Crossed (Matched, Book #2)
by Ally Condie
Release Date: November 1st, 2011
2011 Dutton Books
Softcover ARC: 384 Pages
Genre: Young Adult Fiction
Source: Review Copy from Penguin
3 / 5 Stars
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.
Crossed is one of those books where I had a lot of trouble deciding what to do with this review. There were a number of things I did like about this novel, but unfortunately, I did have an issue with the plot and the characterization and it was pure drive and adrenaline that made me read the book to the end.
One of the things I did enjoy was the growing romance between Cassia and Ky and the increasing complications implicated in that relationship. The differences between the two were much more apparent in this novel, and this inevitably allowed some of the issues between them to come out and led to some interesting discussions about Ky's background and even more interestingly, about Xander's. The little bit of romance that was there was sweet, but it dealt with more complex emotions and I really liked that. I'm also not sure if I was reading into things too much, but I'm also starting to wonder about Ky and Indie and what role the two of them are going to play in this. To be honest, I've always been a Cassia and Xander fan anyways, so if it plays out like I sort of see it playing out towards the end of this novel, things could get rather interesting for everyone.
I very much like the introduction of Indie, Eli, Hunter, and Vick, and although Indie kind of bothered me at the beginning as I was a big Cassia fan, I have slowly become a big Indie fan as well, although I am not sure of her motives. Even though I enjoyed meeting the new characters and learning about them, I did find their character development to be somewhat lacking and I really wished that Ms. Condie had spent more time on the secondary characters and not so much on Cassie and Ky. One of the things I wasn't a huge fan of in this novel was the pace of the novel and I'm talking about it here because the author spent so much time focused on what the characters were thinking that it wasted valuable plot time. I can't tell you how often Cassia would look at something and think about creating a poem and it would go on for paragraphs, or how Ky would think about his mother's rain drawings, and it would go on forever. Don't get me wrong, I liked the philosophical thinking as I enjoy that kind of thing, but too much is overkill and it takes away from the overall tone of the novel, especially when there is no point to them at all.
As always, Ms. Condie's writing style is descriptive and flowing, and has a way of using contrasting language very effectively. The descriptions of the caverns, the settlement, the Carving, and the landscape were very clear in my mind, and I love the constrasts she uses so very well to show the good and the destructive. Despite the writing style, there is very little in this novel that I felt really advanced the plot a whole lot. I don't feel like I learned anything new about the Society, the Rising, the Enemy, or anything else and was extremely frustrated because of this. I felt like the plot was bland, with very little action, a lot of thinking, and it just seemed to wander around without any point that I could really see except that Cassia and India really wanted to find the Rising.
Crossed is an okay story, but if you are looking for answers to the many questions you may have had after reading Matched, you will not find them in this novel. I found the elements in this story to be quite unclear, and while it was interesting to watch Ky and Cassia's relationship face new hardships as they learn about their intrinsic differences, the world around them seems to be falling apart at the seams and we have no clue what is going on or why. While I will probably read the third novel in this series, I really hope that it contains a lot more action and suspense than this one as this one felt sort of bland, and I think it fell a bit short of the impact it intended to make. I'm still rooting for Xander though!!!