Uglies: Cutters TP (Manga)
Publisher: Del Rey
Release Date: December 2012
Creators: Written by Scott Westerfield and Devin Grayson; Illustrated by Steven Cummings
Format: 176 pgs.; Black & White; Trade Paperback
Age Rating: Teen
ICv2 Rating: 3 Stars out of 5
This continues the series about a group of teens who are forced to become beautiful. No, really. In their world, at a certain age everyone is forced to undergo cosmetic surgery and join the ranks of the beautiful-but-unemployed, and forced to endure a life of luxury. No hardship, but no freedom. Oddly, this all occurs near what seems to be the ruins of older cities and various other clues and traces.
Uglies are adolescents too young to have undergone this change, so the title is a misnomer. It's about former Uglies who are now Pretties who want to have the freedom of Uglies again.
The graphic novel totally fails to address the peculiarities of the world, and focuses narrowly on the characters, with moderate success. In terms of world-building, this volume contains hints about the group that really runs things, but no more than that.
Fans of the series will enjoy this volume, but it will not stand alone. Without the background story, it will be difficult for new readers to understand the world in which the story takes place, or why we should care about the characters. The advanced-but-weird technology and the society all need a running start.
Still, the story has tension and excitement, and is the nicest-looking dystopia ever presented. The manga-style art works well with the mixture of beauty and creepiness in the story, and the series of novels is a popular starting point for these graphic novels.
--Nick Smith: Librarian Technician, Community Services, for the Pasadena Public Library in California.