Jump to ratings and reviews
Rate this book

Uglies #3


Rate this book
"Special Circumstances": The words have sent chills down Tally's spine since her days as a repellent, rebellious ugly. Back then Specials were a sinister rumor -- frighteningly beautiful, dangerously strong, breathtakingly fast. Ordinary pretties might live their whole lives without meeting a Special. But Tally's never been ordinary.

And now she's been turned into one of them: a superamped fighting machine, engineered to keep the uglies down and the pretties stupid.

The strength, the speed, and the clarity and focus of her thinking feel better than anything Tally can remember. Most of the time. One tiny corner of her heart still remembers something more.

Still, it's easy to tune that out -- until Tally's offered a chance to stamp out the rebels of the New Smoke permanently. It all comes down to one last choice: listen to that tiny, faint heartbeat, or carry out the mission she's programmed to complete. Either way, Tally's world will never be the same.

384 pages, Hardcover

First published May 9, 2006

Loading interface...
Loading interface...

About the author

Scott Westerfeld

119 books19.9k followers
Scott Westerfeld is a New York Times bestselling author of YA. He is best known for the Uglies and Leviathan series. His current series, IMPOSTORS, returns to the world of Uglies.

The next book in that series, MIRROR'S EDGE, comes out April 6, 2021.

Ratings & Reviews

What do you think?
Rate this book

Friends & Following

Create a free account to discover what your friends think of this book!

Community Reviews

5 stars
52,627 (28%)
4 stars
60,460 (32%)
3 stars
51,224 (27%)
2 stars
16,310 (8%)
1 star
4,333 (2%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 8,429 reviews
Profile Image for Trin.
1,782 reviews558 followers
June 5, 2007
This disappointed me so much. I really loved Uglies and there was a lot to admire about Pretties, but I found this to be a highly unsatisfactory conclusion. I’m still trying to figure out why it so completely failed to work for me. I think mostly it’s a case of character development: Tally goes through a lot of mental and emotional changes in these books, which makes sense, because her brain is being fucked with. In the first two books, Westerfeld took the time to explore these transitions, and Tally’s growth was really interesting. However, by the time we get to book three and Tally’s brain has been reset AGAIN, it’s becoming frustrating and it doesn’t help that in this final book Westerfeld doesn’t take the time to explore what’s really going on with her. Add to that Shay’s many reversals—I kept expecting it to be revealed that she’s totally PSYCHOTIC, but apparently not—Zane’s quick dismissal, and the almost complete absence of David (after he was also barely in the last book) and you can’t help being disappointed with the conclusion to these characters’ stories, because they barely seem like the characters you started out with and that Westerfeld made you care about. Also, the dissolution of Dr. Cable’s system seemed waaaaay too easy, so I didn’t find this satisfying on a plot level, either. Sigh. Well, I guess I’ll just have to remind myself that 1) I really liked the first book and 2) the next two were nowhere near as bad as, say, the Matrix sequels.
Profile Image for Miranda Reads.
1,589 reviews155k followers
December 9, 2020

Tally, do you ever suffer from sudden flashes of anger or euphoria, countersocial impulses, or feelings of superiority?
Tally Youngblood lives in a society where they're given the "mandatory opportunity" to become pretty once they reach a certain age.

Through their surgery they become absolutely drop-dead gorgeous (aka Pretty) but (and this is a big BUT), the doctors will implant a few lesions (i.e. "bubbles") in select regions of their brains.

These lesions take away stronger emotions and critical thinking skills - thus the cities have a way to control the population.

Tally was once a Pretty but through circumstance and skill, she managed to out think the lesions.

She escapes to the ruins (where free-thinking humans have carved out an existence).

Only, she was caught and made into a "Special" - complete with scary-beautiful facial features, incredible strength and hyped up emotions.

Now that she's a Special, she's part of the city's police force and her latest task?

Hunt down all of her old friends and return them to the city.
I don't want to hurt you but I will if I have too
And while she is strong, confident and ready to hurt those in her way, she begins to wonder, what if being Special is just another kind of Pretty? And if so, is there any way she could possibly escape the government's grasp?

Even better than I remembered.

I adored this one. The Uglies series was one of my first YA's back in the day and I'm really pleased that (upon re-reading it) that this series holds.

There are a few areas that had me rolling my eyes but for the most part, I loved it.

I do really like the growth in Tally and her friendship with Shay could have used a bit more screen time.

I really commend Westerfield for taking this world and approaching it from three very distinct methods (i.e. as an Ugly, Pretty and Special).

Each book had its own take on the city - with different fears, triumph and slang. They felt very different despite all having a (somewhat) similar plot.

This was a truly excellent YA series.
Keep challenging the gods.
Audiobook Comments
Narrated by Emily Tremaine - and she made this audio shine. A truly excellent listen!

YouTube | Blog | Instagram | Twitter | Facebook | Snapchat @miranda_reads
Profile Image for Beth A..
675 reviews19 followers
February 8, 2009
So I didn't like Tally as much in this book. Her personality has been altered by the "special" surgery, so she looks down on anyone who isn't "special" themselves. Part of the plot line is that she is supposed to overcome this, but I didn't feel she completely did.

Other things that marred my enjoyment of this story...

I hated the cutting aspect. Several times they talk about cutting, and how "Icy" it makes them feel. Eventually Tally quit, but only because it was repugnant to Zane, then because she told him she wouldn't. Am I wrong to feel a responsible writer of books for teenage girls would include a discussion of how harmful cutting can be?

This book is also accepting of behaviors I don't think are acceptable like underage drinking, and in the previous books, starving oneself and cohabitation at the age of sixteen. The people in these books seem to lack any sort of moral compass. The only issue where a strong "right or wrong" is expressed is the evil of war and damaging the environment.

