Extras (Uglies #4) by Scott Westerfeld | Book Review + Discussion

Title: Extras
Author: Scott Westerfeld
Publication: October 2nd 2007 by Simon Pulse
Format: Paperback, 399 pages
Source: Personal Purchase from Fullybooked
Plot in a Nutshell:

Extras, the final book in the Uglies series, is set a couple of years after the mind-rain, a few earth-shattering months in which the whole world woke up. The cure has spread from city to city, and the pretty regime that kept humanity in a state of bubbleheadedness has ended. Boundless human creativity, new technologies, and old dangers have been unleashed upon the world. Culture is splintering, the cities becoming radically different from each other as each makes its own way into this strange and unpredictable future . . . 

One of the features of the new world is that everyone has a “feed,” which is basically their own blog/myspace/tv channel. The ratings of your feed (combined with how much the city interface overhears people talking about you) determines your social status–so everyone knows at all times how famous they are. 

As Scott Westerfeld explored the themes of extreme beauty in the first three Uglies books, now he takes on the world’s obsession with fame and popularity. And how anyone can be an instant celebrity.

– Synopsis from Goodreads

Thoughts in General:

Okay, the trilogy with Tally Youngblood as the main protagonist was really cool and edgy which was why I liked it so much. This companion novel lived up to the glory of the original story line although there were some minor issues I had with it. The characters were mostly new faces yet totally interesting, the setting was awesome as usual and the plot was just crazy exciting as ever. We don’t really get to see what happens after the big “take-downs” in dystopian novels so I am glad that Scott Westerfeld wrote this book because Extras made the series much more satisfying. 
Thoughts in Detail (CONTAINS SPOILERS):
Characters
The book mainly revolves around Aya Fuse who is an ugly who wants to become totally famous. In the beginning I could identify with her need for attention (because that is how their society works) and she reminded me of the old Tally which was great. However as the book progressed I started to get annoyed with her. There were moments in the book that I felt like she was just too superficial to grasp the gravity of her situation (i.e. when they were stuck on that jungle and those freaks were chasing them and all she cared about was the fact that her hovercam wasn’t in the area to kick everything). I have a feeling that people either like her or hate her. To be completely truthful I really liked her as a character.
The side characters in this book was also fun to read about. Hiro Fuse, Aya’s arrogant brother, bugged me at times but he pulled through and I enjoyed his comic relief. Ren Machino, Hiro’s best bud and tech-head extraordinaire, was such a tool at times but he was pretty useful and efficient. Frizz Mizuno, Aya’s love interest, really aggravated me with his Radical Honesty and I wasn’t that fond of him at all. The Sly Girls (I’ll be talking about them in general) were mysterious and had a short-lived appearance in the book however their mag-lev hoverboard tricks were crazy and adrenaline-pumping for me as the reader. Moggle, the hovercam, was such a fun bonus into the book. He felt like Aya’s beloved pet and I enjoyed that element of whimsy.
And some old faces returned and I felt excited to see them once more, a little older but kickass as ever. 
Setting
The book was set three years after the epic conclusion of Specials and the mind-rain (the pills that cured bubbleheadedness) reached the entire world including this version of Japan. You might think that the setting was exactly the same but it wasn’t. The culture of Aya’s world had some distinct features in them that made it unique. 
First off, the reputation economy (where fame and good merits acted as the currency in their city) was just crazy bananas. The way to measure people of being rich or being poor was dependent on their face value ranking which was a cool concept however the repercussion of always finding the latest gossip or kicks was present. 
Scott Westerfeld, to me at least, kind of foresaw what our current society can become with this book and the probable effects of what social media could evolve to. I admire his world-building skills so much I wished I had his creativity.  
Story
If Uglies focused on the vitality of beauty the theme of Extras was all about the importance and price of fame. The thing I liked about these books was the ever present themes it had on current problems that we are facing in our society. Aya’s hunger for fame and the way she conquered it and the effects of it shows that fame wasn’t always a good thing and Aya learned that the hard way.
The twist on this book was just crazy (I know I used this word a lot today). It was foreshadowed but I didn’t expect it to be true! I really liked how unconventional that turn of events was and not everything was black and white.
Rating:
I really enjoyed Extras so I give it a…
It’s official the Uglies series are my favorite dystopian novels ever!
What did you guys think of this review? Did you agree/disagree with what I’ve said? Please don’t hesitate to comment down below! 

Happy Reading, 
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