Pretties is the second book in the Uglies series, following ‘Uglies’. Note: the following review may contain spoilers regarding ‘Uglies’.
Tally Youngblood has finally had the operation that has turned her from a repulsive Ugly into a gorgeous Pretty. She has it all: the looks, the parties, the house, the clothes, the boys. But when Tally receives a letter supposedly from her former self, she realises that life as a Pretty isn’t all that pretty, and she needs to decide whether she should keep living her pretty life or throw all the bubbliness away.
That’s the book in a nutshell, really, with the novel picking up right from where Uglies left off. To be honest, after the first 100 pages the novel dragged on. The plot was far less intense than that of Uglies, which wasn’t that intense to start with. It was pretty similar to its prequel, and wasn’t all that gripping and was extremely predictable.
Tally annoyed me, so so so much. She underwent very little character development. She started off as a teehee-ing pretty, and then straight away became her old self without any hiccup in the middle whatsoever. I was hoping for something to go wrong, so the book could be a bit more exciting, but Westerfeld opted for a more boring, linear approach, unfortunately. Throughout the novel, it was Shay’s rebelliousness that was more appealing than Tally’s blandness. I’m unsure as to what Westerfeld wants me to think of Shay, but I kind of like her.
The society is once again interesting, but there were a few plot holes scattered here and there. In Uglies, Tally claimed to have little historical knowledge, yet in Pretties she seemed to know a whole lot about the history of the ‘Rusties’ as she apparently watched movies about them as a kid or something. Plot hole.
Westerfeld’s writing style was brutally annoying. The first 100 pages were a chore to read, because of three words: ‘bubbly’, ‘bogus’ and ‘[insert word here, such as pretty]-making’. They were used way too much. Seriously overused. It was as if Westerfeld forgot what an adjective was and instead described everything using those three words. I will be extremely happy if I never have to read those three words again. Extremely happy.
The solutions to the problem – the very minor ones – were really cliched and ridiculous. It’s as if Westerfeld is encouraging dangerous behaviour, cutting yourself and starving yourself to look beautiful. The fact that Westerfeld thought that it was necessary to have the main character pretty in order to forward the story was appalling. Can’t we have a non-perfect protagonist, Mr Westerfeld?
At the end of the day, I was disappointed with Pretties. Although it wasn’t a horrible read, it wasn’t overly impressive either. It showed promise in Uglies, but I doubt the next book of the series will be good either. The plot twist in the last paragraphs of Pretties didn’t surprise me at all: the title for the next book kind of already spoiled that.