I waited a long time to read Specials, the third and final installment of the Uglies Trilogy. Partly the ending of the 2nd book, Pretties, didn't really compel me to keep reading.
While I was enchanted with the ideas and characters in book one and part of book two, I struggled through Specials, like a mountain climber trekking up an icy cliff, one pick at a time.
First of all, Westerfeld takes us back to Tally's "relationship" with Zane (from the beginning of book 2). I thought that was a dead relationship because of how close she is/was to David. So it felt like a replay of book 2 entirely.
Secondly, the themes are scattered and not focused. One chapter you're worried about getting society to the point where there isn't any controlling government messing with people's heads. The next chapter you're worried about people encroaching on wildlife (a heavier-handed approach for the environmentalist angle--even for me . . . a moderate environmentalist). This especially took a turn for the worse when the book's epilogue (NO SPOILER) focuses on Tally and David become glorified forest rangers (who cares about the people they've tried to rescue from oppression for the entire series . . . now we're going to save the trees and rainforests). A little sudden. Quite out of place.
Thirdly, the coined cliches (bubbly, rusty, icy) drove me to distraction, and I nearly had to put the book down for good.
Overall the series is interesting, but the finale left much to be desired and was only tolerable for me as I tried to find closure. I like Westerfeld's style overall, and I have hope I'll like his Leviathan better.
Specials, by Scott Westerfeld. 2006. Simon Pulse. 372 pp. $9.99 (PB).