When my sister suggested this book to me, I wasn't sure I would like it. Genetically engineered societies means that disabilities are eliminated by de..Show More »fault. That makes it difficult for me to "find myself" in the book because I already know going in that neither I nor my husband or son would be found in this oh-so-perfect society. But that wasn't a problem. Ally Condie crafted together such an artful weaving of character and setting with just enough ties to our own world to be believable that I was pulled in right away. Told from the point of view of someone who genuinely believes in the infalability of the Society and its statistics, Cassia moves right along as she reasonably explains away euthanasia or drug-induced amnesia while the reader's heart pounds at the deceptive logic of it all. There is a love story at the center of the book, but it wasn't the love story itself that pulled me in. Unlike other love triangle tales, one potential match isn't "wrong" and the other "right." I truly believe that Cassia would have been/will be happy with either Xander or Ky. To me, that's not the point of the story at all. Is it better to have the choice or not? No matter how perfect the society is planned to be, it will always come down to the power held in the hands of imperfect people.
Others have criticized the book for being nothing new, but I think that's unfair. Have dystopian tales been told before? Sure. Do others examine the same debates regarding personal freedom, secret knowledge, finding the right spouse? Absolutely. Matched, in my opinion, tells it well on its own merits.
I found this book to be so well crafted that it demanded my attention. Most of the time, I can balance reading multiple books at a time: one on audio, one on ebook, one on paper, etc. While I was reading Matched, however, it claimed my inner voice. I would try to read another book and find myself hearing Cassia and having to stop and remember that this was an entirely different world. For me to have that reaction alone says something.
On a lighter note, as a teacher who still emphasizes the value of cursive writing and poetry, I loved the twist Matched brought to those two arts often dismissed in today's society. There is a value in creating rather than simply sifting through facts and regurgitating the right ones at the right time.
In my review of Matched, I was anxiously anticipating this sequel and was hoping to learn more about The Society, The Rising and Xander in particular ..Show More »(a promising character that I felt was underserved in Matched). Well, I did learn more about some of those things...
I liked Crossed, but it also frustrated me as well. When we last saw our protagonists, Ky was being hauled off to the Outer Provinces by The Society and to certain, eventual death. Cassia decides to somehow follow him no matter what the cost. Xander sadly watches the entire scene unfold, still harboring his love for Cassia despite her inherent idiocy, sorry, I mean tenacity...and Cassia's family is shipped off to do some farming for awhile and learn the errors of their rebellious ways.
So...that brings us to Crossed. Here's what I liked:
I liked (and disliked, see below) that Crossed was told from the perspectives of both Cassia and KY. This technique helped me to like and understand Ky more. (Full disclosure: I'm a budding Xander fan.) They are both in the Outer Provinces and then ultimately on the run, but for a great deal of the book they are apart, searching for each other.
Along the way they pick up some friends and I liked these characters. They are a great addition to the series, especially Indie (you know I like strong female characters who don't put up with BS) and I know we will see more of them in the sequel.
Condie's descriptions are beautiful and you can visualize easily the surroundings of The Carving and The Outer Provinces.
Now here's what I had a problem with:
1. Where the heck's Xander? He shows up for like a minute, is mysterious and then leaves. I really feel like his character has potential and possibly more depth than Ky given all of theses "secrets" and "mysteries" surrounding him. I again am hoping we see more of him in the third book, how about the next book is from his perspective? That I would be interested to read: "Cassie's breaking my heart, so I gave her a big packet of blue pills. Hope they work..."
2. Speaking of perspectives... While I liked the idea of both POV's, after a while they both started sounding the same. The only thing that helped me in this regard was that I actually listened to Crossed as an unabridged audio book on Audible and they had a guy and a girl reading each chapter. However, in tone and sappiness, they both sounded alike to me.
3. Enough with the poetry already. I get how integral these poems are to the story, just not sure if I need to read them again every other chapter until I have them memorized too. Sidenote: I was reading another book last night where a character died and they were looking for the perfect poem for his memorial. Immediately I started reciting Tennyson's "Crossing the Bar" (brainwashed much?) and guess what? That's the exact one they used...
4. The Society sucks at catching people. Or do they?... I can't decide if Cassia and Ky are still part of some big Society experiment or if The Society is in a recession and they just don't have the manpower and resources to find our motley crew. Cassia and Ky both spend a great deal of time piddling around and very little (or absolutely zero) time actually in danger of being caught. This decreased the suspense and thus my enjoyment of Crossed.
Well...after that diatribe, I guess it looks like I didn't really like Crossed at all, but I did. I think the series overall has promise and Crossed was just a slow Act II. I love Condie's writing style in general and it is a testament to Matched that I even am riled up enough to be a little disappointed in the sequel. I promise, I will be first in line for the third book and there better be more Xander, dang it!
While I enjoyed the first two books in this trilogy, I was disappointed in the conclusion. The plot about going still and finding the cure had potenti..Show More »al. But Condie made it more of a subplot. The book was more about Zander's and Ky's love for Cassia. While it appeared that Zander experienced some growth throughout the series, Cassia remained nearly stagnant in that arena and Ky was a lovesick puppy all the way through. His whining was detestable and I couldn't stand listening to him. If I hadn't been driving when I listened to the book, I would have skipped all of his chapters. His contribution to the plot was nonexistent. The book could have carried on perfectly fine without him. I don't know how Cassia, portrayed as very intelligent, could have fallen for such a person. The "match" makes no sense.
Although I realize the book is dystopian in nature, and teens would mature a little faster, I think they sounded a little too old for their ages. The last 25% of the book was moralizing on the part of Cassia. It was as if Condie was reaching herself for a way to wind it up. Perhaps the entire tale would have been better as a two-book series.
I know readers who read the first two novels will feel compelled to buy the last one, but if you can stop yourselves from doing so, you'll save a valuable credit.