Pretties by Scott Westerfeld

Pretties by Scott Westerfeld (unabridged audiobook read by Corine Montbertrand; 11 hrs 15 min on 10 CDs): I am so glad I had the next book in the series in hand when I finished this one, since it ends on a “Tally noooooooo” cliffhanger. But up until then, I really enjoyed it. The romance aspect was handled much better, though it probably didn’t hurt that I totally fell in love with Zane. I got pretty tired of Shay, but luckily she wasn’t as prominent a figure here as in Uglies. Mostly I just really enjoyed returning to this world with its strange rules and fascinating technology. The introduction of Andrew Simpson Smith opened up a whole new layer of interesting subplots to this world, and was one more reason I was so glad not to have to wait between books. I was amused by how all the Pretties talked like Joss Whedon characters. I have to admit I’d totally be a Pretty. I like to think that I’d be all brave and independent like Tally and Zane, but the truth is I’d be perfectly content being vain and lazy like the rest of the Pretties. I’ll hold off on judging the whole series until I’ve finished it, but I definitely liked this installment.

A note on the audio: I’ve been consistently impressed with Montbertrand’s ability to create voices that manage to change between transition from Ugly to Pretty while still keeping the character’s voice distinct. I will say that I really hate Shay’s and Dr. Cable’s voices, but that’s actually a compliment because I also think they’re absolutely perfect for those characters. My only real complaint is that all of Montbertrand’s male characters sound bored or stoned. But oh well.

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