So while the story was interesting, these issues distracted me enough that I just couldn't enjoy it.
Profile Image for Ahmad Sharabiani.
9,566 reviews56.6k followers
February 27, 2021
Specials (Uglies #3), Scott Westerfeld

The third novel in the Uglies series begins two months after events in Pretties, when Tally Youngblood has become a member of an elite group of "Specials" - surgically enhanced super-humans - called the Cutters.

The Cutters were founded by Shay, who invented the use of ritual self-harm to become "bubbly" and clear-headed in spite of brain lesions used to make her pretty-minded.

All of the specials in this group were able to get rid of the brain lesions on their own, and now live in the wild. They were adopted into Special Circumstances and given enhanced senses, strength and reflexes, and are among the youngest agents working for Dr. Cable.

The Cutters disguise themselves as Uglies in order to crash a party in Uglyville and search for members of the New Smoke. Tally successfully finds a girl giving out pills which cure the pretty lesions, which she encourages the Uglies to take to the Crims - Tally and Shay's old clique.

The Cutters attempt to capture the girl, but she escapes on a hoverboard with David's help. Giving chase, the Cutters are ambushed by Smokies with unusually advanced technology, including infra-red masking sneak suits and electrical weapons. The Smokies kidnap Fausto, one of the Cutters, and leave Shay and Tally injured.

تاریخ نخستین خوانش: روز بیست و نهم ماه اکتبر سال 2019میلادی

عنوان: زشتها کتاب سوم: ویژه ها؛ نویسنده: اسکات وسترفیلد؛ موضوع: داستانهای نویسندگان ایالات متحده آمریکا - سده 21م

سری زشتها با کتاب زشت ها، آغاز میشود؛ رمانی علمی تخیلی اثر نویسنده ی آمریکایی، «اسکات وسترفیلد»؛ که در آن «تالی» در آستانه ی شانزده سالگی است و از آن رویداد، بسیار هیجان زده است؛ او تنها در چند هفته ی دیگر، یک عمل جراحی ای خواهد داشت که او را بسیار زیبا و جذاب خواهد کرد؛ و همین زیبایی باعث خواهد شد، که او به بهشتی با فناوریهای برتر برده شود؛ دنیایی که تنها لذت و خوشگذرانی در آن وجود دارد؛ اما دوست «تالی»، به نام «شِی»، درباره ی عمل جراحی مطمئن نیست؛ زمانی که «شِی» فرار میکند، «تالی» با وجهی کاملاً تازه از این دنیای زیبا آشنا میشود که چندان هم زیبا نیست؛ صاحبان قدرت، انتخابی را پیش روی «تالی» میگذارند: او یا باید دوستش را پیدا کند و تحویل دهد، و یا اینکه هیچ وقت زیبا نشود؛ و ...؛ دومین رمان از سری عنوانش «زیبایان» است؛ و سومین رمان عنوان «ویژه ها»؛ است که پایانی تلخ و شیرین برای این سری است

تاریخ بهنگام رسانی 08/12/1399هجری خورشیدی؛ ا. شربیانی
Profile Image for Beth Given.
1,231 reviews33 followers
February 20, 2008
I can’t seem to write about this without giving away some plot elements from the first two books. So, warning: spoilers may arise.

Well, Specials — the final volume in the Uglies trilogy — finally came up on my hold-list at the library! After finishing the novel I was in the middle of, I picked up Specials to wrap up all the loose ends I’d been wondering about since Pretties had ended. How would Tally fight her way out of being “special?” What new insights into our my own existence would I find? And, most importantly (I am such a girl), who would she end up with: David or Zane?? :lol:

I started reading with zeal, but my pace soon turned to a plodding. Tally, the heroine from the first two novels, truly was the bad guy in this book, and it was suddenly really hard to identify with her. Nathan started reading Specials over my shoulder sometime around page 50. Turns out that the big action-sequence at the Armory (action — in movies or in books — can be hard for me to follow … I just don’t care about all the dumb details, I guess) was way more interesting to him than to me. I was content to let him finish the entire book last weekend while I wondered if I should just return it to the library when I was done, unread.

Kind of says something about the book if I’m 800 pages invested in a series and I can't decide whether I care to finish.

But I did finish, and I found the whole book to be a rather dissatisfying ending to the series. Like I mentioned, at the beginning, it was surprisingly difficult to care about with the main character — the problem, I guess, with the mind-altering surgeries performed between each of these novels is that the first chunk of each book is, like, from a totally new character’s point of view.

It did pick up after awhile, but I still didn’t care for the ending — none of the questions I’d had from Pretties had been resolved, and the book seemed to end with a whimper, not a bang. Too many questions remained in my mind. (Of course, maybe I’m supposed to read the follow-up to the trilogy, Extras. But that’s not lookin’ too likely right now.)

Not a bad book, but not at all the strong kind of ending I had anticipated after the first two in the series.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Christina.
209 reviews76 followers
September 24, 2008
One thing I've noticed about Westerfeld's novels is how bittersweet the endings are. Although there is still a rainbow (or fireworks) to brighten the blow, there is still death, failure, destruction. Westerfeld knows life will never have a happy ending, just a bittersweet one.

Specials is no exception. Although the novel starts off slow, it quickly builds up speed, carrying you along Tally's final journey. She's now a Cutter, a Special Circumstances pet project. Cutters are stronger -and more obnoxious- than anyone, built to bring an end to the New Smoke. Despite her new rank, though, Tally still feels amiss, and is determined to make Zane a cutter too.

