Tuesday, February 2, 2016

A More Detailed Explanation About My Feelings Over Uglies

I read the Uglies series by Scott Westerfeld years ago. In fact, those books are part of the group of books that I lump together as teenager me's favorites. But I don't talk about Uglies all that much anymore. There are a lot of reasons for that. One of them is that it's just been so long since I read it, but another is definitely that I am still not over the ending. In fact, when I do mention Uglies, it seems to come up in tag posts or videos that I do more than anything else, and it's almost always me complaining about how I'm unhappy with the ending. That's the only thing about the book that I ever highlight. It's my poster child for unsatisfying endings.

You might think then that this would be a post where I said something else about the series then, but you would be wrong. I do have plenty of other things I could talk about. One big one would be about how everyone else who reads these books seems to come away with entirely different opinions about the characters than I have, which has always confused me. But maybe I'll go there another day.

For now I actually want to talk more about how I feel about the ending of the Uglies series. I decided it was needed after yet another tag where I included a vague answer about my feelings. I realized that I've never talked about it in much detail because I try to keep the answer short and avoid spoiling the entire series. I don't know how much I've actually disclosed about what I dislike about the ending.

I'm not going to turn this into an analysis for why I'm right using evidence from the text or anything like that. I don't even think this is something anyone can be right or wrong about anyway in my opinion. It's just how I feel about the characters and what happens to them.

Because of that, this is going to be brief. I've spent way too long setting up this post compared to what I actually want to say, but here we go. Fair warning, spoilers for the first three Uglies books follows:

I hate David as a character. I hated him from the first book. When I think back on it, it might have been the first time I had such a strong, negative reaction to a fictional character. Mostly, I hated him because of what he did to Shay, who was my second favorite character of the series (something that seems to be an unpopular opinion). Don't get me wrong, I blame Tally for it too, and I'm not always that fond of her either. (Again, thinking back, I realize that Uglies was the first time I hated a main character yet realized I could genuinely enjoy the book.)

Funnily enough, I also didn't like Zane at first. That was because I was suspicious of him, but then it turned out that my suspicion was unfounded. After that, I realized that he was excellent, and he became my favorite character in the series.

It's not going to surprise anyone that I wanted my favorite character to wind up with Tally over the character I hate. (It would have actually been great if he'd survived the series, if nothing else. That also would have been nice.) There's more to my anger over the ending though. What made it relatively okay for me is that Tally and David aren't actually together in the end. They're just heading in that direction.

My feelings towards Tally and David aren't only about Zane though. I don't feel like David ever truly feels sorry about what he did to Shay whereas I did feel that from Tally (I know people would disagree with that.), and maybe I should see that as a small thing in the grand scheme of things. I just can't. It feels like it becomes even worse with the ending.

None of this is to say I feel real anger about the ending (I did at one point), and it's not to say I would criticize Scott Westerfeld as a writer for ending it the way he did. It's not personally what I wanted, but I don't think it was badly done. I do want to make that clear. It's not a bad ending in that sense. It's just not my preferred ending or what I wanted.

I'm not sure how well I worded any of this. Once I started, I realized I had more details to share than I realized, and I don't know if I put it all together in the most coherent way possible. I also admit that I should re-read the books and see how I feel now. Maybe I'll do that after I get through all the other re-reads I want to do now that I've finished my Harry Potter re-read.

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