July 5, 2013

Reached by Ally Condie

If you let hope inside, it takes you over. It feeds on your insides and uses your bones to climb and grow. Eventually it becomes the thing that is your bones, that holds you together. Holds you up until you don't know how to live without it anymore. To pull it out of you would kill you entirely. 
-from Reached by Ally Condie

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Please be advised that this review will contain spoilers for Matched and Crossed, the first two books in this series by Ally Condie.

The final book in the Matched Trilogy by Ally Condie, Reached begins with Cassia, Ky and Xander all separated again, but all three working for The Rising, the rebel cause focused on taking down The Society. Cassia is sorting in Central, Ky is a pilot for The Rising and Xander is working undercover as an Official and physic for The Society; Xander is secretly replacing The Society's immunizations with those developed by The Rising with immunity to their red pills that make citizens forget things. When a mysterious plague breaks out among The Society, The Rising comes to power with the cure. But when The Plague mutates and nobody has a cure for its mutation, society begins to fall apart as a whole. Together Cassia, Ky and Xander must work together to find a cure to save all the ones they love and rebuild a society that benefits everyone. 

Let me warn you: I was painfully disappointed by this book, especially being that it's the final book in this series. For one, you know how Crossed left a huge cliffhanger in that Cassia doesn't know Xander is part of The Rising? Well, let me save you the disappointment by telling you that you get virtually no fulfillment of this cliffhanger other than Cassia acknowledging, "Oh, yeah, so Xander is part of The Rising and I figured as much..." [paraphrased]. I wanted to throw my book, err Kindle, when I read this. I was waiting ever so patiently with my breath held to see what this bomb of information would lead to. Nothing. Usually I try not to put any spoilers in my reviews, so I apologize if you are offended by this information, but I was offended by the nonchalance in which it was handled! [insert sad face] Maybe it's because I'm totally Team Xander, but I could not believe how that interaction was grazed over. 

And it's not the only part where I felt completely robbed of emotional connectedness to the story and the characters. This whole book felt like a forced read because it was lacking the emotion of the first two books. I practically hated Cassia and Ky by the end of this book and how their convenient love story is just flaunted to Xander throughout. Cassia and Ky became too over-dramatic for my taste (and I'm pretty dramatic, guys). I don't know what I would expect them to do, I don't know how I would write the story, but this book felt forced, overcomplicated and disjointed. This book is told in alternating perspectives of Cassia, Ky and now Xander which initially I thought was wonderful. But it gets so frustrating when Condie switched characters and never gives resolution to what the previous person was talking about.  It's so disjointed! Maybe it would have been better split into two books so that Condie wouldn't feel so bad about adding more mushiness between all the sterility. Yeah, I said it, I want more mushiness.

I realized upon finishing this book that one thing that makes a good series is sticking with what you started. I feel like Matched begins as a young adult, even teen, dystopian story about young love and trying to understand the world, but it ends as a full blown science fiction with more medical information than I cared to read. I felt kind of slighted as a reader, I didn't sign up for book 3. 

So all of this said, I must also include that Condie continues to write beautifully. Her word choice, the way she foils her characters in ways you wouldn't have imagined, unexpected realizations- these all make for ultimately a well-thought out story. I only wish she would have stayed more true to the first two books when she put it all together.

Bottom Line: I love you, Ally Condie, but I warn readers that even if you loved Matched and Crossed, prepare for a slow read! #TeamXander 3/5 stars.

Did you read the entire Crossed series? How did you feel about the ending and the third book overall? 

Next week's book is Love, Unexpectedly by Susan Fox

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