One of things I really enjoyed is how different Tally becomes in each book. From Ugly to Pretty to Special, her entire personality shifts and changes constantly as she undergoes not just plastic surgery, but mental surgery. It's terribly frustrating knowing she's been brainwashed, but she refuses to believe it.

Perfect ending to the trilogy. Highly depressing, but enlightening also. The final chapter especially sent shivers down my spine, and made me think twice about the world we live in.

And I'm still Team Zane :(
Profile Image for Jenelle.
907 reviews34 followers
May 21, 2015
Oh Scott! I am so so proud of you! Only 2 'purchases' in the whole book! Such an improvement: like you can think for yourself, like youre curing yourself of bogus making writing! Bravo.

Ok, as far as the series is concerned, this is where I'm abandoning ship. I held on this long in hope that somehow you would bring me around and show me how to like Tally, but it kind of went the opposite direction, you know?

Anyway, I'm stopping here because youve given me no reason to continue. The fourth book, though an afterthought, is where you could have rectified yourself, but instead you came up with a whole new story like a lame, sure-to-fail spinoff show, with special guest appearances from the former cast who are contractually obliged to lend their star power to improve ratings.

Also, I don't want this to be a repeat of Breaking Dawn or Mockingjay, where, as another reviewer pointed out, you can't 'unread' them but are left forever tainted. And those were series' I actually liked! Anyway, I'm not reading Extras.

So why didn't I like yours? Well, it's pretty simple really--your characters were shallow. Not just morally shallow, which was kind of the point (though none of them ever got over that particular symptom) but they were just flat. Wait, I take that back...Shay is an exception, but I still didn't like her.

Also, you left out half of the story. Too many things happened between books or 'offstage' so to speak. Major stuff too: like why she liked, no LOVED, Zane so much when there really wasnt very strong evidence. They were a couple after their first date and aside from the experience they went through together, there just isn't a lot of substance there. It seemed like a superficial relationship befitting their superficial looks. I expected that it would be awkward with David and take awhile to get them to reconnect, but I just couldn't figure out why she held the torch for Zane for so long. WAS it because he was pretty?--that was hinted at but you never told us definitively. Was it pity? That's even worse. Why did David still like her after everything? There wasn't much to go on there, either. Back in Uglies, it was a lot easier to see why they were together, but after that, it felt forced.

And you know, for all your talk about gender equality, your male characters were pretty wimpy. David was doing good at first, but then, with little about him in the next books, he was weakened because he wasnt part of the action. He had been the rebel leader and then became a nobody. Same with Zane--former rebel, still has a dangerous vibe, but the emo thing was kind of pathetic. After that, he was just a constant liability. What amazingly
un-masculine men, er, boys, you've concocted here. Even the villain is a woman. Considering its the females who do all the damage, maybe thats the real gender message here.

Agreeing with Amy about all the cutting, thrill seeking, etc as inappropriate for a teen audience, but I think it would have been more acceptable if you just explained it better! Endorphins and all that. But very irresponsible
that you didn't.

And the alcohol, and anorexia, and constant surgeries were maybe even worse. No one had any respect for the human body, before or after being pretty. Even David, who should've been so repulsed that he had the same kind of reaction she had to his ugliness. So disgusted with all of them that he wouldn't want anything to do with them anymore. He should have said a lot more about the beauty of humanity, the fragility and the strength that is naturally programmed into us. YOU should have said it. Maybe you were trying to, in some satiric way, but it just ended up being demoralizing, not actually inspiring.

Maybe you were just trying to tackle too much at once--someone else suggested that #4 is another idea you wanted to develop, and that may have been why the rest sucked so bad for me. I thought the pretty surgery as a cure to the breakdown of civilization was really far-fetched, and became even more so because it became such a catch-all. Rusties were too reliant on oil; Rusties destroyed nature; Rusties made war over nothing; Rusties destroyed themselves with their own technological genius---all because of looks? The line of reasoning is very thin, but you had some good points. The problem was, you lumped them all together instead of exploring a few at a time. The surgery revolution and the equality and the superhumans is a great idea, BY ITSELF. The ruins of civilization, the oil dependence, the super weed--another good idea--BY ITSELF. And the lesions and the anthropological guinea pigs, wow--could be super, but by itself. These concepts are what intrigued me in the beginning when the characters didn't, but instead of finding out how this society got from one point to another, how some people survived and prospered and others became savages, or how the cities were so absolutely isolated and disconnected
but still largely the same-- it was all brushed-over and vague. Such a tremendous disappointment.

Am I just too ugly and emotional? Is this written at a bubbly pretty reading level and I'm just over thinking it? Or am I simply not icy enough and i'm missing the message?

Probably I'm just expecting too much from YA books. It's not like we're meant to do a critical
analysis of Brave New World here, but that might actually be easier.

Update 5/20/15- I finally discovered a series that makes up for everything the Uglies series lacks. It's Pure, by Julianna Baggott. I feel immense dystopian satisfaction and fulfillment now that I've read it!
Profile Image for Bethany.
156 reviews6 followers
January 17, 2008
What happened? It wasn't the greatest series I'd ever read but c'mon! Did they give him time? It was worse the the third movie sequel that shouldn't have had a second. Where do I begin with this train wreck? There wasn't one storyline that was wrapped up. The plot was thrown together so hastily and it left more holes (and was as deep as) an 80's John Hughes film. The ONE character I thought was interesting barely featured and fizzled out pathetically... so much potential! Also, the ending was the WORST! I mean, it didn't have to be happy- dystopia and all- I would have settled for a suicide in hopeless despair or a reconditioning to the status quo, but no! I think it was supposed to leave the reader hopeful but it was just stupid and wrong on all levels and did not make sense to the purpose of the entire series! The writing became too contrived and redundant and self-defeating and preachy and contradictory and redundant (did I say that?) and amateur and BAD. So disappointing!
Profile Image for ❤Ninja Bunneh❤.
263 reviews173 followers
March 1, 2014
Alright, let's get this over with.

