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A Reading Vocation

"I Must Read, Read, and Read. It is my Vocation." - Thomas Merton

This is where I chronicle my reading life.  I also blog about writing at Lacey's Late-night Editing.


Book Review: Extras by Scott Westerfeld

Extras  - Scott Westerfeld

This book is definitely an "extra" in the Uglies canon. As fun as it was to return to Westerfeld's dystopian vision, complete with all the slang (which really gets stuck in your head) and gadgets, the story here wasn't worthy of the setting. While I could relate to Aya's desire to be noticed in a world obsessed with fame, it ultimately made her feel a little whiny. This was fine in the beginning, but I expected her to undergo some significant character growth. That didn't really happen. This book could have provided a great opportunity for exploration of and commentary on our social-media, attention-seeking, fame-obsessed society, much the way the Uglies series forced us to take a long, hard look at our preoccupation with beauty. And while it does offers a bit of insight on the subject of fame and living in an "always-on" world, it's mostly pretty superficial, with Aya never seeming to move far beyond her initial mentality about it all.

I liked the opportunity to see Tally and the gang again, but their presence in the story felt gratuitous -- even if seeing them through Aya's eyes, where they were no longer the center of the story, was one of the most interesting parts of this book. I also liked knowing how the society had evolved since the fall of the "Pretty Time," although I felt as if too much had changed for only three years to have passed. It was like Scott Westerfeld really wanted to return to the world he had created (and who can blame him!) but didn't really know what to do once he got there. Some more non-fiction exploration (like in Bogus to Bubbly) or a series of short stories might have suited better than this novel, which seems a bit cobbled together.

Still, there were moments when I felt almost as engaged as I did in the original trilogy, and this book did remind me of how much I'd loved those books. So, I was happy to hear that the Uglies movie is still in the works. It's the perfect time to jump on the teen dystopian movie bandwagon!


(Btw, I really dislike the new cover -- I much prefer the original cover, pictured here.)