearing) romantic plot filled with betrayal.  Most of all, reflection on what brought about the collapse of civilization as we know it.

The latter is a tricky thing- it can only be hinted at, never fully grasped in order to be satisfying.  Too much science fiction ends up reading like a history book- a long string of events leading to an inevitable end. I lust for mystery, not history – the less details, the better.  That said, it still has to be plausible; plausible enough for me to think about how my personal actions would contribute to the downfall.  Uglies exceeds my expectations on almost every mark, and was so satisfying that I regretted having finished it so quickly.  Then I bought the 2nd book, Pretties, and finished in on a single sunny Monday, mostly while lying in the grass on the University of Illinois quad.  So much for making it last longer.

Getting ahold of that first book was mostly serendipitous- April’s taking a master’s course in Young Adult literature, and I just picked it up one night on a whim.  Just like that, my faith in modern science fiction began to return.

There are only two books left in the series, and I hope it takes me longer to finish them.

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