Diane's Reviews > Pretties

Pretties by Scott Westerfeld
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's review
Mar 20, 2012

did not like it
bookshelves: 2012-read, dystopian, kindle, post-apocalyptic, young-adult-fiction, 1-star
Read from March 20 to 21, 2012

(EDITED: Updated star-status at the end)

Is this book really as bad I as I think it is? I need more friends to read this, to reassure me that it really is awful and it's not just that I'm sick (which I am. I mean, with bronchitis.) So do it! Read this! And tell me it is bad!! ("Ew, this is awful! taste it!")

Anyway, i'd say 2 stars just because i feel guilty giving only 1 star and I *did* finish it. So, 1.5 stars. Because you know something is wrong when "It Was Okay" sounds way too generous...

Where to start?

Could there be a more unlikeable main character? I know I'm not the target audience, age-wise, but geeze, as a female, I'd at least like to like her as a fellow female, even if a young one. And I don't. She's the exact sort of insipid, unintelligent, first-this-man-now-this-one type of female character I don't like. So, there's that straight off the bat. (Shay is a way better character.)

And then there is just the whole story telling, which is ridiculous for the most part. I mean, there is this whole section where Tally is with a primitive tribe (no! she really is! I can't even get into the whole 'what is this i don't even...' of that part as a whole) and she notices the women are making a fire for cooking (the men having just been out warrioring about, as it were) and she thinks -- snidely, I might add -- "oh yeah, i remember in Olden Times women used to get the crappy jobs". What? Leaving aside the fact that all of a sudden Tally seems to know/remember a lot of things, despite the fact that she was pretty clueless about ancient history in the first book (and this is a big thing to "leave aside" because it annoyed the f*** out of me), why on earth would she automatically assume cooking was a crappy job? I mean, she's never cooked. She lives in a society where food comes fully prepared to you pretty much technomagically and it has been this way for hundreds of years. Aside for that extremely brief period out in the wild where *someone* made stew (and I don't think it was Tally and I'm pretty sure it was likely communally done male/female equally), Tally knows jack shit about cooking. Certainly a person like that would never make an assumption that cooking = crappy job so OH NOEZ SEXIST PIGS (another concept that would be entirely alien to her in practice). And she's snide about the issue more than once.


It seems to me that, if anything, given her recent experience Outside the only and/or first thing she would have thought was "oh! hey! I wonder how THEY go about setting up their fire pit/spits/outdoor kitchens/etc" in the spirit of this-is-new-and-interesting-to-observe and not this weird misplaced snide feminism for pet's sake.

Alright, I'm probably belaboring what seems like a minor point but my point is the book is pretty much entirely full of little points like that. It's awful.

And then it all wraps up neatly (not without fanning the flame of LOVE TRIANGLE in the last few pages though! couldn't skip that bit!) and once again Tally (view spoiler). Egad.

My heart wants to give this book one star but my head (sick as it is with bronchitis germs) is going to give it two, for the few bits I liked (Shay and Zane and some of the other characters) and for the fact that I actually did finish it.

But I will not be reading the third.

I am going to have to downgrade this to 1-star. I still stand by that it is 1.5 stars but when I was putting it in the appropriate goodreads "shelf", I felt rotten for some other books that were in the 2-star category, that they should be considered the same level as this. For example, the poor ol' Time Baroness. The Time Baroness, for example, is nowhere NEAR as bad as this thing. So, i'm downgrading to 1-star for sake of categorizing but my actual ranking still stands at 1.5.
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Reading Progress

03/20/2012 page 44
12.0% "So, now everyone is pretty and -- from what I understand -- now all will be well and all will be well and all manner of things will be well. Right? Because that's the POINT of making everyone pretty? We're all pretty together? Except there are ... cliques. Which you get voted into. (or not) And you can get enhancement surgeries (like jewels in your eyes) because ... Pretty wasn't Pretty enough?"
03/20/2012 page 51
14.0% ""the operation guideline wouldn't let you have jet-black hair, which the Committee thought was too extreme, but Zane dyed his with calligraphy ink. On top of that, he didn't eat much, keeping his face gaunt, his stare intense." Aside from the fact that Zane sounds like the sort skull-face hotty I loved in high school, i thought the point of getting Pretty was that the motivation for this sort of thing went away."
03/21/2012 page 245
66.0% "oof. I'm getting pretty close to just starting to skim-read this book at this point. I just can't get into it, even on a "fluff read" level because there are a lot of gaps in the world building aspect AND the main character is a twit. The two together are almost too much. But, at least now there is also cutting!"
06/01/2016 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-4 of 4) (4 new)

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Diane And if people don't like your enhancements then ... your feelings are hurt? Which means, of course, that someone could have prettier enhancements than you ... even though everyone is equally pretty? Okay, maybe the fact these inconsistencies are the result of Tally still being marginally "there" and NOT the result of just bad writing and I'm going to be surprised as the book goes on. I hope so because the dreaded LOVE TRIANGLE is already staring us in the face forty pages in so I do not know if I can bear another love triangle if it is coupled with plain bad story telling.

Diane er, that above comment is supposed to be tethered to a status update.

message 3: by Ally (new) - rated it 1 star

Ally I've literally just finished reading this and I can assure you that yes, this is as bad as you think it is. Don't feel bad about that single star there - this book is absurd. Nothing hangs together, the characters are generally awful and hello logic? Where did all the logic go?!! Great review :D I totally agree about Tally suddenly becoming all-knowing. Bugged the crap outta me!

Diane Ally wrote: "I've literally just finished reading this and I can assure you that yes, this is as bad as you think it is. Don't feel bad about that single star there - this book is absurd. Nothing hangs together..."

THANK YOU! I hate to say the awfulness of this book still haunts me. I almost re-read it again a couple of months ago to see if it was as bad as I thought but at the last minute I decided to read a 99c pride and prejudice "sequel" and I have no regrets!

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