Special Circumstances has sent chills down Tally's spine since her days as a repellent, rebellious Ugly. Back then, Specials were a sinister rumor- frighteningly beautiful, dangerously strong, breathtakingly fast. Ordinary Pretties might live their whole lives without meeting a Special. But Tally's never been ordinary.
And now she's been turned into one of them: a super-amped fighting machine, engineered to keep the Uglies down and the Pretties stupid.
The strength, the speed, and the clarity and focus of her thinking feel better than anything Tally can remember. Most of the time. One tiny corner of her heart still remembers something more.
Still, it's easy to tune that out- until Tally's offered a chance to stamp out the rebels of the New Smoke permanently. It all comes down to one last choice: listen to that tiny, faint heartbeat, or carry out the mission she's programmed to complete. Either way, Tally's world will never be the same.
After the Rusty Crash, the survivors of the world came up with the Pretty Operation- a series of plastic surgeries that were given to everyone on their sixteenth birthdays to make them super-beautiful. They were also secretly given brain lesions that hampered their creativity and critical thinking, rendering them vapid, compliant, and unaggressive. Consequently, the average Pretty couldn't handle any threat, so a new type of Pretty was created. Inhumanly fast, strong, and ruthless, these "Specials" were perfectly engineered to deal with all types of special circumstances.