UGLIES: Cutters, created by Scott Westerfield (Graphic novel review).

May 2, 2014 | By | Reply More

For ‘Uglies: Cutters’, Scott Westfield has again teamed up with comicbook storywriter Devin Grayson and illustrator Steven Cummings, who also provided the cover artwork. This edition of the graphic novel is in the cut down 8¼ x 5¾ inches size. This is 5th book in the series if you don’t include ‘Bogus To Bubbly: An Insider’s Guide To The World Of Uglies’, which isn’t really a novel. In keeping with the other volumes, the cover is in colour while the novels illustrations are all in black and white. I know it helps keep the costs down but as this is set in New Pretty Town (everything super-bubbly), a touch of colour would have been welcome.

UGLIES: Cutters, created by Scott Westerfield (Graphic novel review).

UGLIES: Cutters, created by Scott Westerfield (Graphic novel review).

For those new to the series, the Uglies universe is set in the future where small children are known as Littlies up to the age of 12 and then they become known as Uglies. This lasts until their sixteenth birthday, where they undergo a surgical procedure ‘The Surge’ to become perfect, beautiful people known as Pretties. The main character, Shay, has had the operation and is now a resident in New Pretty Town. While everything is for provided for the Pretties and they are kept busy with a constant round of parties and social events, something is troubling Shay. She has very little memory of her time before being a Pretty and this worries her. This is the main focus of the stories as Shay goes to more and more extreme measures to try and remember her previous life.

As the series is aimed squarely at the YA market, it focuses on Shay’s relationships with her new friends and the old friends from her Uglies’ days. The relationships are put under strain as Shay struggles to remember her past. Her best friend, Tally, also complicates things, firstly through Shay’s jealousy and secondly about her actions.

Of course we need a bad guy or girl and lurking in the background is Dr. Cable who, in addition to being the evil scientist, also seems to be running the show. The Special Circumstances Department are Dr. Cable’s enforcement officers tasked with keeping order in New Pretty Town. Apart from their occasional appearances, we know very little about them, which could also be said of Dr. Cable.

I have heard people describe this series as a multi-layered, complex novel but I don’t agree, as all the focus in this novel is on the Pretties. If you were to pick this up without reading any of the previous novels, I think you would struggle to understand what’s going on. This isn’t helped by the main novel being interspaced with brief extracts from a fairy tale which mirrors some elements of the main story but is set many hundreds of years previously. It’s all a bit confusing really, which is probably what makes this such a hit with the youth of the day. The previous novels have all made ‘The New York Times’ best sellers list.

Andy Whitaker

April 2014

(pub: Del Rey/Ballantine Books. 176 page enlarged paperback graphic novel. Price: $10.99 (US), $12.99 (CAN). ISBN: 978-0-345-52723-3)

check out website: www.delreybooks.com

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Category: Comics, MEDIA

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About the Author ()

I live in deepest darkest Essex where I enjoy photography, real ales, walking my dog, cooking and a really good book. I own an e-book reader which goes with me everywhere but still enjoy the traditional paper based varieties. My oriental studies have earned me a black belt in Suduko and I'm considered a master in deadly Bonsai (there are very few survivors).

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