Tuesday, May 30, 2006
A Pretty Good Sequel
Pretties by Scott Westerfeld is a sequel that is actually better than its predecessor, Uglies. My complaint with Uglies was that it was just a little too much like the dystopian novels I'd run across in the past--an individual struggling against the uniformity of a futuristic, planned society, yada, yada, ying-ying.
Pretties turns that idea on its head because the main character is part of the planned society. And Westerfeld raises some questions about whether or not this repressive world isn't better than the one it replaced--ours.
By the way, in the May issue of Locus Westerfeld discusses the very problem I had with Uglies. He says, "Uglies is full of these tropes of science fiction that have been melded together to make one continuous narrative, so for adults it's a lot of genre history compacted--hopefully without being derivative."
So Westerfeld was using all the dystopian stuff intentionally. While it didn't work particularly well for me, other readers clearly feel differently.
(By the way, if you're like me and need to look up "tropes," it means "...a familiar and repeated symbol, meme, theme, motif, style, character or thing that permeates a particular type of literature. They are usually tied heavily to genre.")
Today I scored a copy of Specials, the last book in the Uglies trilogy, at the library. I was the first person to take it out. Oh, how I love beating out fifteen-year-old kids.