This amazing series is too complicated to explain, so I'll just give you the pitch for each book, and give my thoughts at the end. I could've done each book separately, but I figured it be easier to do it all in one, except for it's companion book Extras.
Uglies: Tally is about to turn sixteen, and she can't wait. Not for her license -- for turning pretty. In Tally's world, your sixteenth birthday brings an operation that turns you from a repellent ugly into a stunningly attractive pretty and catapults you into a high-tech paradise where your only job is to have a really great time. In just a few weeks Tally will be there.But Tally's new friend Shay isn't sure she wants to be pretty. She'd rather risk life on the outside. When Shay runs away, Tally learns about a whole new side of the pretty world -- and it isn't very pretty. The authorities offer Tally the worst choice she can imagine: find her friend and turn her in, or never turn pretty at all. The choice Tally makes changes her world forever.
Pretties: Tally has finally become pretty. Now her looks are beyond perfect, her clothes are awesome, her boyfriend is totally hot, and she's completely popular. It's everything she's ever wanted.But beneath all the fun -- the nonstop parties, the high-tech luxury, the total freedom -- is a nagging sense that something's wrong. Something important. Then a message from Tally's ugly past arrives. Reading it, Tally remembers what's wrong with pretty life, and the fun stops cold.Now she has to choose between fighting to forget what she knows and fighting for her life -- because the authorities don't intend to let anyone with this information survive.
Specials: "Special Circumstances" - The words have sent chills down Tally's spine since her days as a repellent, rebellious ugly. Back then Specials were a sinister rumor - frighteningly beautiful, dangerously strong, breathtakingly fast. Ordinary pretties might live their whole lives without meeting a Special. But Tally's never been ordinary.
And now she's been turned into one of them: a superamped fighting machine, engineered to keep the uglies down and the pretties stupid.The strength, the speed, and the clarity and focus of her thinking feel better than anything Tally can remember. Most of the time. One tiny corner of her heart still remembers something more.Still, it's easy to tune that out — until Tally's offered a chance to stamp out the rebels of the New Smoke permanently. It all comes down to one last choice: listen to that tiny, faint heartbeat, or carry out the mission she's programmed to complete. Either way, Tally's world will never be the same.
Can I just say that as a whole I loved these books. It's such a creative concept, living in a world where being normal is considered ugly, and Scott Westerfeld executed the setting and mindset of the people perfectly. I learned about new gadgets such as hoverboards and interface rings, and by the end of the series it was like I had my own. I was never confused with the terminology for a second.
These books follow main character Tally, and we see her change in predicable ways throughout each book. In the first one she's an ugly, in the second she's pretty, and in the third she's special. I personally liked Tally best when she was "ugly". Likewise, I felt like the narration was the strongest in Uglies. In Pretties and Specials, Tally's not herself for half the book, and then she figures out how to rewire her brain, so she's clear-minded again. I wished there was more clear-minded Tally than the "bubblehead" Tally in Pretties and the "Icy" Tally in Specials. Just my personal preference.
The science fiction elements and the technology was ingenious. I've been scouring for good dystopia reads lately, because my newest project is dystopian, and this is definitely up there with the best.
The characters overall were pretty well done. Tally was likable for the most part, at least after she found her way back from what the operation did to her. I loved David, which is probably why I liked Uglies best, that's the one he's in the most.
The only thing I have to say is that I felt in some parts the narration dragged, and I'd find myself skimming. There's long chunks of prose (i.e. when Tally's alone in the wild making her escape.) This didn't happen often though, and the action scenes definitely made up for this.
Loved it! If you're into the dystopia craze, this series is a great choice!