Author: Scott Westerfield
My recommended age: Adults (if self mutilation doesn't bother you)
Interest Level: 9 - 12
Lexile Level: 880L
Grade Level Equivalent: 5.6
Genre/Theme: Science Fiction

Tally has undergone another operation, a more sinister, evil change.  The government has turned her into a "special".  A superhuman fighting machine, whose purpose in life is take care of anyone that threatens to destroy the government's way of doing things.  In addition, Tally and her friends are more than just specials, they are part of an elite group called "cutters", teens who cut themselves in order to gain clarity of mind, control and focus.  Tally is given a chance to take care of the New Smoke rebellion forever.  Will she do it, or remember what she was fighting for all of those years ago as a rebellious ugly?

This book finally pushed the envelope for me.  The notion of what Tally had been turned into, killer teeth and fingernails, with no conceivable conscious, was just awful.  Additionally, the notion of "cutting" was so disturbing that I really should have put the book down.  Being the heathen that I am, curiosity got the best of me and I finished the story.  I found it to be just ok, but I was really disappointed with the ending.  This book was so "blah" that I didn't bother to read the Extras (you'll have to find another heathen for an opinion of that one).


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