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Specials by Scott Westerfeld

If you’ve read this far into the series, then I think you can figure out what’s happened to Tally Youngblood. For those of you that haven’t, but are still reading this, I’ll keep the spoilers to a minimum in the first couple of paragraphs. At the end of Pretties, Tally’s former friend Shay had a new trick up her sleeve: she’d turned into a Special, one of Dr. Cables surgically-altered attack dogs trained specifically for optimal performance outside city walls. Specials monitor activity outside of New Pretty Town, making sure no one dares to challenge the authority of the government. If they do, there’s a unique future ahead of them. It involves razor sharp teeth, nails, and senses fine-tuned for ultra-clarity. Specials are made to be tough and indestructible. Their bones are replaced with high-grade materials designed for light weight and fast movement; their tendons and muscles are similar. With bodies full of swarming nanos ready to repair any damage, Specials are as much construct as they are human. These cyborgs are kept as a threat to their fellow citizens who fear their power as much as they fear wolfish eyes and cruelly-angled faces. Specials were designed to be feared.

With the exaggerated features and artificial enhancements, Specials have an elevated sense of themselves. Their egos are blown out of proportion and they’re quick to anger. Shay’s group of Specials are culled from the Pretty clique known as the Cutters. Despite their physical advantages, they feel the need to cut themselves, achieving the same bubbly clarity from pain that Pretties got from a rush of adrenaline. Specials, though, need to be extra bubbly: they need to be icy. With their overconfidence and new slang, the Cutters go around finding Uglies and Pretties trying to make their way out to the New Smoke. Among these runaways are the ringleaders--David, Tally’s former boyfriend, Maddy, his mother and mass producer of the Pretty cure, the other old Smokies, and a new recruit, Andrew Simpson Smith, one time experiment and full-time freedom fighter.

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