Reached by Ally Condie | Book Review
Release date: November 13, 2012
Series: Matched Trilogy (Book #3)
Genre: Young Adult, Dystopia, Romance
I would be lying if I said I wasn't happy to be finally done with this trilogy. Don't get me wrong, I didn't really dislike the books, but unfortunately I didn't love them either. Through Reached Ally Condie succeeded in leading everything to a reasonable conclusion, but just like with Matched and Crossed I didn't find myself surprised or too excited about anything. I finally figured out why that was: I didn't really care about the characters.
As The Rising is pulling Cassia and Ky apart to serve different purposes, they are separated yet again and the situation is not making it easy for them to reunite. Xander is back in the picture and he is also working with The Rising away from both Cassia and Ky. Just when the characters seem to settle into their new lives, everything shifts for them yet again and this time things are more out of control than ever. Ally Condie hits us with a triple narrative this time, adding Xander's point of view into the mix. You would think at this point the book would just be written in third person...
The story was probably the best out of the three books: so much has happened, a few interesting relationships developed and the intensity of the circumstances kept going up. However, most of the time I felt completely plateaued emotionally - this is where my lack of attachment to the characters comes in. The only two people who I came even close to sympathizing with were Xander and Indie, but that wasn't enough for me to feel a real connection to the book. Something that likely contributed to my apathy was the lack of character growth. There is a minimal amount of it, mostly closer to the end, but I felt that the amount of life-changing events should have had a tremendous impact on the characters both mentally and emotionally.
I did like Condie's poetic approach to storytelling throughout the entire trilogy and in Reached in particular, as well as the role art and creativity played in the book. Here, more so than in the first two installments, intuition and importance of creating was opposed to the systematic and logical approach of The Society. What I questioned was the fact that almost everyone seemed content with going from following The Society's orders to The Rising's orders. While The Rising seemed to offer a bit more freedom, the essence was still the same. I can understand how regular people might have continued with their routine, but what about all the rebels who are supposedly fighting the oppression and yet don't question anything?
I won't list all the questions I have after reading this to avoid spoilers, but I definitely feel that quite a few things should have been explained. I guess my main issue with Reached was that I kept wanting more: more passion, more depth, more answers, more unexpected twists. Just like I did with Crossed, I felt like everything came together neatly and fell into place when it could have gone wrong so many ways. I'm not saying that everything needs to be tragic and depressing, but even real life is more complicated and this is supposed to be a dystopian world.
I think people are either going to love or hate this book. I felt that it was on par with the rest of the trilogy and my rating reflects that. It's worth reading to see how things end, but on its own the book unfortunately is just OK from my perspective.