Specials by Scott Westerfeld

*Spoiler alert- this is a review of the third book in the series*

Tally has suffered the ultimate abuse of her rights, but once again she can’t remember it.

Without her consent she has become one of Shay’s Cutters, a living, thinking creation that bears less and less resemblance to a human as more and more of her has been cut away and replaced with something ‘better’. She has sensors in her fingertips, her bones have been replaced with aircraft material whilst her muscles have become self-healing fibres stronger than she could imagine. Strangest of all though is her skintenna which means that she has become permanently linked to the other members of the Cutters; now they are never alone.

There is no escape, and why would anyone want to leave the group anyway? Tally is a Special, and a special one at that.

She has been training in the wild for months with her new equipment and extreme reflexes. She is ready for her first mission. How can the new Smokies hope to stand against Dr Cable’s elite force now?

But things don’t go completely as planned and following a meeting with a sickly friend Tally and Shay find themselves breaking into the armoury of Special Circumstances with little thought for the consequences.

This time things truly spiral out of control.

The danger escalates into a scene resembling warlike Rusty behaviour, lines are crossed and events are set into motion with outcomes that no amount of surgery can repair.

Soon it all comes down to Tally. But what is left of her? And is she prepared to take responsibility for her actions?

Within Westerfeld’s fast-paced series there are repeated themes of human awareness and finding beauty in more than just appearance, but there are also the ever-more pressing issues of finding a balance between human needs and those of the planet, and of having the strength of will to remain true to yourself no matter the actions of those around you.

In this Tally is a true hero, managing to find her own path right to the very last page.

A must for fans of speculative fiction and action-packed tales set in dystopian futures. Of particular interest to fans of ‘The Hunger Games’ and ‘Divergent’ trilogies.