Synopsis: Special Circumstances. Tally thought they were a rumor, but now she's one of them. A Special. A super-amped fighting machine, engineered to keep the uglies down the the pretties stupid. But maybe being perfectly programmed with strength and focus isn't better than anything she's ever known. Tally still has memories of something else. But it's easy for her to tune that out--until she's offered a chance to stamp out the rebels of the New Smoke permanently. It all comes down to one last choice: listen to that tiny, faint heartbeat, or carry out the mission she's programmed to complete. Either way, Tally's world will never be the same.
First, I would like to point out that Tally never thought that Special Circumstances was a rumor. I would just like to make that clear. She had never even heard of Specials before, true, but that does not mean they were a rumor spoken to her. When she met Specials, she didn't even know what they were much less who they were so, no, Tally did not think Specials were rumors. Just to make that known.
This book was action-packed. I mean literally, Tally was at one battle, then another, and then another. The book starts out with her trying to stamp down the New Smoke's influence on New Pretty Town. And then it goes to rescuing Zane, which goes to destroying something, which goes to her and Shay taking off, which goes on and on until the end, which was a bang, might I add.
Tally has changed so much during her journey through the three books. First she was ugly, sentenced to be ugly unless she found Shay. And when she did, she put aside all of her selfish feelings in trying to help the New Smoke thrive. When she was a pretty, she was battling for control over her brain. And now in Specials, she's battling against herself, fighting the instincts that the city placed in her versus her own natural feelings. And all of this happened in under a year. That's right, she's still sixteen in Specials. Freaky, huh?
There wasn't much love interest in these books. Westerfeld focused most of his writing on trying to help Tally get through her predicament(s) and trying to find herself through it all. But there was David and then there was Zane. I thought that Tally had her hands full trying to deal with newly found facts and her own raging thoughts, and I thought it might have been a too overcrowded book if Westerfeld had added more tension in Tally's love life.
Over all, Specials was awesome. I thought Tally grew so much more in this book and she really was different in thinking, too. I loved the pace Westerfeld had throughout the book, letting it crescendo and then slow. It was amazing and the end was perfect, not much of a cliffhanger, but also seeming like it would make way for another book. Which it somewhat did, for Westerfeld has made another book, Extras, but it doesn't focus on Tally so much as the aftermath of her actions. Best (to me) by far.
The Cover: This was my favorite cover. I loved Tally's flash tattoos and her plain makeup. I liked how the photographer made her look superior but also that she looked cautious and expectant, as if she was waiting for something to happen. It's wonderful in its simplistic beauty.