Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Ally Condie's "Crossed" (review)

Last week I wrote a review of the first, titular book in Ally Condie’s Matched trilogy (you can read it here if you’d like).  And of course THAT THING happened where you can’t stop thinking about a book until you get your hands on the next one in the series.  Of course I had a feeling this would happen.  But rather than wait to review the whole series, I decided to do individual reviews for each book.  This is partially because I didn’t want to forget any of the details, and partially because the last book in the series, Reached, has only just been released today.  And I’m like number 63 in line on the library holds list for that one.  So the show must go on.

Crossed is the second book in the Matched trilogy.  My main complaint against the otherwise delightful first book was the pacing.  It just seemed to lack action.  The second book definitely amps up the action quotient, showing the struggles of both Ky and Cassia by splitting the perspective of the book between these two with alternating chapters featuring their points of view.  Ky and his brethren are sent to the front lines of a war that is not so much being fought as staged, and there is no shortage of action as he comes under fire and is forced to make difficult choices.  Cassia’s story also gets significantly more action packed as she pursues Ky across unknown territory.  I enjoyed this dual perspective because it allowed for the story to effectively advance, despite the geographic distance between Ky and Cassia for a good portion of the book.  However, at times I found that I was confused as to whose perspective I was reading.  Because some of the chapters are so very short (only one page!), I seemed to forget that the perspective had changed.  This was particularly prominent in scenes where Ky and Cassia are talking to each other, it is hard to determine whose side the reader is viewing at those times.  Despite this, I don’t think the story could have been effectively told without using this tool, even though it was sloppily used at times.

The new characters were a very welcome addition to the story as well.  Indie and Eli provide a bit more depth and variety of emotional responses in the characters, which was not seen in the first book.  Indie especially seems to contain all the anger that Cassia and Ky hold about their lives, but are unable to express.  As Eli embodies the innocence of their previous lives/childhoods, I found it appropriate that he is left behind as the rest of the characters push for the Rising.  One character that does not get its full due in Crossed is the Society.  And while I appreciate that this part of the story is set in the fringes of the Society’s reach, I found it bizarre that the characters are able to complete so many of their actions without the supposedly omnipotent and omniscient Society noticing.  But maybe this gets addressed in Reached.

Overall, Crossed is a very fitting and exciting continuation of the series.  And, most of all, I appreciated not being left with a cliffhanger ending!  The ending (which I shan’t spoil) leaves the reader wanting more, but does not invoke the total desperation a la Hunger Games where you feel like you just might freak out and/or cry if you don’t find out what happens next.  But I do have high expectations and a nagging urge to read the last book, Reached.  

But for now I wait for the library to deliver, like it always does, in good time.

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