******Spoilers ahead******

Soooooooo, we catch up with Tally who we know has been carted away back to New Pretty Town after Special Circumstances raids The Smoke - again. Tally wakes up and is now......

wait for it......

wait for it......

A SPECIAL!!! I know!!! I was in utter shock too!!! sarcasm

Tally is an extra speshul Special with the Special Circumstances agency. Try saying that three times fast. She has a super dooper new skeleton, super strong muscular muskles, and triangular super speshul teeth. Her mind is now again under some sort of mind control, of the Special sort. She is a mean lean fighting machine, and still a total bitch. Tally is part of a speshul Special group called The Cutters. Guess what they do? Cut themselves to sharpen their minds. Yeh, I didn't get it either.

Anywhooo, poor Zane has some brain damage and wasn't able to become a Special like Tally. Tally does not approve. Tally wants what Tally wants, as usual, and she will do anything to get it.

In the meantime, The Smokies have become more daring. Spreading their brain cure, infiltrating New Pretty Town, and generally irking the Specials.

Zane is in contact with The Smokies and helping them. Shay and Tally decide to use him to help raid The Smoke for the gazillionth time. Tally of course justifies this betrayal at every turn.

To make another long boring story short, Tally follows Zane in the wild as he makes his way to The Smoke's new location. They have one brief interaction where Tally actually feels like throwing up after kissing him. WHAT?? I'm supposed to feel something for this girl? To her, he is weak and undesirable now. What. A. BITCH. Her brainwashing does not give her an excuse for being an absolute horrendous person for 3 fucking books. Characters should grow, not be stagnant.

They find the Smokies new hideout which is now in a huge city the same size as New Pretty Town. Some shit happens, Zane dies. Tally goes off the deep end. She runs off to destroy Special Circumstances on her own.

At this point the last fuck I gave flew away.

Want to know the bestest part? Dear Tally brings Special Circumstances to it's knees, everyone gets the cure and all seems to be going peachy for the world. This isn't enough for Tally. She figures that one day humans will fuck up again. She is going to make sure this doesn't happen. Um, ooooookay there, Super Tally.

"Yeah." Tally nodded. "Its kind of this plan... to save the world."

Of course, David shows up like the good little doormat puppy that he is and decides to help her. They live out in the wilds happily ever after. I am silently hoping she got eaten by a giant python. Hey, a girl can dream.

1 Ninja-Bunneh-Thanking-Fuck-It's-Over
Profile Image for Ash.
123 reviews134 followers
April 18, 2020
This review contains spoilers for Uglies and Pretties.

I had a similar experience reading Specials as I did reading Pretties. I enjoyed it a lot, but it didn’t quite reach the level of perfection that Uglies delivered. There were some flaws.

I’ll get my main complaint out of the way, because this is what lingered in the back of my mind the entire time I was reading: Scott Westerfeld’s liberal use of future-slang did not work in this book. In Pretties, it made sense; the Tally narrating that book was a gorgeous, brainwashed sixteen-year-old surrounded by other gorgeous, brainwashed teens. Westerfeld’s silly future-slang fit both the tone and the plot of the story. But in Specials, Tally is an elite, counterrevolutionary killing machine, and it would have fit the tone and the plot of this story much better if Westerfeld had kept the slang to a minimum.

As for the ending, it was better than most. Young adult series tend to wrap things up in a neat little bow, which I don’t think works in the dystopian genre. At least the ending of Specials left me with some ambiguity as to what the future of Tally’s world would hold. (That’s part of the reason I didn’t like and won’t be rereading Extras, which takes place in the future Tally helped create and therefore removed all ambiguity).

Even better than Westerfeld’s conclusion to the plot of the Uglies series was his conclusion to Tally’s character development, which could not have been more satisfying. This whole series is a masterclass in character development. Tally is constantly conflicted, caught between living the life that’s expected of her and committing to a new, possibly better, but ultimately uncertain way of life. She grapples with finding a balance between taking responsibility for her actions and wallowing in guilt over things she can’t change. She changes dramatically over the course of the series but her core essence, her insecurities and struggles and strengths, remains the same. Her growth is exciting and inspiring to witness.

Tally’s turbulent relationship with Shay is on full display in this book, and I am living for it. The roller coaster ride of betrayal and forgiveness they took me on – friends to enemies to friends to enemies to friends to enemies to friends – was like the new and improved version of those annoying on-again, off-again relationships you see in sitcoms. Their dynamic is something I could write an entire essay about: Shay leads, Tally follows at first before swerving off the road to forge her own path. Shay wants more than anything to stay friends with Tally, but only if Tally plays by her rules. Tally leaves a trail of unintentional destruction in her wake that affects those closest to her, including Shay.

And as I’ve already mentioned in my reviews of Uglies and Pretties, Westerfeld has an uncanny ability to keep me turning pages. That’s even more impressive considering I’m rereading this series; I already know what happens, yet somehow there’s still this feeling of suspense. I would pick up Specials to read it, then suddenly, in what felt like the blink of an eye, I’d be 50 or 100 pages in and couldn’t put it down. I think that’s what counted the most toward my positive ratings of these books. There’s nothing quite like fully immersing yourself in a good read.
586 reviews15 followers
February 5, 2010
Finally I have finished this series (I have politely deleted the adjectives that I considered adding to describe "series"). And even though I only spent about two hours on this one, skipping entire pages and frequently entire chapters, part of me still thinks that it was an hour too long.

