scott westerfeld

Impostors Book Review

“Frey and Rafi are inseparable . . . two edges of the same knife. But Frey's very existence is a secret.

Frey is Rafi’s twin sister—and her body double. Their powerful father has many enemies, and the world has grown dangerous as the old order falls apart. So while Rafi was raised to be the perfect daughter, Frey has been taught to kill. Her only purpose is to protect her sister, to sacrifice herself for Rafi if she must.

When her father sends Frey in Rafi’s place as collateral in a precarious deal, she becomes the perfect impostor—as poised and charming as her sister. But Col, the son of a rival leader, is getting close enough to spot the killer inside her. As the deal starts to crumble, Frey must decide if she can trust him with the truth . . . and if she can risk becoming her own person.

With Impostors, master storyteller Scott Westerfeld returns with a new series set in the world of his mega-bestselling Uglies—a world full of twist and turns, rebellion and intrigue, where any wrong step could be Frey’s last.”

I first started reading Scott Westerfeld’s YA novels years ago. To this day I regularly recommend his Uglies book series for fans of dystopian novels. When I heard that he was returning to the Uglies world with a new book, I was ecstatic. It’s the first time in quite a while that I’ve gone to a bookstore to get a book as soon as it came out.

Book: Impostors

Author: Scott Westerfeld

Genre: YA Science Fiction

Rating: 4/5

A New Exciting Look at What Happens After the Revolution Ends

Years after the revolution ends and Tally Youngblood vanishes, society has re-built. For some cities, the changes have been for the better. For other cities, citizens aren’t as free as Tally Youngblood probably envisioned.

Impostors is a fast-paced story with memorable, fleshed-out characters and an extensive look at what happens to society after a revolution ends. Once I picked it up I couldn’t put it down. At times I found myself skimming sentences because I was so eager to see what would happen next.

The action started right away and pretty much never stopped. There weren’t very many quiet moments in this novel, including much time for reflection. And yet, Westerfeld manages to craft masterful character development. Frey is a joy to read. She’s a strong girl who never lets her fears or psychological scars stop her from going after her goals.

Frey made this book. She’s fierce and strong, but still expresses vulnerability. As someone who was raised to be a body double, whose only purpose was to die for her sister, who doesn’t even exist in any official capacity, you would expect her to be a more jaded, cold individual. But her love for her sister is unbreakable and her feelings for Col are solid from early on.

You don’t need to read the Uglies series to understand this novel, but without the world-building from the previous four books you may find yourself a bit lost. Impostors makes quite a few nods and references to the first four books in the series. While this is fun for me, it may be confusing for a new reader.

What I love most about this book though is that we get to see what happens after the revolution is over. In dystopian novels the entire book (or book series) focuses on changing the social order and upending governmental policies. I love those stories, don’t get me wrong, but it is very rare that you get to see what happens when those goals are met. How does society rebuild after being broken? How do people move on after being set free?

Impostors shows us that there is no easy answer for this. In some cities, freedom and privacy are highly protected. In others, leaders rule in an absolute dictatorship, censoring the media and spying on every aspect of civilian and government life. And on the outskirts are the rebels, the ones who helped this revolution begin in the first place, still fighting for their own extreme ideological ideals.

Raising a body double certainly isn’t a new idea, but the political motivations for everything Frey and Rafia’s father have done over the course of their lives was honestly shocking. Raising Frey to die for Rafia wasn’t as simple as a chess move for power, though, it was rooted in fear after the death of their older brother. There’s a lot of layers built into this story and the ending has promised me it’s only going to get more complicated.

There are only a couple reasons this book didn’t get a 5/5 from me, but they’re pretty big ones. The first is simply that the romantic relationship between Frey and Col happened too quickly for me to believe. I didn’t feel their chemistry and I would have liked to see their relationship develop more organically over the course of the book.

My second reason for dropping the rating had to do with the chapter lengths. This is a personal pet peeve of mine so it won’t bother everyone, but I hated how short the chapters were. In most sections the content of three chapters could have been condensed into one. By having so many chapter breaks I actually felt jarred out of the story.

Overall, Impostors makes a great addition to the Uglies universe, with strong characters and a fast-paced plot. I can’t wait to read what happens next.