REVIEW: Reached (Matched #3) by Ally Condie

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars, Genre: Dystopian Fiction/ Young Adult, Pages: 384, Level: Easy

Book Description from Barnes & Noble:

“Cassia’s journey began with an error, a momentary glitch in the otherwise perfect façade of the Society. After crossing canyons to break free, she waits, silk and paper smuggled against her skin, ready for the final chapter.

The wait is over.

One young woman has raged against those who threaten to keep away what matters most- family, love, choice. Her quiet revolution is about to explode into full-scale rebellion.

With exquisite prose, the emotionally gripping conclusion to the international–bestselling Matched trilogy returns Cassia, Ky, and Xander to the Society to save the one thing they have been denied for so long, the power to choose.”

Reached is the third in the Matched trilogy. In this final installment, Condie will answer most of those pesky questions the reader has been asking and explanations to the mysteries of the Society and Rising. Happy days are ahead!

To be quite honest, I was underwhelmed with the first half of the book; it was slow and I had a difficult time getting into it. I don’t know what’s going on with some of the authors lately, but there seems to be a lot of unnecessary and boring fluff going around. For example, remember in Crossed when Cassia reads a note from Xander stating he has a secret he wants to tell her in person? Condie drags this out for a long time, even after both Cassia and the reader have figure out what the secret is. Then I started to think there was a huge, surprise revelation in the making because surely the author would not drag out something so insignificant. Prepare yourself for disappointment. Bad editor!

Then there is the letter Cassia writes to Xander with her own confession. The confession is at the end of the letter, which, of course, is damaged and unreadable. So right when Xander gets to the important part, WHAM- it’s gone. I tell you, Ky may have been victimized by the Society, but Xander takes a beating from the writing- the author’s that is.

Things did start to get exciting when Condie finally starts revealing those answers and explanations I mentioned earlier. I have to say, the connection between the Society and Rising is genius, although very Matrix-like. I thought it was awesome and just the right amount creepy.

Now to the whole Otherlands issue, which always remains mysterious- Does it really exist? Is it so wonderful that no one ever wants to come back, even to tell the others? Or is it all a fantasy and everyone who goes there dies while trying to find it? I could go on with all the possibilities, but I won’t. Neither will Condie for that matter. For those of us oldsters, it is very reminiscent of Logan’s Run.

And then the whole love story thing kind of fixes itself a little too easily. Any competition or complication is quickly remedied or killed off. I’m glad Cassia ends up with who she does, but she should suffer a little bit over her decision. Wrapping things up in a nice neat package and giving her an easy out is overly unrealistic. I guess I have to keep in mind that we are talking about a book geared toward teenagers and some authors underestimate the intelligence of this particular audience. I think it does a disservice to young adults to assume they want to end the story with all flowers and bunnies.

Condie did a really good job of bringing everything together in the end. There were some good “[Luke], I am your father” moments, which makes me wonder how the author does this. Does the author design a flow chart of characters ahead of time and make the story match? Or does the author write the first book with no idea where it is going, the book becomes a huge success and now she has to figure out how to tie everything together? Did she plant a seemingly insignificant detail in the first book with the full intent of using it as a spectacular revelation with far reaching consequences, or was it an afterthought? With a series, I would think there are a lot of pages and time in between books to mess things up, but with Reached, the author really did deliver a believable connection between characters and details in the end.

Unfortunately, I thought the first part of the final scene was a bit cliché, especially with what is going on at the time of its release. In addition, Condie leaves room for another sequel or, more likely, a spinoff. Don’t be surprised if you see more books come out dealing with rebuilding Society, a new rebellion with Xander as the leader or a freakish Brave New World in the Otherlands. They could work.

Reviewed by Christina

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