If you are interested in this series, simply use the formula below and insert the suggested words into the blanks for each different book:
1. Tally doesn't like or feels out of place being ____.
2. Tally gets roped into being a mole to uncover _____.
3. Tally betrays _____.
4. Tally realizes she was really stupid and tries to fix it.
5. Tally gets capture (usually) and gets turned into a _____.
(For Uglies, insert ugly, The Smoke, David, and pretty. For Pretties, insert pretty, The Smoke, David and Zane, and special. For Specials, insert special, The New Smoke, everyone, and environmentalist.)

It's a bit of an oversimplification, but not much. Uglies was pretty interesting, but it was all downhill from there.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
8 reviews8 followers
July 15, 2008
I have ambivalent feelings about this book. It's fatally flawed in my opinion, both in tone and content.

The tone is adolescent hyper-drama.... which is okay I suppose since it's written for a teen audience. But, as an example of literature, it falls flat and since my interest in YA lit is exclusively how it might be used in the classroom or whether I can suggest the book for outside reading, I have to say, it's a problem. Soaking in a gossipy, soap opera loop of teenage angst and action adventure takes time away from the substance of the novel. I almost get the feeling that the writer was channeling its cgi potential and planning out some Dawson Creek/Buffy dialogue while writing it.

None of this would keep me from wanting to use the book in a classroom, however. What is a deal breaker is in the content itself. The Special Specials (or mean girl police force of this society) are called Cutters. And they stay "icy" (translated: aware and outside of their programming) by cutting themselves with knives.

This particular direction takes the book off the shelves for classroom use and I'm disappointed. Cutting as a means for becoming more "real" is such a bad choice on Westerfeld's part... Why suggest cutting as an experimental tool for enlightenment to an audience that is already so impressionable and self dramatizing? It's not essential to the story... although the entire book is suffused with cutting references, really it's just a plot conceit that could have been nearly anything else. He later illustrates a better way to become icy but it's too little too late.

Then, of course, the next question is can I promote any of the books now? Can I teach one in my classroom if a later one in the series is objectionable. I don't know.
Profile Image for Valerie.
3 reviews
September 30, 2008
I have only commented on Goodreads on a couple of books I've read, but this one really bothered me. (I still liked it enough to not stop reading, hence the three stars.) By the time I finished all three, I felt I had been lectured to and virtually yelled at about how awful a people we currently are and how horrifying our lifestyle is. Even though I am more than twice the age of the target audience (:-), I think the target audience is well equipped to understand a more nuanced approach to the obvious message.
I also think that even though the "cutters" eventually realized they didn't need to do that, there are many readers out there who will be intrigued enough about the concept to experiment and I find it irresponsible for a book aimed a teenagers to make this horrible (and real even in our day) practice look so enticing and power-granting.
Thanks, I feel better now!
Profile Image for Ariel.
301 reviews64.2k followers
December 27, 2013

I read Uglies at the beginning of this year and really enjoyed it.. later on I read Pretties and was really disappointed. It took me a while to get around to Specials, but boy am I glad I did because I enjoyed it so much!

It had all of the action, emotion, moral dilemma, character development, and great story-telling as the first one!

I won't say too much more since I'm planning a review video, but I was so happy with this finale to the trilogy! YAY!
Profile Image for Grace A..
384 reviews40 followers
May 18, 2022
This book is fast paced and fun to read. However, I was not quite satisfied with the ending. I felt like the freedom they fought so hard for only led to more chaos.
Profile Image for ✨faith✨trust✨pixiedust✨.
396 reviews365 followers
May 23, 2018
Me at every YA protagonist ever:

"I thought if you could see the world clearly, you'd think about yourself a little less. It wouldn't just be you and your latest boyfriend; I thought you might let something else matter every once in a while."

The Writing and Worldbuilding

The world really expanded in this one, and even gave me a clearer geographic idea of where the previous books took place. I'm guessing Tally's city is in Oregon or Washington, and that makes me happy because yay! A local!

I liked how the cliches of this series were actually questioned, like Tally's selfishness, and how she's constantly being caught and upgraded.

"I'm not sure what I am anymore, Zane. Sometimes I think I'm nothing but what other people have done to me—a big collection of brainwashing, surgeries, and cures."

Overall, I liked this book, but I wasn't really on the edge of my seat the whole time; I wasn't bored either though, as Westerfeld's writing style is very easy and quick, and the action was fast and well-paced.

The Characters

Tally: My sister warned me last book about Pretty Tally, but honestly Special Tally was more annoying, going on borderline-Speshul Tally.

Shay: I like how Shay continued to call out Tally on all her BS. It was really needed.

Zane and David: There really wasn't as much of a love triangle element in this as there was in the last book (I mean, technically there was, but it wasn't as obvious or important) and so these guys were pretty okay.


Honestly, writing this review, I feel like there's not much to say about this book. It was good, and I liked it more in some ways than the others, but I just don't have much to say for some reason. Any way, I'm glad that Westerfeld wrote Extras and is going to write three more books set in the Uglies world, starting with Imposters, because I really like the world and I'm excited to delve deeper into it, hopefully with less Speshul Tally and more new characters.
October 22, 2014
What a negative book!

I truly disliked the Special Tally, because not only was she an asshole but because I really liked her in the previous books. I know it wasn't her fault she got turned Special but still...

The plot was full of intrigue and action, but the parts that disappointed me most were when Tally was a bitch to all her old friends, not to mention what she did to Zane... I found it even more annoying when she . The ending was... I dunno, it was weird I mean Tally does change sides and all but that speech she made about the Wilds was supposed to be powerful wasn't it?

