"Special Circumstances": The words have sent chills down Tally's spine since her days as a repellent, rebellious ugly. Back then Specials were a sinister rumor --frighteningly beautiful, dangerously strong, and breathtakingly fast. Ordinary pretties might live their whole lives without meeting... read more
The third novel in the Uglies series begins two months after events in Pretties, when Tally Youngblood has become a member of an elite group of "Specials" - surgically enhanced super-humans - called the Cutters. The Cutters were originally founded by Shay, who invented the use of ritual... read more (warning: may contain spoilers)
The third novel in the Uglies series begins two months after events in Pretties, when Tally Youngblood has become a member of an elite group of "Specials" - surgically enhanced super-humans - called the Cutters. The Cutters were originally founded by Shay, who invented the use of ritual self-harm to become "bubbly" and clear-headed in spite of brain lesions used to make her pretty-minded. The Cutters are a group of Specials that inflict self harm to become icy and clear headed. They were adopted into Special Circumstances and given enhanced senses, strength and reflexes, and are among the youngest agents working for Dr Cable.
The Cutters disguise themselves as Uglies in order to crash a party in Uglytown and search for members of the New Smoke. Tally successfully finds a girl giving out pills which cure the pretty lesions, which she encourages the Uglies to take to the Crims - Tally and Shay's old clique. The Cutters attempt to capture the girl, but she escapes on a hoverboard with David's help. Giving chase, the Cutters are ambushed by Smokies with unusually advanced technology, including infra-red masking sneak suits and electrical weapons. The Smokies kidnap Fausto, one of the Cutters, and leave Shay and Tachs injured.
Hearing that the pills are intended for Zane, Tally insists on going to see her boyfriend, who suffered brain damage in Pretties and has been hospitalized since Tally turned Special. Tally discovers that while Zane is still free of the pretty lesions, his brain damage preventing them from working effectively, his physical infirmity now disgusts her. She begins to wonder if she received a brain operations when being made Special which has given her feelings of superiority.
Eager to show Dr Cable Zane is healed so that he will be made Special, Tally, helped by a reluctant Shay, breaks into the city armory to steal something to cut off Zane's tracking necklace. They succeed, but in the attempt they accidentally destroy much of the armory, putting the city on high alert. They then begin to secretly track Zane and the Crims as they journey to the New Smoke, although the pair split up when Tally receives a guide to the New Smoke from her friend Andrew Simpson Smith, an escapee from a reservation of primitive culture. Shay follows the guide straight to the Smoke, but Tally insists on staying with Zane.
On the journey, Zane notices Tally and confronts her about her reasons for following him. The pair kiss, but Tally is still repulsed by Zane's tremors and runs away from him. Tally continues to follow the group to the New Smoke - a city called Diego, which accepts runaways freely, having widely adopted the pretty cure and rejected the rules about surgery, allowing anyone to look how they please rather than following the international standard. Tally is amazed by this, but horrified to hear that Diego is beginning to expand into the wild, clear-cutting forest like the Rusties did.
Tally finds Fausto at a party for newly arrived runaways, but realizes his Special brain surgery has been cured and only just escapes being forcibly injected. Her escape attempt leaves her helpless, and she is picked up by Diego's authorities and locked up for her lethal strength and weapon-sharp teeth and fingernails, which they insist on removing. The doctors inform her that she has received brain surgery to give her flashes of anger and euphoria, along with feelings of superiority, although they will not change this without her consent. With Shay's help, Tally escapes just before the surgery begins.
Shay and the other Cutters have all been cured by Fausto, but they want Tally's help to protect Diego from imminent attack by Dr Cable, who is blaming the so-called New System for the attack on the armory. Tally assists in the evacuation of the hospital, but learns after the attack that Zane, having just received surgery to cure his tremors, died of complications during the confusion of the attack. Grief stricken and feeling guilty, Tally leaves immediately to tell Dr Cable the truth about the attack on the armory. Just before she reaches the city, she meets David, who took a helicopter to talk to her in time. He tells her that he still believes she can think her own way out of her brain surgery, but gives her an injector full of the cure so that she has the option of curing herself.
Arriving at Special Circumstances headquarters, Tally finds Dr Cable and the Specials have taken control of the city. Dr Cable knows that Tally was responsible for the attack, but has chosen to use the attack as a way to seize control of both this city and Diego. Tally tricks Dr Cable into stabbing herself on the injector, and is imprisoned underground for a month, watching the feeds as Dr Cable slowly looses her grip on the city and the cure begins to spread. Diego publishes scans of Tally's Special body and the world is outraged by Dr Cable's "secret" experiments on non-consenting teenagers.
Eventually, Tally is taken as the last remaining Special to be turned normal again, but she resists the surgeons and with Dr Cable's help breaks out, becoming the only free Special in existence. She returns to David, still waiting at the Rusty Ruins, and realizes that her other friends have all found their places in the New System. She decides that she wishes to remain in the wild, free from surgery, and with David she will form the "New Special Circumstances", ensuring that nature is protected from mankind's excesses.
“It doesn’t take much convincing to make someone believe they’re better than everyone else.”Tally
“Be careful with the world, or next time we meet, it might get ugly.”Tally
“From now on no one rewires me but me.”Tally
“She carried a knife inside of herself now, one that was always cutting her. She could feel it every time she swallowed, every time her thoughts strayed from the splendor of the wild”tally
“I'm not sure what I am anymore... Sometimes I think I'm nothing but what other people have done to me―a big collection of brainwashing, surgeries, and cures... That, and all the mistakes I've made. All the people I've disappointed”tally
I Part One Being Special
1. Crashing A Bash
2. Hunters And Prey
4. The Promise
5. New Pretty Town
7. The Cut
8. The Armory
9. Break Out
II Part Two Tracking Zane
11. Cut Free
18. New Arrivals
20. Hard Landing
21. Random Town
23. Violation of Morphology
III Part Three Unmaking War
29. Going Home
31. Emergency Meeting
37. The Plan
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