I wasn't one of those counting down the days until its released, although I was aware after a customer at work pre-ordered it telling me 'it was the best series she'd ever come across' (I'd also like to point out she was wearing a Twilight t-shirt). When I went into my local library and, like the other two books in this series, found this in the Teen section, I decided to pick it up even if I was expecting not to like it at all.
Synopsis: After leaving the Society and going into the Carving to find the Rising, Cassia and Ky have found what they were looking for, in order to make a difference and stop the controlling Society. However, the two of them, and their friend Xander are apart from one another; Cassia is an undercover sorter in Central, Ky a pilot for the Rising with Indie and Xander is a medic, dealing with the increasing sick in the Society. They all wait and wait for the Rising to happen and then one day, all too soon, it begins.
Review: To say the least, I wasn't much at all from this novel. I disliked the last two books in the series so it's fair to say that I didn't think the last book would pick up. On starting this mammoth book, I knew this was going to take a long, long time to struggle through to find out the resolution for Cassia, Ky and Xander.
However, on starting the novel and after the first few chapters, especially when things started kicking off, I was becoming more and more engrossed in the story, I was starting to feel for the main characters and feel myself quicken the pace I was reading because I needed to know what happened in the end. It was a little bewildering really.
But it's true that after the disappointment of Matched and the boring parts of Crossed, that I came out of this series enjoying the last chapter where in my opinion, Ally Condie really picked her game up and writes some thrilling, beautiful stuff.
Differently to the last two books, this novel has alternating chapters from Xander, Cassia and Ky's point of view from their different locations within the Society. I thought this might make the writing confusing and that I wouldn't be able to realise who was narrating in a certain chapter but actually, I have to admit Condie did this incredibly well, keeping the pace and writing going yet not making the narration confusing and giving each character a personal touch. I remembered the cliff-hanger chapters, I knew who was talking from reading the first sentence of the chapter and overall, made reading this book a lovely experience.
In Matched and Crossed, I had a mediocre response to Cassia. I liked her take on life and her narration but her personality just wasn't interesting. In Reached, although I think Cassia is incredibly brave and strong, worthy of being the main protagonist, she still wasn't my favourite narrator. That job came to Xander who I was so pleased to find out had a part in this novel. In the last two books, he comes out as a bit of a background character who appears every so often so it was nice to have Xander the whole way through this book. He is the best character.
Being the male protagonist means that I should like Ky. But in the last two books, I really did not like him. He was annoying, did silly things and at times, did not seem like he cared for Cassia. Also, there was Xander and he was lovely. Yet in Reached, I started to really enjoy Ky as a character partly I think because of his maturation that has progressed in the trilogy. He is very level-headed, sensible really and it is clear he wants to do the best thing for Cassia. I ended up really liking his sensible approach as a character and felt for him when he keeps gaining and losing Cassia throughout. It was nice to end the series liking all the characters, especially Ky compared to in Matched.
Now. The writing and plot. Oh my, this book is epic! I didn't expect the main event to happen so early in the novel and Condie leaves you wondering what is going to happen for the read of the 500 page book which I liked. Although I anticipated the end, the main chuck of the story were totally unexpected as well as the secrets and mysteries revealed in this conclusion to the trilogy. Condie just keeps adding and adding to the drama and intensity of this book until the end to leave with, what I felt, was a satisfying end. The end ties up all the loose ends well and leaves a good picture of life for Cassia, Ky and Xander after closing the book.
The ending was well done although in some issues, I was left a little deflated, like 'Oh that's it?'. As I saw in one Goodreads review, the plot and end of this novel is fast-paced, jumpy and full of tension. Yet it's simple and pretty easy to follow, especially with all the sciencey stuff about The Plague (oh yeah that happens too...). Overall, I surprising enjoyed this book as I hope I've outlined. I understand a lot of readers like me disliked Matched and/or Crossed and are probably dubious about Reached then. My advice? Keep on reading, they only get progressively better throughout the trilogy to a lovely end for Cassia, Ky and of course, Xander. By far the best book in the Matched series.
I give this a 4 out of 5
Author's Website: http://www.allysoncondie.com/
Book #1: Matched
Book #2: Crossed