Even though I didn't quite understand Tally's final speech I liked these lines, "You see freedom has a way of destroying things". That's right in many ways today. When I really think about it, her words remind me of all the imperfections of human nature starting with greed. I thought of how Diego was (in the story) expanding into the Wild.

Because the people of Diego weren't controlled by lesions they became more like us "Rusties" in a way, greedy and not really thinking of the bigger picture like the animals of the Wild. So I think Tally . Which leaves me wondering, is it possible to have a society that has equality and pain free happiness AS WELL as freedom of speech? Or is altering everyone's brains the only way to have a peaceful and un-destructive lifestyle? Oh gosh, I went on a little rant there! That's just what I THINK her final speech was all about...
Profile Image for Ben.
33 reviews1 follower
July 16, 2008
this series of books caught my interest when i read a review by another goodreads member who seemed to have tastes similar to my own. so i was a little surprised when i realized it was young adult fiction but seeing as i am always looking for what may be the next great dystopian work i decided to give it a go.

for the record i started out with the first in the series, uglies, but a week or so later i had torn thru the first three which seem to be the trilogy. there is another in the series but the characters don't seem to be the same so westerfeld perhaps decided milk the world he came up with for another round, glad he did, i'll read it soon.

seeing as this is saposed to be a review i must say first that these books really got my attention and held it. the story progresses in a simple linear fashion but some twist and turns to keep it interesting. the setting is well described and seems almost believable even though it's got a little sci-fi jetsons feel to it. It reminded me of cory doctrow's work, with a little of john christoper's 'the tripods' mixed in (although it was a long time ago when i read that)

basic premise is a girl about to turn 16 lives in a futurisic, post apocoliptic, every one is happy but clueless, totalitarian city. she ends up mixed up with another girl her age who is able to give her a glimpse outside the matrix. this basicly leads to some unexpexted consequences. the series follows our main character thrue several very dramatic transformations that by the end left me wanting more, like a good book should.

like i said these books were written for a younger audience but i think they still paint an interesting setting and are just fun to read. if your looking for a quick easy read, a book you want to share with a younger person that you will also find interesting, or just ran out of alternate future world books to read, then try it out, i think you'll like it.

Profile Image for Violet.
20 reviews
January 6, 2010
COUNT AS TWO BOOKS! Tally has been transformed into a strong, mean person like the specials she saw when she was an ugly and pretty.Everything is perfect, Shay and Tally are friends, the privileges of being a special type of special (a cutter), and she can have any crazy surgery she wants.When she helps Special Circumstances bring the Smoke down, her life as a pretty and ugly clash with her current life, making her decide if she should follow orders or fight for the places and people that bring back all her memories.

I have to admit when I was first starting to read Specials I was dreading it!It's not a significant piece of writing from this series, following the same old plot as Uglies and Pretties.The characters from the other books seem unchanged and into their old bad habits while the writing tends to get repetitive like a skipping cd.First it begins with a party at which something life changing takes place that leads to lots of drama that then has a big finally.It would be more worthwhile watching grass grow than reading this book.

You may think that from my criticism of this book that I wouldn't suggest the reading of the last book (Extras), but I am.It is much more intense than some of the other books.In the book Tally becomes famous for her rebellious acts throughout the world even technological Japan (where Aya Fuse lives).When Aya finds a machine with potential to destroy an entire country ,she doesn't stay quiet about it, making the group behind it track her down.The new Japanese characters' interaction with the Americans from the previous books is hillarious.So if you felt unsatisfied with Specials you should know that reading extras is a pleasurable experience.
Profile Image for Phoenix2.
804 reviews98 followers
April 25, 2016
So, Tally was ugly, became bubbly and now she's icy. We found her as special this time around, working with the Cutters, a special unit of the SC, with Shay as the leader. Okay, the plot wasn't that good. I mean, the main idea was to make Zane special, and so he had to prove that he worth being special. But for me, and I don't know if it was something that the book tried to pass through as well, it was more about Tally finding Tally again. And, to be honest, I like David more than Zane, but that's just me. I did like, though, the first part of the book, and Tally's jounrey through the wild. But the ending ruined the rest of the book. It was too rushed, and then the final chapter... Where did that come from? When did Tally started carring for those matters? I can't get into it, though, because there are too many spoilers. Bottom line is, that although the writing was brilliant, and Tally's character well structured and balanced, for all the changes she had to go though, the idea didn't help the book reach it's full potentials.
Profile Image for Sami.
56 reviews
January 4, 2009


This is one of my favorites out of the whole trilogy! I found it really hard to make it through without getting teary-eyed when Zane died ecspecially since I could almost feel Tally's pain the way Westerfeld wrote about it and since Zane had had the surgery so Tally wouldn't be disgusted with her anymore. I found it interesting when Maddy found a cure for being special but Tally once again fought her way out of it. It was a big shocker to me when the person saving Tally from being de-specialized was Doctor Cable but once it was explained, I understood. She didn't want her best work to go away forever or in other words, her special specials.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Olivera .
726 reviews255 followers
June 4, 2017

So, first of all, here is a quick review:

Plot- it was rather interesting and there were some really action packed parts. On the other hand, I did not support some decisions made by Tally (even though I did understand them). It could have been much better. 3/5
Characters- Tally has a totally new personality (which is always cool reading about), Shay is super crazy once again, David is a bae (even though there were AGAIN only few scenes featuring him) 4/5
Romance- I guess the romance was there? Well, it certainly wasn't the main theme of the book and it didn't really go the way I thought it will. 3/5
Writing- amazing once again (even with the annoying pretty talk.) 5/5
The ending- as the final book in the series (I am not counting Extras into this), the end was more or less satisfying. 3,5/5

I do believe that I don't have to go into details here because I said almost everything. But, I would like to give my opinion about Tally's decision to

That's it people. Thanks for reading!
Profile Image for Lyria E..
135 reviews
January 5, 2021

Εντάξει, ας σοβαρευτώ λίγο.

