Saturday, December 8, 2012
Reached, by Ally Condie- Review
After leaving Society and desperately searching for the Rising—and each other—Cassia and Ky have found what they were looking for, but at the cost of losing each other yet again: Cassia has been assigned to work for the Rising from within Society, while Ky has been stationed outside its borders. But nothing is as predicted, and all too soon the veil lifts and things shift once again.
This series has been hit or miss for me. I enjoyed Matched, the first book quite a bit, then thought the second book Crossed was a bit slow and deviated more than I liked from Matched, where I primarily was intrigued by the mysteries surrounding Cassia, her family and the Society. I held my final word on Crossed, thinking it was possible it would work much better once it was book ended by both Matched and Reached.
So when I saw John Green raving about the end to the series and how perfect he thought it was, I thought Ah ha! It worked out, good, good. And raced out to buy it.
Now I have mixed feelings on Reached. I didn't love it, and I certainly didn't dislike it, but I have opinions. If you haven't read the first two books then read no further for fear of spoilage.
What I really, really loved in Matched was the quiet creepiness, the dark corners full of mysteries, the blithe happiness with an undertone of horror when Cassia starts to wonder if her life is completely pre-determined or if her choices are hers to make. Since Cassia was free of the Society for the complete second book, none of this was a major theme anymore. Sure there were reveals, and mysteries aplenty, but it just didn't have the same quality at all. As far as the whole question of choice went, since Cassia was free of the Society it wasn't a worry, any longer, that her choices weren't her own, instead it was just a constant questioning of if her choices were right.
Reached came back to the whole question of choice, control, and what choices were ultimately hers, or made for her in some tricky way Cassia was completely unaware of. I loved that, and I enjoyed Cassia's strength and initiative, and her questioning of everything, Society, the Rising, everything. The Rising was every bit as intriguing as the Society, and Cassia's view of it caught my interest.
But Cassia's wasn't the only view point of the story. The reader also follows Ky (whose every move is for Cassia) and Xander (whose every move is for the Rising and therefore Cassia). I liked how Condie opened a window into the boys perspective, it helped show many different sides of the Rising and the Society, but it also explained so much more about the group dynamic between the three of them then you ever got from Cassia.
Although there were some Oh! moments, I was disappointed there weren't as many shocking reveals as I'd expected. Really, some of the reveals were more like quiet hypotheses. I also felt there wasn't enough hope inspired by the Rising in Crossed, therefore when the Cassia starts to question it in Reached I didn't feel the floor fall out from under me. I would have liked that feeling. Really, Reached was as quiet as Matched, but without the seductive creepiness of the unknown lurking around the corners.
Now lets talk about this bloody love triangle. I really liked what Condie was doing with it in Crossed, only to find she completely dropped it in Reached. Am I crazy? Wasn't Cassia questioning if Ky was the right choice once she found about them and the Rising?? There are no questions in Reached. None. And that felt like a loss. Which is weird because I normally loath love triangles, but I liked that Cassia felt she made choices based on incorrect information, and also that she was questioning if she was manipulated into her "choices" or not. I really liked the uncertainty.
Finally, I felt like Condie really dropped the emotional tie to Cassia's family in book the second, and most of book the third, so that when the big reunion came at the end I was all, bleh, whatever. This was obviously not a bleh moment. The paper flower, the discovery of it meaning and each persons role in it, and then the big tragedy, this should have been powerful heart tugging stuff. She should have been playing my emotions like a little emo violinist. But I didn't even shed a tear, and I'm a cryer people, a big sappy sober.
Although not the rousing finale I had hoped for, Reached was, however, more to my liking then Crossed. As a three part series, that you no longer have to wait a year between each part, it might have a slightly smoother read. But in the end, it didn't have the resonance or the clever twists I was looking forward to from the promise of Matched.
What did you think?
Reached, by Ally Condie
Published by Dutton Children's Books, November 13th, 2012
Buy Reached on Amazon