Diana Reviews: Scott Westerfeld's - "Pretties"


Be mindful that this review contains spoilers for Uglies, the first book in the series.

What happens when perfection isn’t good enough?

In the first book we learned that when someone becomes Pretty their brain is damaged on purpose so that they’ll never be truly unhappy. There are no revolutions, no wars, no anything. An experimental cure has been devised to heal the brain and Tally volunteered to become Pretty and have that cure tested on her at a later time.

Pretties opens with a common day for Tally Youngblood, who has finally become Pretty. She has the life she’s always wished for – parties, alcohol and endless fun. Her biggest problems now are hangovers and figuring out what to wear to events. We get to see what her life has become but luckily, the book doesn’t dally on Tally’s life as a Pretty much. It jumps right into action at the right moment, answering all the questions we had before and more.

From there, the novel flows quite nicely. Like in Uglies, there is never a dull moment in Pretties. The plot is tight and intriguing and the way it ends is even more fantastic than its predecessor’s. You might even say I enjoyed Pretties’ plot even more than I did Uglies’. The first book was good, but the second one blows it out of the water.

The cliffhangers we were left with in Uglies are mostly resolved by the end of this second installment, but it gives us yet another one right at the end. I won’t lie, you do see it coming, but it’s delivered in such a fantastic way and it’s so well-tied with previous events it still surprises you. The change in some characters is quite brilliant as well and it borders almost on cruel.

As for Tally, she goes from being annoyingly Pretty, back to being a capable person once again. We see her fall in love and it’s quite different from David, which is a relief. She becomes more mature and it shows in her relationships.

Another aspect I loved, is how the Pretties talked to one another. They had a very proper way of speaking. They say bubbly and bogus to mean a sharper, exquisite reality and something that’s just dreadful, respectively. They are annoying, but the way Scott Westerfeld portrayed them was quite genuine. Also, while Tally was Pretty, I wanted to bash her head with a hammer – same for everyone else, but as the book progresses and she’s freed from pretty-mindedness and goes back to being the amazing Tally I’d fallen in love with in the first book.

The writing in this book is still pretty fluid and sharp, as it was on Uglies. We get more of a glimpse of New Pretty Town and it’s a flamboyant, dizzying experience; same for the new sections of the wild, particularly the reservation. As for the atmosphere around Tally, it oozes determination and survival instinct. It’s a book full of suspense and it delivers.

Pretties never gets boring. It keeps you on the edge, guessing what’s going to happen next and the ending is the best example of such a factor. I loved this book even more than I did Uglies and I absolutely can’t wait to read Specials and see Tally’s story come to an end.


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