Since these books are part of a trilogy, I thought I could just tackle them together.
The first installation, Matched, starts off with a new twist to the dystopian society story–the fact that every person is ‘matched’ together with their perfect companion. Cassia is matched with her best friend Xander, which makes her the envy of all her friends and leaves her thinking no one could be luckier…until she begins to learn that there may have been someone else she was meant to be matched with after all. The mysterious and quiet Ky Markham, adopted by the prominent Markham family but considered an ‘Aberration’ by the Officials in the Society. The story moves with an alternating fast and slow pace and serves mainly to introduce us to the characters and Society’s tight grip on its people. Told in first person point of view from Cassia, I found that to be occasionally tiresome because she can be quite vacillating.
Let me be clear here, this is not Cassia’s fault. It’s the fault of all the dystopian society writers writing in first person perspective from a teenage girl’s point of view. Or just writing from a teenage girl’s point of view in general. Of course their minds are in constant turmoil with questions. The age is one where they come into their own decisions and begin to wonder if what they’ve been told their whole lives is correct or whether a new path is to be carved. We’ve all been there. Being a teenage girl can be tiring work, and being in ANOTHER teenage girl’s mind for the stretch of an entire book can be downright mentally exhausting. That’s just me though.
Matched had me in a bit of a pickle as well. I found the romance between Ky and Cassia to be too quick and too easy. Of course that is young love (god, I sound old and condescending here don’t I?) but sometimes I just found it a bit too rushed and unrealistic. On the other hand, I really enjoyed Xander’s character. He’s stoic, steady, sensible, handsome, funny, confident, and in love with Cassia without being all poetic and mushy about it. My kind of guy. I found myself disappointed that Cassia was going after Ky but I understood her reasoning behind it. Ky ain’t a bad guy.
Crossed is where I really start to enjoy the trilogy. It moves incredibly quickly and it had me turning the pages quite frantically. I believe I finished it in 3 hours flat. Told from alternating points of view between Ky and Cassia, this was an automatic major help to the story. We get to see them both struggling to get to each other while running from the Society and Officials, all the while making some important and sometimes rather devastating discoveries. Allie Condie really weaved this story well. When Crossed came to an end, I realized there were a lot of questions I had about the set up in general that I’m really hoping Reached will answer!
Overall, both these book are a good, easy read and while Matched was a bit halting for me, I really enjoyed Crossed and can’t wait for Reached!