Wednesday, November 14, 2012
Book Review: Reached
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.
In this gripping conclusion to the #1 New York Times-bestselling Matched Trilogy, Cassia will reconcile the difficulties of challenging a life too confining, seeking a freedom she never dreamed possible, and honoring a love she cannot live without. Quoted from Goodreads
I went into this book with a lot of excitement and a dash of trepidation. Why the trepidation? I loved Matched. But then there was Crossed. It isn't that I disliked Crossed, but that it didn't seem to match Matched. Okay, that was a wordy sentence. Here's the thing, Matched was pure dystopia for me. Crossed was more a journey type book. There were dystopia elements, of course---the world was the same, as were the characters and the writing---but it was a different type of book from Matched.
The same is true for Reached. Each book in the trilogy had a very different feel for me. This one was more like medical thriller in a dystopia setting. Don't get me wrong, I really enjoyed this book. I still probably liked Matched the best, but it was absolutely better than Crossed and a great story. It just had a different feel from the first two books. This is not a bad thing. In fact, it kept the story fresh by not rehashing the same plot over and over like so many books do, and I really liked that.
First, the story is told from three points of view: Cassia, Ky, and Xander. I liked finally seeing Xander's POV and his relationship with Cassia. In the second book, I was surprised when Ky's started telling the story, but by this third book it felt natural to switch viewpoints, and it let me experience different aspects of the rebellion and the Society's reaction to them. Plus, it helped me understand Xander's journey better and some of the choices he made.
I really enjoyed having an antagonist that you can't punch in the face or push off a cliff. I loved the nebulous idea of wrong mixed with right to create the Society and all its inherent problems. Can I tell you, I love how smart the Society is (and hated it, of course, but you have to admire a system that predicts . . . well some of the things it predicted). Yes, the rebellion (The Rising) gets them into a lot of trouble, but I enjoyed how they figured the odds on everything. Then, much like District 13, you have the problems with the Rising, and the question whether it's any better, etc. Then then there's the horribleness of the plague . . .
What I liked most about this book was Cassia's personal growth. Yes, Xander grows a lot, and Ky often sacrifices what he wants, but it's Cassia's growth I enjoyed the most. She begins to create and uses her skills to solve problems no one else can. She becomes more than just a sorter or the girl in love with Ky or Xander. I really feel like she came into her own in this book, and while I appreciated the other points of view and different character's journeys, hers was the one I found most complete.
A lot of dystopia books are fun because of the adventure. It's a handful of people against Big Brother, and it makes for an excellent fight. While there are absolutely elements of that in this book, this is more a book that makes me appreciate things I take for granted. After I read this, I want to look at art, listen to music, read more . . . (let's be honest, I probably read too much as it is). They're the perfect books for November, even if they don't mention turkeys or pilgrims, because you can't read this and not be grateful for what you have.
For me, this book is a lovely 4 stars. It isn't the most fast paced or adrenaline filled read, but I did stay up until one in the morning last night finishing it. I think Ally Condie's writing is beautiful, if a bit reserved. I did want Cassia and her special someone -- I'll try and not give anything away here -- to have a bit more of a moment, but I feel the the parting moment with the other special someone, was absolutely perfect, as was the ending of a wonderful trilogy.