Author: Ally Condie
Publisher: Dutton Children’s Books
Publication Date: November 13, 2012
Summary from Goodreads – 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.
*Review may contain slight spoilers
I can’t believe it’s over. It’s actually over. No more Cassia. No more Ky. Good lord, what am I even going to do with myself without this series? *cries*
Admittedly, I had mixed feelings about this series when I first started, and they came back a little during this book, but overall I thought the trilogy was beautifully written and interesting. At first, I couldn’t help but notice all the similarities Matched had to other dystopians; The Hunger Games, Forest of Hands and Teeth, City of Ember, etc. But, as I read further, I realized what was different about Condie’s series was not necessarily the controlling-government-let’s-start-a-revolution plot, but the writing. I’m certainly not claiming there aren’t well-written dystopians out there, but Condie has a lyrical style that is unusual to find in this particular genre.
Something else I loved about Reached was the presence of art throughout the story. Even though Cassia doesn’t feel that she’s necessarily doing much to help by creating the Gallery, she becomes a hero through this because she gives people ways to express themselves that they never had before. I was touched by the scene with the woman singing and how excited everyone was to hear her music, since freedom of expression was taken away by the society. Giving people choices is what Cassia felt the revolution was all about, and art is definitely a perfect avenue to do that.
Another great thing about the book is that there was no one clear hero. Each of the main three (Cassia, Ky, and Xander) had their own Pilot, different from the one who had been the designated leader. For Cassia, Ky and her mother seemed to be the pilot, for Ky it was Indie, and Xander’s pilot was Oker. By the end of the book, I was starting to think that if I really had to pick one hero of the book, I would have to choose Xander. Xander was involved in the Rising even before Cassia, and even when Cassia chose Ky over him (yay! sorry, Xan) he continued on. Cassia and Ky both seemed to need someone else to keep them standing and pushing through, which is certainly not a bad thing, but Xander’s motivation came from within, and to me that’s the most powerful. I never really liked Xander until this book, but I grew to like him more and more as a character and as a person through his narrations. He was a character who sought to make things better not just for himself and the people he loved, but for everyone.
I was also moved by both scenes involving voting. I wish Condie had gone into that part of the story a little more. Voting would be a really big deal for members of the Society, who had never been offered such a choice before, so it might have been interesting if she had made that part of the book slightly more complex.
Oker and Lei were two character additions that I really liked. Oker also rebelled in his own way, right up to the very end. I liked Lei right from the beginning, and was rooting for her and Xander all along, and the Nea Lei/Laney twist just gave me so many “aw”s.
The only character I had mixed feelings about was Indie. I think that was probably because she was in love with Xander in Crossed and then kissed Ky in this book, but after reading Crossed I predicted she was some sort of spy for the Society, so maybe it was just residual feelings from that. To be honest though, I think Ky and Indie might have actually made a better couple than Ky and Cassia if Indie hadn’t died, but I was still glad Ky ended up with Cassia instead.
Reached was a very satisfying conclusion to this trilogy, though I still have somewhat mixed feelings about the series in general. Condie’s writing has always been a pleasure to read, and I hope to see more of her in the future.