Reached by Ally Condie
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Reached is the culmination of the Matched trilogy, quite a fitting end although not altogether satisfying. I'm giving it 4 stars out of 5, simply because it was quite the trilogy and well-written, an enjoyable read and something I'm glad I read even if I didn't truly appreciate the final book.
The book itself focuses mainly on the Rising infiltrating the Society with a plague that was created by the Society in the first place. Only, things don't go quite as the Rising had planned, and things start falling apart very quickly.
The pacing of the book was awkward, as weeks and months would pass with only a small note such as "We had been here for two months" or "The still had been under for three weeks," etc. Jumping around in time was obviously necessary, as it would take time to get the cure and the plague under control. However, by having a lot take place in a small amount of time, and then skipping a few weeks or months and having more take place, well, it got a little confusing. I feel like the entirety of the book happened in the span of a couple of weeks, when it really took what I believe may have been close to six months or more.
I thought Xander's voice had changed from the last book to this one. He seems hopelessly bent on Cassia, but also blindly following the Rising and the Pilot with no question. His belief is total and is near unbreakable, until he finds another Pilot to follow, at which point it's like he never believed in the real Pilot at all. He is blind to a lot that is going on around him, faith without question, and trust without thought. It bothered me that someone who was so bent on fixing things would follow so completely.
Something I really appreciated was the lack of sex and sexual themes. This book was an adventure and a love story, and it didn't need the characters constantly groping each other and getting it on to make the story happen.
Obviously, Cassia was going to choose Ky from the start. I think every reader knew that, despite the hope that maybe, just maybe she would choose the boy who's loved her from the start. But I knew in my heart of hearts that Cassia's love for Ky would win out. That left me feeling very badly for Xander. When he chooses to be with Lei at the end of the book (how is that pronounced? Lay? Leigh? I think it's Lay from the way Cassia figures out who she really is at the end), I feel perplexed. He seems close to her throughout their troubles, but never seems to be in love with her. When he checks to see if she has the immunity mark, that's the first time I ever read a hint of "I like you" from him, and I certainly never really read it from her at all.
It seems strange that Condie chose to make Lei the Laney that Vick was in love with. It doesn't truly have much to do with the story, and the revelation doesn't strike me as one anyone would have possibly made if Cassia hadn't freaking spelled it out. I am curious as to why that was such a big deal.
Indie's death was glossed over so much it was hard to come to grips with the fact that she was dead. It was also uncharacteristic, since much of what she did was to survive. Why wouldn't she let them get her a cure? Why would she steal a plane and crash it when she became still? It didn't seem like something she would do, after so adamantly fighting for her right to her own life.
Of course Cassia had to lose her father, it only makes sense that her family doesn't come out of this unscathed. The rescue of Xander's family was a nice surprise, one plot point I hadn't thought of. Minimal note was made of it, though, a few paragraphs and that was it. Xander only pays one or two paragraphs' attention to them throughout the book as a whole, though, so I guess it must have felt natural for him to save them and leave them like he did. Personally, I'd want to spend the rest of my life with them, but to each his own, I guess.
Condie spent a LOT of time writing about the plague-turned-pandemic and finding the cure. It practically took over the book and left little room to talk about the relationship between the Rising and the Society. When it is revealed that the Rising IS the Society, not much is made of it. I think the characters saw it coming all along (so did I), but wouldn't Xander have been surprised at least? He believed so blindly, and then just abandoned it when he started working with Oker.
I am left wondering what happened to Patrick and Aida Markham, and if Ky ever finds them. Do Cassia and Ky ever go to the Otherlands? Do they settle down somewhere in the cities? How do the people vote, with the Society, the Rising, or Anna?
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