by Ally Condie
Big Themes: Escape, Survival, Freedom, Love, Trust, Poetry
*Second Book in Series–Some Minor 1st Book Spoilers*
Summary: Cassia goes out in search of Ky, who was taken by the Society. Ky struggles to survive where the Society has placed him. While Cassia is searching, she learns more about the Rising, the rebel force that opposes the Society.
What I Liked:
Xander: I liked that he pops up throughout the novel, and that Cassia’s feelings for him are unresolved. I still like Xander more than Ky. Xander is strong, quick-witted, plotting, and supposedly handsome. I’m hoping there will be much more of him in Reached.
Seeing both Ky and Cassia’s POVs: I liked knowing where each of them was and what they were thinking. It allowed me to better understand Ky, and while I still don’t like him as much as Xander, I understand him a little better.
The Blue Tablet Twist: I don’t want to ruin this for anyone, but I liked this little development. I don’t know if I like how it was handled with Cassia, but see my dislikes for how all the characters are being sheltered from real threat.
The Canyon Caves: This was an interesting and unique setting. From the cave paintings, to the hidden tunnels, to the smell of sage, this made the setting memorable. I do wish the setting had played a more active role in the plot because I think there were more possibilities for how the setting could have presented unique challenges or how the setting could have been used against the Society.
What I Didn’t Like:
Lack of Voice: While I liked getting both Ky and Cassia’s points-of-view, more than once I found myself getting confused as to who was narrating because their voices were indistinguishable. I’d have to flip back to the start of chapter to see whose name was there. Ky and Cassia are such different characters. They should have different voices. If the author was going to introduce a new narrator in the second book, then voice is something that should have been considered and addressed.
Lack of Threat/Tension: Characters die in this book. The threat of the Society is referred to constantly. But do we ever see a character die at the hands of the Society? No. Every single death happens “off-screen.” I have a problem with that because it seems to me that the author is sheltering and protecting her characters. As a writer myself, I understand that your characters are your babies, but they have to experience the world. Because all the deaths in this book happened off-screen, I never felt like there was a serious threat. I never felt tension. Did J.K. Rowling kill Sirius, Dumbledore, Dobby, Snape “off screen”? No. The threat of Voldemort was real. The danger was real. The characters weren’t sheltered. What the author really needs to do for Reached, is make a list of every terrible thing that could happen to the characters, and then make the characters go through all those terrible things. It forces the characters to grow and show you what they’re made off. It keeps the reader on the edge of their seat. It would make Reached an epic final book in this trilogy. But I have my doubts as to whether that’s what will happen…
My Rating: Everyone was telling me that if I didn’t liked Matched, then I really wouldn’t like Crossed because it wasn’t very exciting. So I went into the book expecting to hate it. I didn’t hate it. It was kind of just the same as Matched for me. There were some parts that were interesting. Some things that weren’t executed well. I’d give it three stars. I’ll probably still read Reached to finish out the trilogy (mostly for Xander).
And I have a theory about Dystopian trilogies… And why they are tough to pull off as trilogies… And why Dystopias work better as stand alone novels… But I’ll save that for after my Dystopian class this summer. 🙂