The story Takes place a couple of months after book two. Tally has been in training to be a special. They are fast, intimidating, intelligent, and dangerous. I am not sure how I felt about this particular part of the story since I had grown to dislike Special Circumstances so much. I was hoping, like the other two books, she would overcome this roadblock. Tally’s character has always been a pleaser, and she is no different in this book.
The struggle between the Specials and Smokies heat up in this book. The new Smokies are more prepared than they used to be. They have unknown allies lurking in the shadows. I liked this turn of events! I hate when people rush head first into things so it was good to see some improvements on their part. Their ally is a neighboring city by the name of Diego. The city is extremely tolerant and allows the Smokies to hide out there and to also bring runaways in. They allow their citizens to have any kind of surgery they wish. This was a little weird for me at first. The way Westerfeld described these people’s “surges” was just silly. The part that made me laugh was when I read that some of these folks went as far as to put snakes on their pinkies. WOW! I would have never thought to do something as outrageous as that. I was constantly eager to see what would happen next.
The cities in this book are beginning to fall through. The cure is working better than ever and more and more pretties are regaining their ability to think for themselves. This was one part of the book I thought turned out well. I liked the fact that these mindless citizens were finally granted the opportunity to have a free will. I was not so certain that immediately curing them was the answer. They have been so controlled for so long I figured all hell would break loose. Yet, surprisingly they were all living a peaceful existence.
Although I was on a neutral level with Shay’s character in the past, I had come to fully dislike her in this book. She has become cruel, self centered, deceitful, and manipulative. The worst part is she seemed to enjoy it. Shay had become the villain in this book. Then out of no where, Shay saves the day. ( Yes, I understand mind control plays a huge part of her personality throughout the book, but I was just very thrown off by her anger). Shay never seems to find happiness in anything she does. She always has to find ways to make things good for herself. In this book, it involved cutting. I am glad that Westerfeld touches base on the fact that cutting is a fake pleasure that only makes you “icy” (happy) for a short while. I believe this is a message that a lot of teenagers could learn from.
Tally’s character was not perceived much better. She comes off as easily swayed/manipulated, weak minded, deceitful, and like a pet. I seriously felt that if shay told her to sit Tally would obey. She is also very superficial in this book. Tally cannot even think of Zane without feeling sickened. Nothing about him is good enough for her anymore. As the “pretty heads” would say, “totally bogus!” The fact that she thought they had to better themselves to be with her set my blood to boil. Let’s just say I did not get along with her personality in this book very well.
I gave this book in the series three stars instead of five because I was slightly disappointed with the story line. I felt that it was at this stand still throughout half the book. It was more of the same things happening over and over. Yeah, the story in general is good, but I found myself expecting a little more. The only big changes that saved this book for me was at the end. ******SPOILER SKIP TO NEXT PARAGRAPH**** The war between the cities, Zane’s death, the despecialization surgeries, Dr. Cable cured, and Tally and David running off together to save the world! This is where all the interesting parts happened for me. This is what made me antsy to read the last book.
The other reason I gave this a three star is because the romance in this book dwindled away. I wanted to see maybe a come back with David, or at least a spark with Zane. Instead, I got a self indulgent, superficial Tally who believes they need to become better for her to want to be with them. She seems to continually struggle with her self throughout the book. Tally hates the fact that she sees Zane as weak and unattractive, but she cannot help it; she was programmed this way. I found myself quite angry with a number of places in the book where she had these self indulgent thoughts. I just personally despise people who feel they are better than others; I am sure you can imagine that reading through some of these parts was very trying. (WOW sounds like I really hate her character huh…. not really. There are things I like about Tally. She is very brave and she cares a lot about her friends. Tally also never backs down even when the going gets tough.)
Overall, Westerfeld has shocked and pleased me so far. This is definitely a series I would recommend. Although this book was kind of slow, the story is still great. It was not until the end that I found myself unable to put this book down. I am eager to pick up with Extras where he left off. I cannot wait to find out what happens in the end of it all.