Aya Fuse is just fifteen-years-old but already, the world has radically changed since Tally Youngblood freed everyone. From tech-heads to surge-monkeys, Aya's city has it all. And all Aya wants is 1) become Pretty and 2) kick the biggest story ever. Aya spent her entire life looking up to him, wanting to be him, and now she finally has the chance. I adored how Westerfeld re-imagines the Pretty world and expands it with an entirely new cast (with a few appearances from some old favorites!). And, above all, I loved Moggle (Aya's old, outdated hovercam with a hilarious personality).
My years as a student steeped in cultural studies and gender theory make it pretty much impossible for me to read works of popular fiction without subjecting them to critical analysis, and Westerfeld's books certainly lend themselves to this sort of critique. Like most dystopian science fiction, Westerfeld's books cast a critical eye on disturbing aspects of our present-day society -- obsession with looks, fame, etc -- by taking those aspects to extremes and weaving them into the very fabric of the future society. In all of these books, the main (female) character desperately wants to be pretty, special, popular, famous or whatever, but ends up questioning the values of her society when she meets outsiders who don't subscribe to those norms.
I really struggled to finish this book, and I thought it was significantly worse than the others in the series. At one point, characters from two different countries meet and have some communication difficulties. Thoughout the series, the characters were pretty one-sided. Neither Aya nor Tally were very strong characters, and the "ew, bugs and mud!" part of this book really annoyed me.
If that had sucked as bad as this one, I would have loved to give that a one star, then the pattern would be complete.
I don't like the way Scott Westerfeld portrays Tally in this either because he renders her as a know-it-all b word, to say the least.
Extras is the fourth book in Scott Westerfeld's critically acclaimed, New York Times bestselling series (originally it was a trilogy). The first three books Uglies, Pretties, and Specials follow Tally Youngblood, a fifteen-year-old girl living in a futuristic world so dominated by plastic surgery that anyone who looks normal is ugly. The trilogy, however, sets the framework for everything that happens in Extras so while the book is great on its own it definitely assumes you know the story of the trilogy. Fifteen-year-old Aya has had her own feed for a year, but her rank is still 451,369--so low that she's a definite nobody, someone her city calls an extra. Westerfeld raises a lot of interesting questions as Aya deals with the ethics of kicking her new story and tries to decide if honesty really is more important than fame.
I also quickly got annoyed at Aya. The Uglies series was my first exposure to Westerfeld and though I really liked Uglies and liked Pretties and pretty much liked Specials I gotta say i'm noticing a pattern with his characters. They all want something superficial and they strive (like with Tally) and are willing to sell out people to get it.
Finishing a series always makes me feel like I'm losing a friend. I've spent a good week or so reading these four books, absorbed in the pages and the characters and their lives, and now I just feel lonely. Fifteen-year-old Aya is ranked around 400,000, making her a total extra, however she uncovers a secret clique, the Sly Girls, which she is certain will bump her to the top. sigh, Zane <3) A great ending, but like I first said...
I wish that the authors of popular series, would take a little more thought about their story lines before they quickly release their sequels. None of the books that came after "Uglies" was as well thought out and captivating.