Friday, June 02, 2006
Wait, did you say you wanted a Utopia?
100 pages. That's your penance before you are worthy enough to read this. That's not to say the first hundred are boring, 'cause they're not, it's simply that after all the set up it moves. Fast. It is most fun. The first in a trilogy (followed by Pretties and last month's conclusion Specials), Uglies is set in a dystopic future where at age 16 everyone undergoes extreme plastic surgery to become "Pretty" in the name of equality. The theory is that if everyone embodies the ideal of beauty all may live together in peace without jealousy, unlike the ancient "Rusties" who new nothing but hatred and war (we're the Rusties, people). Tally, our heroine, accidentally falls in with a renegade band of runaways who refuse to turn pretty. Then she learns that there is far more than beautification happening with the surgery she's looked forward to. It's totally social commentary about conforming, but I completely fell for that society. Meaning, as with all good science fiction, I can absolutely see its tract in today's society. This is also one of those books you can reccomend accross demographics. I'm just as comfortable giving this to a 12 year-old as a 17 year-old or even an adult. Of course, I don't know yet what the next two books brings. But I'm going to read them, so you'll know too.
You know what else I love about this book? The physical book itself. It's a great tactile experience. Just the right size and heft, it has a smoothness to the cover and flexibility to the binding that, well, is darn nice. And yes, I know I'm a dork.
For more Westerfeld, check out his blog (link to the right). The comments are slightly over run with inane teen-ness (that might be a hypocritical statement) which sometimes makes my head explode, but it's cool that they found that location to be themselves on. And Westerfeld himself is pretty funny. If you want to see the maybe/maybe not cover of Peeps upcoming companion novel The Last Days (it's awesome) go directly here.