~Η υπόθεση ήταν καλή αλλά η ταχύτητα που εξελισσόταν στο πρώτο μισό του βιβλίου ήταν πάρα πολύ αργή. Βέβαια, στο υπόλοιπο ο ρυθμός αυξήθηκε και με ξύπνησε από τον λήθαργο στον οποίο με είχε αφήσει το Pretties.

~Ο Σκοτ συνεχίζει να προσπαθεί να γράψει "ποιητικά" και αποτυγχάνει, αλλά τουλάχιστον το Specials δεν κατέληξε να γίνει το φιάσκο που ονομάζεται "Pretties".

~Το τέλος δεν είναι ούτε αυτό που περίμενα, ούτε αυτό που θα ήθελα - γενικότερα δεν πιστεύω ότι ταιριάζει στο ύφος της σειράς.

~Συνεχίζει και κινείται (ακόμη και το τελευταίο βιβλίο -ναι!) στα όρια της μετριότητας, αν και έκανε μια προσπάθεια βελτίωσης εισάγοντας στο στόριλαϊν διαφορά καινούρια πραγματάκια... (δεν κάνουμε σποιλερς εδώ!)

~Τέλος, θέλω να αναφερθώ στο ΜΕΓΑΛΟ ΖΗΤΗΜΑ αυτής της σειράς: (Ή μάλλον στα ΔΥΟ μεγάλα ζητήματά της)

1) Δεν υπάρχει πουθενά character development. Η Τάλι από την αρχή της σειράς ως το τέλος είναι ίδια και απαράλλαχτη, το ίδιο ενοχλητική και εγωπαθής (με σημείο κορύφωσης της ικανοτητας της να είναι αντιπαθητική στο δεύτερο βιβλίο -έχετε καταλάβει ότι δεν μου αρέσει καθόλου ή ακόμα;).
Το μόνο character development που είδα στο βιβλίο ήταν της Shay, Σοβαρά τώρα, οι μόνοι χαρακτήρες που αξίζουν σε αυτή την σειρά είναι η Shay και ο David.

2) Δεν βλέπω πουθενά ΔΡΑΣΗ. Δεν μου δειχνει ο αφηγητής πώς έχει "αλλάξει" η Τάλι ή τι νιώθει, αλλά μου το λέει. Προτιμώ να μου το δείξει με διάφορους τρόπους -από εκεί κρίνεται κιόλας ένας συγγραφέας- παρά να μου αρχίσει την πάρλα λέγοντας μου για εκατοστή φορά ότι η Τάλι νιώθει κακιά φίλη και προδότρα (σορι, αλλά είναι) και να μην κάνει τίποτα για αυτό.
Δεν είναι ρεαλιστικο, δεν ειναι ανθρώπινο. Και, όχι, εδώ δεν μετράει το επιχείρημα "ναι αλλά αυτο θέλει να περάσει ο αφηγητής". Αν ήθελε να το περάσει με αυτόν τον τρόπο και αν ΜΠΟΡΟΥΣΕ να το περάσει με αυτόν τον τρόπο θα το είχε κάνει (this is Scott Westerfeld we're talking about).

~Συνοψιζοντας: τα περισσότερα προβλήματα της σειράς συνεχίζουν να υπάρχουν και σε αυτό το βιβλίο. Απόπειρες να γίνει καλύτερο. Μερική αποτυχία.

~Πλάκα είχε, πέρασα πολύ ωραία κοροϊδεύοντας την Τάλι και όλους τους άλλους. Ακόμα καλύτερα πέρασα τρολαροντας (και καλα) τον φίλο μου, τον Σκόττι (Westerfeld) στις κριτικές και στα updates μου.
Εις το επανιδείν Σκόττι, ή μήπως οχι;

(Εγώ πάντως
δεν θα το 'θελα)

~Η σειρά κατά την οποία μου άρεσαν:
1) Uglies
2) Specials
656409B) Pretties
Profile Image for Kat.
133 reviews7 followers
October 31, 2009
I've been in geek denial lately when it comes to my reading habits but I'll go ahead and say it...I like YA sci-fi! Ok?! Not high-fantasy space and other worlds stuff, but near-future dystopian sci-fi. "The Adoration of Jenna Fox", "Unwind", "The Hunger Games"...all stuff that I've read lately and enjoyed. So naturally I figured it was time to finally read the popular Uglies trilogy. A lot of the teen readers in my library are into it, so I gave it a try. Ok, so this is totally nerdy, but I'd compare my feelings while reading this to my feelings when I watched the Matrix trilogy years ago. The first one was corny yet offered a fascinating-enough underlying concept, and it compelled me enough to seek out the next one. The second one started to show the tell-tale signs of trainwreck, but the action rose just enough for me to wonder how it would all end. And then the third one just crashed and burned. Ugh.
After getting through the first two books, I was invested enough to slog through the "Specials" audiobook while driving to work, but I found myself royally disappointed. Tally proved herself to be unlikeable to me through and through, and I didn't find anything redeeming or gratifying about her in the end. If anything, she proves how a person can lose themselves completely and become a maleable ball of clay, physically and emotionally manipulated by others, but was that really what we were supposed to get out of this? Wasn't she supposed to be some kinda heroine or something? Bleh. I know this trilogy took on a lot...Not only was it a futuristic world where all of the parameters had to be defined throughout the story, but then Westerfeld goes and changes it all up. But I felt like there were so many other potentially-interesting avenues that were left unexplored in the end.
17 reviews
September 13, 2012
Personally I think “Specials” was a great book, the only thing I did not enjoy was the ending. The book’s ending made me a bit angry, I understand Westerfeld’s style, his endings tend to leave you with a few questions which urge you to read more, but this book being the last of the trilogy I was very disappointed. I’m not the type of reader that loves cliffhangers and I would have prefered a much more explained ending. I hope in his next book “Extras” he tells a bit about Tally and David’s future even though the next book is about a new generation in the new cities that Tally and the new smoke had created.

