Publisher: Scholastic Press
Author: Scott Westerfeld
Released: September 11th 2018
It’s hard to believe that after a decade, the Uglies series is being revived. Scott Westerfeld has decided to go back to the series, and I’ll admit more than a passing curiosity for what motivated him there. Still, beggars can’t be choosers, right? And I couldn’t be happier.
So, technically Imposters is actually the start of its own series, as opposed to being the fifth book in the Uglies series. It is, however, based in the same world, and the events that happened in the previous books are still considered cannon.
Imposters is set a decade after the Uglies series ended, if not more. Tally is little more than a legend, an idol that people recall and still look up to. Nobody that Frey (the main perspective) knows has ever met Tally, not that it’d be safe to admit that. Not in her father’s city, anyway.
Frey is a twin, but she and her sister are very different, while still being so striking similar. All their differences were manufactured by her father. Where Frey was learned to fight, kill, and protect, Rafi was trained to be sociable, polite, and remarkable. The world only knows about one of them, and that’s the way their father wants it.
Upon reading the description it’s pretty clear that Imposers has sort of a King Louie vibe to it. Two twins, both with the potential to rule, but only one of them given the opportunity. Sounds familiar, right? Of course, knowing Scott Westerfeld, it wasn’t hard to assume that he’d apply his own twist on the trope.
Frey is the main perspective, and thus the twin we get to know better throughout the course of the book. Which is ironic, considering most of her world doesn’t, or rather, didn’t, know that she existed. Her whole purpose in live was to protect Rafi, even to the point of sacrificing herself. It’s heartbreaking to think that a child would be raised to think like that…but when looking back on rulers in the past, this wasn’t an unheard of occurrence (not the twin part, per se, but everything else).
Despite her upbringing, or maybe in spite of it, Frey is a witty, brilliant, and loving person. She adores her sister with everything she has, which is probably the only thing her father truly succeeded in accomplishing with her – because Frey would sacrifice herself to save Rafi, without hesitate. But I also believe that Frey would sacrifice herself to save anybody that she cares for – as proven again and again in this novel.
Rafi was also an intriguing character, and a lot of that had to do with us not knowing her as well. Her personality traits and motivations were revealed much more slowly than Frey’s were. And unlike Frey, we didn’t have an eagle eye view into her thoughts, so even then we had reason to question the truth of her words of motivation behind them. There was one major reveal about her that I absolutely adored. It wasn’t the reveal (though that was quite good) as much as the logic behind it, both what was happening and how it was discovered. It was very well done.
I love how political this novel ended up being. You could see the movements Frey’s father was making, and even understand his reasoning (even if you didn’t even remotely agree with it). Likewise I could see what Col’s family was doing, and while I respected their actions a whole lot more, I likewise understood what they were trying to accomplish.
There were plot twists and revelations I didn’t see coming, and if I’m being honest I couldn’t be happier about it. While the core of the plot may not have been terribly unique, the way Scott Westerfeld portrayed it made all the difference, turning it into a unique telling once again.
I’ll admit that the main plot didn’t remind me as much of the Uglies as I had anticipated. I think I’m okay with that, on the whole, especially since the book was so good. That being said, the fight scenes in particular really reminded me of the old series I loved so much. Perhaps it was the tech, or the way Westerfeld writes his action scenes…but it felt like I was coming back home in those moments – even despite the intensity of those points.
I was a little sad that Tally was little more than a reference in this book…but at the same time I had to admit that if anybody deserved a chance to take a break for a while, it’s her. She’s been through enough, don’t you think? Though I’d be curious to see what she has to say about the state of the world as it stands.
As I mentioned earlier, Imposters is the first is a new series by Westerfeld. Conveniently, the series is also the name of the first book. I don’t know what’s going to happen in the next one, or even when it will be coming out. But I can assure you that I’m looking forward to it.