Book Review: Crossed

by Ally Condie
Genre: Dystopian
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.  🙂

16 comments on “Book Review: Crossed

  1. I just got Matched, so I didn't read your review (you know how crazy I am about spoilers, so thanks for that warning!). I'll have to come back and read it once I've read Matched!

  2. In my opinion, I think the book was really just a bridge novel to connect Matched and Reached. It didn't really serve a purpose, it was just them running around in the desert the whole time and Cassia going, "oh woe is me, Xander? Ky? weah weah" Okay enough of that. I did really enjoy it lol I SWEAR!Anna @ Literary Exploration

  3. Debz says:

    I agree that the voices were pretty much indistinguishable. They were nice and everything, but they were the same. I've heard that Reached will have Xander's voice thrown in there as well, so we'll definitely be getting a peek into his mind, but hopefully it won't sound just like Cassia or Ky. Thanks for the great review!

  4. LHughes says:

    I'll be curious what you think!

  5. LHughes says:

    I definitely see Crossed as a bridge novel too. Very little actual plot development.It kind of reminded me of camping and looking for Horcruxes… LOL "Whine Whine! What's the plan, Harry?" "Whine Whine! Where's Ky and where's the Rising?"

  6. LHughes says:

    Eeek! I'd love if we had some of Xander's POV! I think his head is going to be pretty interesting with all his strategy and planning and secrets :)Hopefully his voice is distinguishable though…

  7. Aylee says:

    Hmm, I guess I'm not surprised by this review, but I'm still bummed out because I was really hoping for so much more in this sequel. I was fine with the slow pacing and lack of character development in Matched because I felt it suited the book and Cassia – because she was being brainwashed to be like everyone else, just sort of bland – but I always assumed she would come into her own in Crossed now that she is free to be herself for once. So it's too bad that she is still bland. Especially if as a reader, you don't have high stakes in the plot either because the stakes are so low. I don't know, I still plan on reading it because I did like Matched but I think it's a good thing that I'll be going into it with lowered expectations now.

  8. Yeaaaahhhh Xander was really all I liked in this book.

  9. I didn't really adore Matched, to be honest, though I desperately wanted to. Unfortunately, when I had my ARC of Crossed, I didn't like it enough to even finish it, so I could review it.I appreciate your thoughts on this one though! Great review 🙂

  10. LHughes says:

    My theory about dystopian trilogies is that it's hard to pull off a sequel because the "fascinating but terrible" society that the author creates necessitates the protagonist running away/escaping/rebelling. So what fascinated us about the world the author created often shifts in the second book because the character runs away from it.I think this was a big reason why people didn't enjoy Crossed as much. We lost the idea of Matching that was so fascinating and the tension of them sneaking around behind the Society's back.I want to develop this idea more, and do a post using well-know dystopians that were successful or not.

  11. LHughes says:

    Yeah, I'm hopeful there will be A LOT of Xander in Reached. She set it up that way… So I'm hopeful…

  12. LHughes says:

    I didn't really adore Matched either! I wanted to like it because so many others did, but the romance wasn't there for me and I found it kind of slow. I liked the premise of Matching and the world-building though…Thanks for stopping by!

  13. Great review! I thought Matched was okay but I didn't really enjoy Crossed. I found the two perspectives confusing and the storyline just lost it's interest to me! Thanks for the review. I totally agree with you! Following your blog! Feel free to check out mine!SeeitORreadit

  14. LHughes says:

    I totally agree with you about losing interest in the plot. It happened to me about 40% into the book.Thanks for stopping by! I'm going to check out your review 🙂

  15. fakesteph says:

    I loved Matched, but I'm still struggling through Crossed. I'll force myself to finish after Reached comes out so that I can finish the trilogy.

  16. LHughes says:

    Crossed was for sure a slow read. I will read Reached, but mostly because I hear there will be a lot of Xander and I love his character 🙂

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