Scott Westerfeld finally allows readers to return to the beloved Uglies Universe, in his newest installation IMPOSTORS.
I, for one, was a huge fan of the Uglies series when I was in middle school. I read them more times than I can count, and I was thrilled to hear that there would be a new chapter in the series. From the original trilogy, I had become attached to the accidental heroine Tally Youngblood, the defiant frenemy Shay, and the shockingly earnest David. Much like Westerfeld’s first expansion to the trilogy, Extras, I found myself hesitant, but I quickly found myself enthralled by the story and development of the world in Impostors.
Picking up a generation after Tally Youngblood’s revolution, the book is led by twin protagonists Frey and Rafi. Children to a brutal, powerful ruler, the younger twin, Frey, has had her existence hidden, instead being used as a protector of her sister, and as the occasional replacement in tricky situations. In shorter terms, Frey is expendable. This is demonstrated by Frey’s trip to a rival city as a sign of good faith. This trip also happens to be the first real freedom and control she has had in a while, and the real start of the story, which is unquestionably Frey’s. The rival city is just the first stop on Frey’s fresh and compelling adventure, as she finds herself in danger actually directed towards her, and not her sister.
The plot managed to stay faithful to the original series, while still being fresh and notable on its own. While recognizable, the culture had progressed enough to be believable. There were references to things mentioned in the original series, and Tally’s name is thrown around enough to satiate the readers need for it, while not dominating the plot or being used as a ploy to interest the reader.
While the secret twin trope isn’t unheard of, its rare enough that it felt endearing and exciting. Frey was a great character, someone the reader could cheer for and relate to. She felt very fleshed out. Rafi felt less so, more like a place holder to the reader, just as Frey is to the story. Frey’s love interest, Col Palafox similarly felt underdeveloped. This may be a choice to make him seem more mysterious, but that is to be determined. Even if this wasn’t the intention, it could easily be played off as such. The developing relationship between Frey and Col is exciting, but at no point overpowers the journey of Frey herself. She is defined by more than just her relationships, not just to Col, but to her sister.
I am a notoriously fast reader, and so believe me when I say this was a quick read. The exposition was brief and detailed so the audience delved right into the action. The bulk of the plot is entertaining, even captivating, and it leaves the reader infuriated by the cliffhanger ending, while begging for the next book in the series.
Ultimately, this was a successful expansion of a great series, not weighed down by the memory and legacy of its predecessor. It truly makes a name for itself, stepping out of the shadow that Uglies left.
RATING: 4.5 OUT OF 5 STARS
Frey and Rafi are inseparable . . . but very few people have ever seen them together. This is because Frey is Rafi’s double, raised in the shadow’s of their rich father’s fortress. While Rafi has been taught to charm, Frey has been taught to kill. Frey only exists to protect her sister. There is no other part of her life. Frey has never been out in the world on her own – until her father sends her in Rafi’s place to act as collateral for a dangerous deal. Everyone thinks she’s her sister – but Col, the son of a rival leader, is starting to get close enough to tell the difference. As the stakes grow higher and higher, Frey must decide whether she can trust him – or anyone in her life.