Author: Ally Condie
Publisher: Penguin Group (2011)
The highly anticipated second book in the Matched trilogy!
Chasing down an uncertain future, Cassia makes her way to the Outer Provinces in pursuit of Ky--taken by Society to his certain death--only to find that he has escaped into the majestic, but treacherous, canyons. On this wild frontier are glimmers of a different life . . . and the enthralling promise of rebellion. But even as Cassia sacrifices everything to reunite with Ky, ingenious surprises from Xander may change the game. On the edge of Society, nothing is as expected, and crosses and double crosses make Cassia's path more twisted than ever.
Oh dear… Whenever I think about it, this book still gives me the chills.
I have such mixed feelings about this one. I remember reading Matched a couple of years ago and absolutely falling in love with it—the world created, the ambiguous characters, the amazing concept, everything was new and fresh and exciting to me. I guess that, and this happens way too often, I was left with high expectations towards the next books in the trilogy and after knowing that Crossed was not going to be published in my country, and seeing how eagerly I wanted to know how the story ends, I decided to just read the originals. What a mistake it was—not the decision of reading Crossed, but the enthusiasm I was expecting from it— and, right now, I can’t believe how disappointed I still am. There’s something in this second book that just didn’t convinced me, that is lacking immensely. In a way, I do understand what the author was meaning to pass on to the readers, the messages and dangers of living—or better, surviving—in the outside world, but at the same time, I can’t seem to find enough information, and answers to established questions, and developments in general to justify such a book. I honestly think this is a way too long narrative for what it actually brings to the story in its whole, and I seriously don’t want to say this, ‘cause it hurts me deeply, but I actually felt kind of bored in a couple of scenes, with my eyes rolling in odd ways, and with this crazy desire of just wanting the torture to end.
The book has good things, no doubt about that—not everything is bad—yet it wasn’t what I was looking for after such an incredible first volume.
Watching the changes in Cassia’s way of living and all the new and different shades in her personality was extremely interesting. She knew, right from the start, that finding Ky wasn’t going to be easy, but I don’t think she was truly aware of how difficult it was meant to be. So many dangerous situations came across her path—since having to trust in people she had never met before to actually needing to cross a canyon where her chances of survival were minimal—, all the major and unknown challenges, all the sorrows and things she was forced to witness changed her completely, and that innocent girl who would once believe in everything the Society would tell her—the one we first met in Matched—no longer lives in that body.
Adding a second POV to the story was a genius move, especially because it was Ky’s. Besides being a great and more intimate way of getting to know more about his own story before moving to Oria, this also gives to readers a different and much appreciated perspective towards certain events happening. Ky’s a very rational character when Cassia isn’t part of the equation, and he’s clearly a natural born leader, but the way Condie sometimes describes his thoughts and desires is a bit repetitive. I wish I had been able to know more substantial things about Ky, things that would make me doubt of his intentions, of his actions, that would make him a more dubious character in order to create conflict, but the truth is that it was all very simple, and plain, and expected.
I did liked the side characters, I give you that. Indie always kept me on edge and Eli was the most adorable boy ever! Vick won my heart somehow, and Xander, in a smaller role this time, was actively present throughout the entire book even when he wasn’t. Too bad some of these characters, along side others, probably won’t be seen again mainly due to the circumstances created, but at the end of it, it was just a pure delight to get to know them. And now that I really think about it, it was because of them, all of them, that I continued to read Crossed, otherwise I would probably had given up on him.
It was relatively curious to finally understand a little bit of what happens to all the people who are reclassified/classified as Aberrations and Anomalies, and to all of the others who maintain residence somewhere in the Outer Provinces. They might live quite freely, with the sky as the limit, but some of the basic needs that the Society offers, such as medical supply, is something they have no access to—and that makes all the difference. Again, this was something that didn’t last for long, seeing that a lot of what’s going on in this book is related to Cassia wanting to find Ky, to Ky questioning himself whether Cassia continues to love him or not, and to the small group who survived trying to find The Rising.
Overall, I get the intention behind the text, I just don’t feel like Ally should had done a whole book about it—especially when Reached has that size. It’s a story that acts like a passage from being part of the Society and now wanting to fight it; is about Cassia erasing her doubts and crossing half the country looking for Ky; is about Ky realising that Cassia is everything that matters to him; is about Indie letting go of the pass and believing in herself and in what she feels like being the right thing; is about The Rising starting to really fight for what they have faith in; and is about… truthfully, is just about crossing from one side to the other, from one belief to another, from something that is known and deceitfully safe to some other thing that could bring piece and freedom to all.