Saturday, November 24, 2012

Reached by Ally Condie

Reached by Ally Condie was recently published.  Reached is the final installment in the Matched Trilogy.  I decided to reread Matched and Crossed before reading Reached, and I'm so glad I did.

I reviewed Matched and Crossed in this blog post, and my opinion about Crossed has changed somewhat.  I still believe that Crossed has way too much filler material, and when I reread it, I skimmed through much of it.  I no longer believe that Condie made a mistake about Xander and his secret.  I also liked Crossed better this time, but that may perhaps be because I skimmed through much of it.

Crossed has a lot of very important information, some of which the reader does not realize is important until well into the third book.  The importance of some of the information is another reason why I like Crossed better now.

Before I begin my review of Reached, I want to recap the main plot points of Matched and Crossed.

Matched is set in the Society, which controls every aspect of every person's life.  Cassia Maria Reyes is Matched with Xander Thomas Carrow.  Cassia is thrilled about her Match, since she has known Xander her entire life and is friends with him.  After the Match banquet, Cassia views Xander's microcard, which will tell her everything she needs to know about Xander.  The trouble is that another boy's face flashes on the screen, that of Ky Markham.

Cassia also knows Ky.  Cassia is drawn to Ky because of the microchip mistake and falls in love with him.  The rest of Matched deals with Cassia's feelings and her growing awareness of the flaws in the Society's ways.

Crossed tells the story of Cassia's escape from the Society and her search for Ky.  Cassia and Ky learn about the Enemy and the Rising.  The Rising is a rebellion led by the Pilot.  Nobody knows who the Pilot is.  Crossed switches between two points of view—Cassia and Ky.

In Reached, the Rising has begun, and all three of Cassia, Ky, and Xander are fully involved in some way or another.  Reached switches between the viewpoints of all three characters, with much greater success than in Crossed.  I always knew which character was the voice while reading Reached.  Each character has a unique role to play, which makes it easy to know which character is the voice.

I did not like Xander very much in either Matched or Crossed.  Xander has no personality or reason for existence in either book, so he does not matter.  I felt no connection to Xander and found him to be pointless.

This changes in Reached.  Xander has a very important role to play, and his personality comes alive.

In Reached, the arrival of the Rising wreaks havoc on the Society, just as the Rising intended.  However, the Rising's plan has unintended consequences which throws both the Society and the Rising into chaos.  The Rising scrambles to right what has gone wrong.  I dislike giving too specific of information, so I will leave it at that.

As already stated, some seemingly insignificant conversations from Crossed are discovered to be extremely important and intriguing.  Xander is finally interesting.  The ending is quite satisfying, although some of it is left open-ended.  The plot takes quite a few unexpected twists and turns.

I have read the reviews for Reached, and the reviews are quite split between people who loved Reached and others who found Reached to be boring.  The disparity is caused by how different all three books are from each other.

The first book, Matched, is more of a romance than anything else.  People who enjoy romance ended up disappointed when the trilogy took a different direction.  Crossed is an adventure story.  Some people like Crossed the best of the three books.  Reached is like neither of the preceding stories, and that is why some readers do not like it.  Reached is compelling because we see how Cassia, Ky, and Xander are changed by the Rising and we get a glimpse into what the future holds for them.

With many trilogies, and most all series books for that matter, each book has a repetitive storyline that is very similar to the previous book.  This trilogy breaks out of the mold, giving us three very different stories that are pieces of the overall story arc.

I greatly enjoyed Reached.  I found every chapter to be interesting, and to me, Reached is the best book in the trilogy.  I had no idea while reading Matched what kind of journey I would take, and that journey was fantastic.

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