Matched, Crossed, & Reached | Review

This is a review of the Matched Trilogy by Ally Condie.

BEWARE, SPOILERS FOR ALL THREE BOOKS. CONTINUE IF YOU DARE.

Oh, and a mild warning of ranting. I may have gotten a teensy bit carried away.

The Matched series was one of those books I picked up because of the cover. Simple as it was, the shade of green and the dress this beautiful dark-haired girl was wearing are what pulled me in and made me pluck it off of the shelves. The fact she was trapped in a bubble only intrigued me more–what kind of a book was this going to be? I hadn’t realized it was meant to signify a pill. After purchasing it and taking it home, I ended up reading it at some point and getting sucked into the world of Cassia, Xander, and Ky instantly. I had thought it was going to take a different turn than it did, but that seems to happen more often than not when it comes to my plot predictions. I dream a lot bigger than is capable in a trilogy, at least from what I’ve seen. If I ever write a series, I’ll probably realize how naive I am, but for now it keeps me entertained when I think one thing is going to happen and something entirely different (and often more plausible) happens.

I did enjoy the series, but I had varying feelings when it came to each specific book, and from here I’m going to break it down by each to explain what it is I felt.

Matched
“It is one thing to make a choice and it is another thing to never have the chance.”

Matched by Ally Condie
Series: Matched #1
Genres: Young Adult, Dystopia, Romance
Release Date: November 30th 2010 by Dutton Books for Young Readers
Format: Hardcover, 369 pages
Rating: 4/5 Crabapples
Find it here: Goodreads || Book Depository

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.

The very first book I absolutely loved. I loved the story, I loved the characters, and I loved the places I thought it was going to go and the places it was already beginning to go. The fact the match banquet was the very first thing we know in the entire world this book is set in is brilliant, it’s what hooked me so strongly and made me so intrigued. It was a Dystopian novel, but I couldn’t see beyond the projected Utopian scenery that was first given to me. I mean, despite not liking the idea of not choosing who it is I marry one day and having to have kids within a set time frame with little leniency given to me, the excitement of not knowing who it is you’ll be with for the rest of your life and going to a large event just to find out is thrilling.

From there the book continued to keep it’s interesting theme, bringing the world to life through Cassia’s eyes and showing how she believes it to be a perfect world. You get to go through the book as someone who is blinded by what she is taught and doesn’t think to go a different path until she is given a reason to, which is pushed upon her by her grandfather on his deathbed. It’s after that small seed is planted that she slowly starts to thrive, and watching her go through that transformation was a good way for the first book to pave a way towards what the next two books would be–a battle. Aside from a few boring moments here and there, I don’t have many complaints about the first book, Matched. I was ready for the next one, and I was excited to see more after the way this one had ended, with Cassia starting to be punished for the rebellion she was building up in her from that moment with her grandfather’s poems and on. It’s only after this one that it started to go downhill for me.

Crossed
“Time,” Vick said, “is what we don’t have.”

Crossed by Ally Condie
Series: Matched #2
Genres: Young Adult, Dystopia, Romance
Release Date: November 1st 2011 by Dutton Children’s
Format: Hardcover, 367 pages
Rating: 4/5 Crabapples
Find it here: Goodreads || Book Depository

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.

The second book, Crossed, had lots of potential for me. There were so many mysteries scattered around from the first book and there were lots of questions that would either be answered or would be left until the third and final book, and I was so excited to see what it was that Ally Condie had come up with. Unfortunately, the entire thing seemed to drag on and on for me. I enjoyed the idea of what was going on and I agreed with the need for the events to have happened, but to span them over the course of a fairly large book? I was getting pretty bored. The alternating viewpoints from Cassia to Ky was a really nice touch, and when it flipped to Cassia, Ky, and Xander in the third book I ended up appreciating this even more, but there wasn’t enough action to the slow parts of this second book, and while it still got a four out of five stars on my Goodreads, I would not consider this to be the strongest book out of the trilogy.

However, I do not thing that it shouldn’t have been a thing. The first book ended perfectly, in my opinion, so the events in the second book should not have been added there. They shouldn’t have been added to the third book, either, which was already massive enough as it was. So, that only left a second book between the two to carry out the journey Cassia, Ky, Xander, Indie, and everyone else had to take in order to make it to where they stood in the third book. Might I also add that the ending was actually, probably, my favorite part of the whole book. It was nicely carried out and the cliffhanger was enough to get me to want to continue on and pick up the third book, which is always something you want to do when writing a series, I would think. I just wish there was more to the book as a whole, more excitement and less of a leeway-type of resting place for the third book. Now, onto that third book, Reached.

Reached
“You cannot change your journey if you are unwilling to move at all.”

Reached by Ally Condie
Series: Matched #3
Genres: Young Adult, Dystopia, Romance
Release Date: November 13th 2012 by Penguin
Format: Hardcover, 512 pages
Rating: 4/5 Crabapples
Find it here: Goodreads || Book Depository

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.

Oh boy, Reached. Such a nice cover, flowed really well with the former two, which is always a huge A+ for me. I’m a little nutty about my covers. But the content?

I was unbelievably conflicted with the third book. The story was good and the ending was satisfying, to an extent, but I was so, so, so upset with what happened to Xander. He got the short end of the stick and I feel like he was essentially a cop-out on Condie’s part. (I understand fully that it might not have been at all and other people were probably totally satisfied with what had happened, but I personally was not; I got attached to that boy and I wanted it all for him, even if he wasn’t the main male lead role.) Why did he have to have his dream ripped from him while Cassia and Ky got their happy ending? I’m not upset that Ky got Cassia, or that Cassia and Ky were a thing even to the very end, but throughout the entire book I ached for poor Xander having to watch it all happen.

Yeah, okay, at the end he got Lei, but it didn’t seem right to me. I wanted more to his new relationship, not an “Oh hey I just realized I’m in love with you let’s do this thing.” Which was kind of the vibe I was getting. I hate how up until he simply couldn’t anymore, he was watching Cassia gain her happiness. But, what really bothered me the most was the fact he ended up with someone else in the end.

As much as I love Xander, I think it would have made a bigger impact for him to have stayed single in the end, maybe with a hint that he would find love in Lei, but not actually get her while we were watching. I feel like it would have shown that, even though Cassia struggled and fought and regained Ky in the end, she still left damage in her wake that was not all good damage. Damage much more personal than what she helped cause to the people with the disease, damage more on par with having killed her father. Her actions had severe consequences for those who loved her, and I feel like Xander’s pain over losing her is kind of swept under the rug and stomped on when he turns to Lei. It’s very clear to me that he wouldn’t love her like he loved Cassia (which is not always a bad thing, they’re different people), and she wouldn’t love him like she loved Vick, which is major bonus points for me because they’re not outright replacing those they’ve loved for so long with one another right out of the blue, but it still came off as kind of rushed to me. Maybe that’s the issue with not being the main couple. It also might have been the disease, but who knows.

All in all, I enjoyed the series. Not my favorite, but not horrible. Probably would use it for a “if you liked this, read this” recommendation thing (should I do one of those sometime?) if I find a way to connect it to other series I ready beyond the romance-Dystopian aspect, but that’s about all. The covers really are gorgeous, though, and I feel the need to add that one more time before letting this end. Let me know if you’ve read all three and what you think!

Thanks for reading!

xoxo Nova

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6 thoughts on “Matched, Crossed, & Reached | Review

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