Scott Westerfeld has such great writing skills in that he’s able to make a very believable futuristic world with none of the usual farfetched concepts found in sci-fi. The world isn’t inhabited by alien species from far away places and there are no evil intergalactic warlords. Instead, Westerfeld elaborates on the dangers of our technologies if we let them get out of hand. Most specifically, Westerfeld discusses our culture’s obsession with looking good and what can happen if plastic surgery goes too far.
My favorite interaction with “Uglies” is the experience you have as a reader with Tally. At first you can’t help but feel so sorry for her that she is being held back from getting the surgery to make her biologically irresistible. You root for her to find Shae in the Shade until you realize that there is so much more to the surgery than you initially realized. Is the surgery good or is there a deeper more sinister purpose the government has behind giving all of this surgery free of charge? Westerfeld creates such magnificent tension in this world by making Tally and the reader constantly second guess whether or not this surgery is good or bad.
The other aspect of this book that I can’t get enough of is the concept of a person being undeniably beautiful. While Westerfeld does give basic physical characteristics of a person such as hair and eye color, the reader then gets to fill in the blanks by making each character look undeniably beautiful to themselves. This is very similar to the whole Helen of Troy concept in which she is never physically described so the reader can imagine who he or she would see as the most beautiful person in the world.
Without a doubt readers should check out Scott Westerfeld’s “Uglies” to get dropped into a seemingly perfect future that just may not be as beautiful as it seems.