Wednesday, January 25, 2012

REVIEW: Crossed by Ally Condie

Matched #2
by Ally Condie (website | twitter)
Released: 11.01.2011
367 pages
Publisher: Dutton Juvenile
Source: library

In search of a future that may not exist and faced with the decision of who to share it with, Cassia journeys to the Outer Provinces in pursuit of Ky - taken by the Society to his certain death - only to find that he has escaped, leaving a series of clues in his wake.

Cassia's quest leads her to question much of what she holds dear, even as she finds glimmers of a different life across the border. But as Cassia nears resolve and certainty about her future with Ky, an invitation for rebellion, an unexpected betrayal, and a surprise visit from Xander - who may hold the key to the uprising and, still, to Cassia's heart - change the game once again. Nothing is as expected on the edge of Society, where crosses and double crosses make the path more twisted than ever. (from GoodReads).

REVIEW: This middle book unfortunately turned out to be middle of the road for me.  I truly enjoyed its predecessor, Matched, and I eagerly looked forward to seeing how Cassia would develop further in book two.  Sadly, I think she went stagnant.  I know middle books often act as bridges, but wow, characters can hop off the bridge at some point, right?  With a limited number of major players, very few twists, and little character development, Crossed turned out to be a prettily written, but ultimately, superfluous book in the trilogy.  And trust me, I am very disappointed that it was as I thought Cassia was turning into someone more kick-ass in the first book.

Don't get me wrong.  I don't need all my female leads to be full of charisma and feel they are **different**.  I like the quiet girls with invisible steel.  In book one, it seemed like Cassia was gaining a growing awareness of her world, its origins and limitations.  While her confusion and attractions to both Ky and Xander were very significant parts of the story, I thought that storyline paralleled Cassia's growth as a character and her burgeoning dissatisfaction with the Society.  The bulk of Crossed was made predominately of her quest to find Ky.  The other part of the book focuses on her and the other characters' ponderings about the rebellion against the Society, called the Rising, and its fabled leader, the Pilot.

The 'yea' things about the book are the alternating first-person points-of-view from Ky and Cassia.  Loved hearing Ky's thoughts directly from him and learning a bit more about his background and secrets.  However, the lack of action mixed with Condie's lovely and lyrical prose made most of the book feel anti-climatic and seem like a serious study on constant introspection.  Almost EVERY LITTLE THING said was thought upon by either Ky or Cassia.  So, if Ky said paragraph A in Cassia's chapter, then Cassia in turn thought about it, and often, it was simply a reinterpretation of what Ky already said, as if she was retelling herself so she could really soak it in.  And vice versa when it was Ky's chapters.  A little of this is lovely, particularly with Condie's soft and impressionistic writing style.  A book full of this understated narrative with a steady and quiet plot made for dull reading at times.

I will still read book three.  I've read the first two, and I want to know what happens.  I realize that three books is a nice number for a series, but like Lauren DeStefano's Wither, I think the plot of the entire series would have been better served if it was limited to two books.  At the very least, I think Crossed could have been shortened, thus creating a more urgent and exciting plot while keeping Condie's lyrical writing in tact.

1 comment:

  1. I like how it gets really good near the end I could not put it down :)