Review : Uglies – Shay’s Story

Uglies : Shay’s Story by Scott Westerfeld, Devin Grayson and Steven Cummings
Pages : 180
Genre : Graphic Novel, Science-Fiction
Series : Uglies (graphic novel), Book 1
My Rating :

What it’s about :

Shay is an Ugly, and like all Uglies, when she turns sixteen, she’ll be transformed into a beautiful, perfect Pretty. She’ll get new looks and move to the most interesting part of the town with all the other Pretties.

But then Shay meets the Crims, a group of teenagers who play tricks and like to explore outside the city limits. There Shay discovers a whole universe, and she starts to question whether she wants to become a Pretty at all.

My Thoughts :

I read the Uglies series a few years ago and absolutely loved it. With the Hunger Games, it’s one of my favorite YA series and one against which I measure all the new dystopian YA series. So of course I wouldn’t pass on a illustrated version of the series, and when I saw it at the store last week, I immediately grabbed it. I am so glad that I can say that I really enjoyed it.

First, I really liked the illustrations. I don’t read that many mangas and graphic novels, but when I do I love the style to be clean and clear. The characters really came alive and I loved how the scenes on the boards felt full of action. I could sense the movement and the danger, and it was exciting to see that what I had imagined from my reading of the story mostly matched what I saw in these illustrations.

The story itself was fun, though very predictable if you have read the books. There seem to be two trends right now for book series; new short stories to keep readers interested in between books’ publication, and direct adaptations of the books into graphic novels/mangas. Interestingly, Shay’s Story is a little of both; the story is almost the same as the one in Uglies, but from another character’s point of view. This mix of familiar and new worked really well for me, helping me remember the series while giving me the chance to discover Shay.

I have always loved Shay as a character. In the books, I always found her a bit mysterious. It was often difficult to understand her true motivations, desires and goals. While her complexity wasn’t as obvious here, I liked that we got to see how it all started for her. Seeing Tally, David and Zane was also really nice. I found it interesting how, seeing the story from another point of view, it was Tally now who became a little mysterious, intriguing.

This visual adaptation of Uglies does have a flaw, and in my opinion it’s a big one. While I loved the illustrator’s style, I felt there wasn’t enough difference in appearance between the Uglies, Pretties and Specials. I do remember that the Uglies are not necessarily ugly but normal, ordinary. For the purpose of a graphic novel though, I feel the contrast should have been bigger. It seemed that all the Pretties had different was a better hairstylist and a touch of makeup, and the Specials didn’t look that special either. This was a tiny bit disappointing.

Still I really appreciated reading it, and it made me want to reread the complete series. I am really happy to know there will be two more volumes following Shay’s Story, and I can’t wait to put my hands on them!

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4 responses to “Review : Uglies – Shay’s Story”

  1. Amanda says :

    I’m glad this ended up being good. I was worried about it, because Shay *isn’t* my favorite character. I kind of found her whiny and unfair in a lot of ways. But i would love to see this from her point of view, and see how that might change the way I think of her. I’ll be keeping an eye out for it.

    • zibilee says :

      I had wondered how the graphic representation of the different characters would come across as well, and I am not surprised to see that there were some difficulties there. I am still interested in this book though, and would love to read both it, and the origina series that spawned it. It is a rather interesting premise, and I know that my daughter loved the books. Very comprehensive and thoughtful review today. I loved that you included a sample of the graphics!

  2. BermudaOnion says :

    My husband loved The Uglies series too. I’ll have to look for this for him.

  3. talesofwhimsy says :

    Great honest review. I loooove the Uglies series too.

    Good point about the art work not really defining the Uglies, Pretties, and Specials.

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