Author: Scott Westerfield
Publisher: Allen & Unwin
I loved Scott Westerfield’s Uglies series. I have read other Westerfield books, but none have captured my imagination as the Uglies series did.
I was pretty excited to hear that there was to be a continuation of the Uglies series consisting of four new novels, the first one being Impostors.
Set in the futuristic world of Westerfield’s Uglies books, I was hoping that this book would hold my attention as much as the original series. I enjoyed Imposters and I know that Westerfield fans will love this book and I think that he will gain a whole new readership with this series, I found it to be a good read, but I didn’t devour this book like I did the original series.
Frey and Rafi are sixteen-year-old twins and their father is a powerful and controlling man, leader of the city of Shreve.
Rafi was raised in the public eye; she is the face of Shreve. She has been taught to be the ultimate diplomat and the good daughter. She has a public profile and regularly attends parties and functions. Frey is a secret to the public. As far as the people of Shreve and other cities know there is only one daughter. Frey has been taught to be Rafi’s body double. She has been trained to ward off would-be assassins and she takes Rafi place in the public when it is deemed too dangerous for Rafi.
The twins father strikes a deal with the first family of a neighbouring city, Victoria. He wants steel and is negotiating an agreement with the ruling family. The family do not trust the twins father and ask that Rafi is sent as collateral to ensure that there’s no funny business on his part. Of course, Rafi is not sent but Frey. As far as their father is concerned Frey is disposable.
Frey is sent to Victoria. The first family of Victoria are honourable people and they live a different existence to the people of Shreve. I did enjoy this part of the story. Victoria and Shreve are ruled entirely differently and it makes me wonder what our world will be liked in the future and how different countries and cities will adapt.
Col and I walk on the street like randoms. No body armour, just half a dozen wardens blending into the crowd around us. A single drone hovers up among the pigeons. It’s probably only there to make sure I don’t run. The weird thing is, I’m more free as a hostage here than as a second daughter back home. House Palafox has no special corridors or elevators. No spy dust in the air.
My tutors explained how privacy is an obsession in Victoria. The city scrubs its data every day, forgetting where everyone went, what they pinged each other, what they made with their holes in the wall.
Shreve felt a little like a future America and Victoria felt like a European city. Westerfield through the depictions of the different cities and leadership is able to explore themes such as environmental conservation and individual freedom.
If the wardens in Shreve want to know what happened at a certain place and time, they just call it up on the city interface. They can watch from any angle, replay any sound but the softest whisper.
The book is flawlessly plotted as you would expect of a Westerfield novel. It is a book that moves quite quickly but still allows you to have an understanding of the character’s motivations (including the minor characters).
It is an impressive book by an accomplished author, but for me, it lacked the heart and emotional connection of the Uglies series.