It's a few years after rebel Tally Youngblood took down the uglies/pretties/specials regime. Without those strict roles and rules, the world is in a complete cultural renaissance. "Tech-heads" flaunt their latest gadgets, "kickers" spread gossip and trends, and "surge monkeys" are hooked on extreme plastic surgery. And it's all monitored on a bazillion different cameras. The world is like a gigantic game of American Idol. Whoever is getting the most buzz gets the most votes. Popularity rules.My Thoughts: I read the first 3 books in this series ages ago and I kept putting off starting this one because I wasn't ready to step back into this world without Tally as my main character. You know, I should have more faith in Scott Westerfeld because the guy knows what he's doing.
As if being fifteen doesn't suck enough, Aya Fuse's rank of 451,369 is so low, she's a total nobody. An extra. But Aya doesn't care; she just wants to lie low with her drone, Moggle. And maybe kick a good story for herself.
Then Aya meets a clique of girls who pull crazy tricks, yet are deeply secretive of it. Aya wants desperately to kick their story, to show everyone how intensely cool the Sly Girls are. But doing so would propel her out of extra-land and into the world of fame, celebrity...and extreme danger. A world she's not prepared for.
This book was good. Very good. Although teens are no longer forced to have a Pretty operation at 16, the modifications still play a big part in their world. Aya is modification-challenged, only having the most basic of enhancements, and she longs to stand out in the crowd. Tally refused to allow anyone to tinker with her brain after the battle of Diego and she's fighting against her Special programming. Tally's hard, sharp, feral side was as fantastic as ever. She's changed so much from the innocent little Ugly in book 1 and yet it all makes sense in the course of this world.
Within the confines of her city, I liked Aya but once she was out in the wilds with Tally and the other Cutters she lost some of her charm. Next to the Specials, who are trying so hard to save the planet from those that would abuse it, she came across as a petty, fame-seeker. Yes, she redeems herself in the end but the divide between her life of constant fame seeking in the city and what the Specials are trying to accomplish was jarring and it really drove home how shallow Aya's life was.
I absolutely adored coming back to Tally and her world. Seeing the struggle that Tally goes through to rewire herself, the lengths some people will go to for fame, the way others hide from the spotlight - it made for an interesting and fun read. One that I couldn't put down once I picked it up.
More books by Scott Westerfeld
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