Book Review: Reached

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Title: Reached [Matched 3]

Author: Ally Condie

Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction, Romance, Dystopian

Rating: 3 Stars

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Description/Synopsis:

After leaving Society to desperately seek 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 is assigned undercover in Central city, Ky outside the borders, an airship pilot with Indie. Xander is a medic, with a secret. All too soon, everything shifts again.

WARNING – SPOILERS MAY ENSUE BEYOND THIS POINT – REVIEW BELOW

I didn’t enjoy this book as much as I’d expected. I loved the first book, and I loved the second book nearly as much, but by the time I got around to the end of the trilogy… I think I was just over it. Technically speaking, the story is well written. There weren’t a lot of grammar, spelling, or punctuation errors. The writing was clear and easy to read—but the pace in this book was slow. It felt as if a ton of tension had been built up going into this book for how the characters may defeat the society, and I guess I expected that to happen—I wanted the characters I’d grown to love to step up, throw off the shackles of the Society, and break it all apart.

That both is, and isn’t what happened. The story didn’t feel personal to the characters. Cassia, Ky, and Xander (and Indie, who I still don’t care for) seemed like Pawns for the pilot. They were shuffled around to different cities, the narrative kept switching POV’s, and I guess in the end… it felt like the story went from being Cassia’s personal struggle, to an aerial view of this jumbled mess of Society and the resistance. It was boring. Ky, Cassia, and Xander waffled on their romances. Most characters outside the main three only had cameos. It just didn’t hold my interest.

This wasn’t a bad book. The author stayed true to the quality of her writing, the story sped off in a logical direction… it should have been another 5 star novel—but I think the author pulled too far back. I didn’t feel connected to the characters this time around. Instead, I was annoyed at their wishy-washy attitudes towards their friends and their mission. The main trio barely spent any time together at all. I didn’t care what was happening, I just wanted the book to end.

Overall? It was “Meh.” I’m glad I read it because I finally got to see the end to the story and find out what happened to Cassie and Ky… but by the same token, I wasn’t impressed with what I was presented. Had this been the first book in the series, I probably would have put it down and not picked it back up. Would I recommend it? If you’ve read the previous two books, sure. If you haven’t? Skip this one.

Book Review: Crossed

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Title: Crossed [Matched 2]

Author: Ally Condie

Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction, Dystopian, Romance

Rating: 4 Stars

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Description/Synopsis:

The Society chooses everything.

The books you read.
The music you listen to.
The person you love.

Yet for Cassia the rules have changed. Ky has been taken and she will sacrifice everything to find him.
And when Cassia discovers Ky has escaped to the wild frontiers beyond the Society there is hope.
But on the edge of society nothing is as it seems…

A rebellion is rising.

And a tangled web of lies and double-crosses could destroy everything.

WARNING – SPOILERS MAY ENSUE BEYOND THIS POINT – REVIEW BELOW

Like the previous book of this series, Matched, I thoroughly enjoyed Crossed by Ally Condie. As far as the technical side of things went, the writing was clean, easy-to-follow, and engaging. There weren’t any distracting problems with grammar, punctuation, spelling, or construction, and the cover is nicely designed.

The big draw of this series for me is the dystopian aspect of the novels. Whereas a lot of times YA Dystopian Romances are geared more towards the romance and a whole lot less towards the Dystopian, this series seems to be the opposite. The world of Cassia and Ky is rich and detailed; you can feel the tension of the characters as they are manipulated and chased after by the Society. There’s adventure, romance, action, and conspiracies around every corner. The characters are very natural and full of depth, and I loved that Crossed followed not only Cassia’s point of view, but that of Ky’s as well. It was interesting to see more of what was going on in his head throughout the story. I will admit it was a little disheartening to see the couple struggle with jealousy, lies, and the inevitable stress of their situation, but by the same token, it was another aspect of the story that I’m glad was told.

Like the previous book, my main concern with the narrative was that the characters lacked emotion. I was told by the author that these characters were happy, sad, scared, etc… but I never really felt it. The text lacked a certain personal warmth that I really wish would have been present. That aside, the rest of the story seemed flawless. I was sucked into the story right away and didn’t feel the need to come up for air until hours later when I turned the last page.

