Extras by Scott Westerfeld
Just a few years ago, Tally Youngblood freed the world from pretty-mindedness with what has become known as the ‘mind-rain.’ Since then, cities all over the world have been experimenting in different societies. In Japan, one city has become a reputation-based economy, where merits and faceranks make things happen. Aya Fuse is pretty mediocre, as these things go, with a face rank pretty squarely in the center of the city. Although only 15, she has big dreams and longs to be famous. Her main mode of trying for fame is as a ‘kicker,’ someone who ‘kicks’ stories to the city’s feed. If others pick up her story and start talking about it and her, her fame will increase (yes, it ‘kickers’ are basically bloggers, take from that what you will).
Aya has stumbled across what she is sure will be her big story, a group called the Sly Girls for whom the reputation economy is anathema. They spend their nights doing outrageous tricks, things that would make them completely famous, but do their best not to get caught. In the middle of gathering footage for her story, though, Aya uncovers something far larger and more dangerous. Something that could impact the entire world.
Although Tally and the other characters of the “Uglies” trilogy do make an appearance in this book, they are not the main focus of this story. If you go in thinking they will be, you are likely to be rather disappointed. I even knew the story wasn’t about Tally and was still mildly disappointed for the first hundred pages or so, until Aya grew on me. Since this story isn’t even about the same city from which Tally came, many fans of the trilogy may be annoyed with it.
However, I think it is still a story worth reading. Again, Westerfeld’s social commentary is fabulous, if focused a little differently this time. The adventure portion of the story was still good too, although it may have lost a little something for readers who had become very invested in Tally. Even when she does show up it is a very different feel for her not to be the main character and the reader to be in someone else’s head instead of hers.
If you were into the “Uglies” series, go ahead and read this one. If you don’t go into it expecting a lot of Tally and the rest I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.