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A High-Octane Thriller in a Post-Pretty World: Imposters by Scott Westerfeld

Sunday, November 25th, 2018 | Posted by Elizabeth Galewski

Impostors Scott Westerfeld-small Impostors Scott Westerfeld-back-small

Bullets fly as an assassin shoots up the ballroom with an assault rifle. On stage, teenager Frey huddles behind a fallen table with her twin sister Rafia, taking cover. Rafia just finished delivering her first public speech when the attack began. In the audience, people die.

Frey has been training for this moment her entire life. She’s probably going to fall under the bullets, but that doesn’t matter. The only thing that does is saving Rafia. Grabbing her military-grade pulse knife, she rises from the table and rushes the gunman.

He never even has a chance.

Frey isn’t just her sister’s body double. She’s also Rafia’s secret last line of defense. She knows how to use every weapon with lethal force, as well as every quotidian object – scarves, tablets, vases. Rafia was born twenty-six minutes before her, so she’s the heir. Their father, a ruthless dictator, rules over the city-state of Shreve.

Successfully taking down the assassin, Frey feels giddy with triumph. Finally, she has done what she was born to do. Better yet, the way the attack went down, no one saw there are two Rafias. The secret of Frey’s existence has been preserved.

In the fight, Rafia only sustained a scratch on her face. The doctors will add a scar to Frey as well. But Frey refuses the anesthetic.

“It hurt, didn’t it, Rafi?” she asks.

“Splinters in my face?” She laughs. “Yeah, a lot.”

“Then it should hurt me, too.”

Scott Westerfeld has done it again. Set in the same dystopian world as his stunning Uglies series after the fall of the Pretty Regime, Impostors is a high-octane thriller in which the remnants of humanity are busy ruining the environment yet again. Frey’s father has mined all the metal in his own territory, so he turns his greedy gaze to the neighboring city-state of Victoria, ruled by the Palafox family. To convince the Palafoxes to ally with him and allow his troops to enter their realm – ostensibly to help fight against rebels – he gives them a hostage to guarantee his good behavior: Rafia.

Except he doesn’t send Rafia. He sends Frey.

When Frey gets to the Palafoxes’ compound, it’s hard for her to tell she’s a prisoner. For the first time in her life, she doesn’t have to hide her existence. It’s Rafia, back home, who has to pretend not to exist. Even as a hostage, Frey feels freer than she ever has before.

Until she realizes that her father never intended her mission to succeed. Viewing her as expendable, he sent her there precisely to fail.

Scholastic Press released Impostors on Sept. 11, 2018. It climbed to #4 on the New York Times bestseller list for YA hardcover on Sept. 30th. These heights aren’t new territory for Westerfeld, whose Uglies books spent more than fifty weeks there. The hardcover is price at $18.99, and digital versions at $11.99. To read the first 25 pages, point your browser here.

A trailer on Westerfeld’s official author’s website suggests that three more novels are planned for this series.


Elizabeth Galewski is the author of The Wish-Granting Jewel, a fantasy novel, and Butterfly Valley, a tale of travel and transformation based on true events. To learn more, please visit her official author’s website at www.elizabethgalewski.com.

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