I thoroughly enjoyed this edition to the series, and I’d happily recommend it to anyone who enjoys YA Dystopian. While there is romance, it doesn’t come across as a huge part of the story. The characters aren’t whiney or angsty, and I think even the younger teens out there will find this story not only appropriate, but enthralling. I’m looking forward to diving into the third book shortly.

Book Review: Matched

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Title: Matched [Matched 1]

Author: Ally Condie

Genre: Young Adult, Dystopian, Romance, Science Fiction

Rating: 4 Stars

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Description/Synopsis:

Cassia has always trusted the Society to make the right choices for her: what to read, what to watch, what to believe. So when Xander’s face appears on-screen at her Matching ceremony, Cassia knows with complete certainty that he is her ideal mate . . . until she sees Ky Markham’s face flash for an instant before the screen fades to black.

The Society tells her it’s a glitch, a rare malfunction, and that she should focus on the happy life she’s destined to lead with Xander. But Cassia can’t stop thinking about Ky, and as they slowly fall in love, Cassia begins to doubt the Society’s infallibility and is faced with an impossible choice: between Xander and Ky, between the only life she’s known and a path that no one else has dared to follow.

WARNING – SPOILERS MAY ENSUE BEYOND THIS POINT – REVIEW BELOW

I really enjoyed this book. Matched is the story of Cassia, a girl who’s finally reached the age to be matched in the dystopian future-society she lives in. Like the other citizens of her world, life is orderly. They’re told what to learn, what to do in their off-time, what colors they can and cannot wear, what they should eat, how much exercise they should get, and who they should marry. Life for Cassia, is very nearly perfect. All of that changes when Cassia is matched to her best friend, Xander… and then another boy, Ky. Mistakes like this don’t happen in her world and she’s promptly told to forget all about it…. but she can’t. What ensues is a tale of romance, conspiracies, and adventure as Cassia begins to question her perfect world and the rules that keep it that way.

The world-building in this story was phenomenal. The dystopian aspect of the plot overshadowed most of the story. The society Cassia lives in is a nearly-utopian place from the point of view of the mild observer, but as Cassia digs deeper she discovers that what she thought was perfect was actually a lack of freedom. Her life is regulated 24/7 (even when she’s asleep). They are constantly watched, told what to do, and even the slightest deviance leads to an infraction notice. Cassia’s never had to question the rules of her world before, but as she sinks deeper into the story, she starts to question everything. It was fascinating to watch her as well as the other characters, become aware of just how controlled their lives were, and to watch them struggle to discover how much freedom they felt was appropriate to relinquish.

This was very much the beginning of her story. The world and characters were introduced, the society was explained and dismantled, but nothing was solved—if anything, Cassia’s world became more precarious as the story progressed. I enjoyed the feeling of slowly sinking deeper into her world. Though nothing was resolved, I feel invested in her story, and I’ll certainly be picking up the next two books in the series.

The characters were well fleshed out, the narrative was clean and engaging, and except for one small typo, the story was exceptionally well written. The only true problem I had with Matched was the emotional side of the story. The romance between Cassia and Ky was very convincingly put together, but in all aspects of the story (including the romance) I felt like Cassia’s personality was a little robotic. It felt a little too clinical at times, and though I was being told how scared (etc) Cassia was throughout the story, I never felt it. The way her character was voiced felt almost too editorial. It didn’t feel personal.

That aside, I really enjoyed the story. I got sucked in, I read through the book in just a few hours, and I was sad to close the last page. I’d love to recommend it to anyone who’s looking for a YA Dystopian to sink into. Though there is a bit of romance, it is understated and not at all inappropriate for teens of any age. I’d feel perfectly fine handing this book over to a 10-year-old. The story is heavily bent towards the dystopian genre, and brings up some interesting views on control and how much we as humans are willing to succumb to a higher authority as long as we’re kept healthy and happy. I’m glad I read it, and I’ll certainly be diving into the next book soon.