Besides the ending this book was a great read, the imagery and just the allover style of Scott Westerfeld is captivating. So far I am not at all disappointed by any of the books in this trilogy(besides the third book’s ending). His realistic details just jump out of the text and I feel as if I am being transported into the new world of Tally and being a Special - a super-human fighting machine built to keep the pretties stupid and the uglies out of the way. Although it was sort of difficult to fully understand how Tally and her new group of Specials, known as the “Cutters”, see the world, Westerfeld did an amazing job explaining it with the best amount of detail that he could.

I would definitely recommend this book and also the trilogy “Uglies” to anyone who enjoys a more futuristic sci-fi type of book. This trilogy I feel is more directed towards a teen audience, it deals with more of a rebellious adolescents that I think teens would relate much more with.
Profile Image for ★ Jess .
198 reviews364 followers
April 8, 2011
Note: I am considering this book the finale of a trilogy, because Extras was an un-planned addition.

It is finally time for me to deal with Specials, the final book in the trilogy that began with
I have put off this review for a couple of days, because I honestly dont know how I feel about this one.
I think the main problem for me, is the fact that Specials is the conclussion to a trilogy, yet it certainly did not seem that way when I was reading it. Allow me to explain:
The Hunger Games Trilogy: In both The Hunger Games and Catching Fire, Collins builds up the intensity, making it clear from the first moment who the good guys and bad guys are. She keeps us in suspence, and ends Catching Fire on such a note we are desperate get Mockingjay-eager to find out weather Katniss or The Capitol prevails, to find out how everything concludes. If she chooses Gale or Peeta? The point is, the first two books set up for an epic finale.
Chaos Walking Trilogy: Much the same, The Knife of Never Letting Go and The Ask and the Answer build up our excitement, desperate to see which side wins. Again, we know that Monsters of Men will finish everything in a breathtaking manner.

This comes to my problem with Specials. It does not seem like a grand finale to the trilogy, but more like any ordinary book. There was a beginning, a middle and an end. The major plot twist came half way through, as oppose to the previously mentioned finale's, when the beginning is book one, middle is book two and the end is book three. We know what to expect from #3, and know that so much is at stake.
Maybe this is the fault of Uglies and Pretties. Whilst very, very good, those two books did not build up our excitement enough, and the vibe of an exciting,fast conclusion is missing, and is instead replaced by a normal plot.
That is how I saw it anyway.
I hope that makes sense. It does, at least in my mind.

Anyway, it was an enjoyable book, just not what I expected.
I found the major action scene in the armory a little hard to follow, and there were many paragraphs through out the book that I had to re-read, just to make sense of.
However, the last half of this book was excellent. It certainly had the trilogy-epic-finale feel about it.
The action was great, as was the descriptions and emotion. Especially, involving the death scene of a certain-character. In my opinion, the finale of all trilogies/series must have the death of an important character. Westerfield wrote that particular scene very well, and it felt very real-the characters reactions were amazingly believable.
Also, the final showdown with Dr. Cable was great. Very visual and well written. The action in this scene was fast-yet very clear.
Infact, the second half of this novel was wonderful. Brilliantly paced and highly addictive. I stayed up until 3AM to finish it.

Oh, and I really, really liked Shay in this book for some reason.

Its not as good as Uglies, though its better then Pretties. Final mark: 3.5 stars
Profile Image for JohnnyBear.
169 reviews12 followers
January 19, 2022
Strong 7 out of 10

Although I'm not huge on the first two books in this series, I still think that Specials was the most entertaining of the trilogy. In this book, Tally Youngblood is now a special, and so is her friend named Shay. You get to see the extreme extent of the training that the Specials have to go through, as Tally and Shay go after the New Smoke and try to destroy them. They use their new genetically modified selves, (super strength, speed, agility, etc) to go after their target, and that's essentially the main plot of the book.

For the most part, I enjoyed this book more than the previous two. Tally and some of the other main characters definitely changed their personality and viewpoints, but it's interesting to see how this series has progressed in such an odd manner. I get why people think this is the weakest entry in the series, because of the far-off direction this book took, but I ended up not minding the change.

I enjoyed finally getting some answers to some questions, and I loved seeing how over-powered the Specials were, and how exactly everything worked. I do think this book captures less of a sense of wonder than the first two books did, but it replaces it with a tighter and more fast-paced plot and some action-packed sequences. I also found this book to be far less predictable than the first two books in the series.

Uglies Series

I still find Westerfield's wording and prose to be the slightest bit pretentious/cringeworthy, and I still was disturbed by all of the self-harm implements. But overall I thought this was an interesting change of direction to the series, and I thought it was a satisfying closer, (although there does seem to be another book in the series called, "Extras"). This book does exhibit some of the problems the first two books had, but I think this one gave me the most enjoyable experience out of the series. I'm not sure if I'd recommend reading this series if you haven't already, but I still found value in it. Decent.
Displaying 1 - 30 of 8,429 reviews

Can't find what you're looking for?

Get help and learn more about the design.