Specials - Scott Westerfeld

Special Circumstances used to be a rumor that no one believed in but Tally Youngblood knows the truth: It is very real and they are recruiting. In what was supposed to be the ending to a trilogy, Tally is forced to become a special.  She gets another operation that makes her the perfect killing machine and finds herself working for the same people that she was once against. When she gets an assignment to eliminate the New Smoke, she is conflicted with resurfacing memories.  Will she once again fight alongside the people of the Smoke or carry out the mission she is programed to do? Either way, her final decision changes the world as she knows it. 

This is actually my favorite book in the series.  I really enjoyed the "special" point of view.  It was definitely an improvement from the pretty perspective.  Her change from being a pretty to a special was much more difficult than her change from ugly to pretty.  She is programed to think she is better than everyone else and gains new abilities like crystal clear vision and stronger muscle. In each book, she is the one who is different and can think her own way out of the effects of the operation.  She struggled more with holding on to past memories and feelings and really what is left of her humanity. I was a little disappointed that some of the events were predictable as there were some reoccurring themes, for example, what helps her to remember herself is being alone in the wild. 

Like the first book, Tally is alone for most of her journey to rediscovering herself post-operation.  The only other important people are Shay and Zane.  I like how her friendship with Shay fluctuates from good to bad throughout the series.  I'm glad that she was present more in this book but I still wish the reader was able to know a little more about her.  I also enjoyed how the roles were somewhat reversed between them and Shay was more susceptible to the idea of being cured than Tally and it reminded me of why I liked her in the first book.  Zane. on the other hand, was hardly present but had an indirect role in helping Tally along on her quest. I am disappointed at how characters that were important in the previous books are hardly mentioned, mainly David and Zane.   .  

In other reviews I've read for this book, I noticed that a lot of people had problems with the Cutters.  I do not condone cutting oneself but, as an adult reader, I did not have a problem with it being apart of this book.  The issue was resolved subtly; they realize, after being "cured" that they didn't need to cut themselves to feel "icy." Not to mention, Zane and David did show their disgust toward it.  

Overall, I liked the series once I actually sat down and got into the  books.  I liked the ideas and I think they were presented well.  I enjoyed the ending, though it could have been better,  but not enough to continue to read on to the next book (Extras), especially since Tally is not the main character.  The author should have kept the series a trilogy and come up with a better ending.  There is a slight possibility that I will revisit this series again in the future, but only if I have nothing better to do with my time. 

3.5 out of 5 STARS

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