Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Dystopia Crossed with Love Story

A utopia is always hiding a dystopia. Beneath all that perfect living and niceness is corruption and evil like you have never known before. Sadly, a utopia is just a pipe dream. In the Matched trilogy, Ally Condie started with a Giver-esque utopia that gave way to the dystopia hiding beneath. Now, with Crossed, you see what was really going on behind the scenes in the Society's utopia.

Cassia was matched to Xander, but she fell in love with Ky. Sent to a work camp in the edge of the provinces, she could only think of escaping to find Ky. As an Aberration, an outcast of the Society, Ky was sent to act as a decoy for the enemy in one of the outermost villages. That way the Enemy only killed outcasts, not real citizens of the Society. When Ky gets the chance to run, he takes a young boy and the only friend he has made at the village and heads for the canyons. When Cassia sees an opportunity to get out of the camp where she is held, she takes it and ends up at one of the outer villages used as decoys. Once there, she and Indie, another girl from the camp, pick up and head the direction of the canyons where they assume Ky will be.

Along the way through the canyon, both groups make a lot of mistakes and realizations. It is clear there are things even their cynicism wouldn't lead them to have believed the Society was capable of. When Cassia, poisoned by the tablet the Society makes as a "lifesaver", refuses to stop moving, her determination not only saves her life from the poison, but also leads her straight to Ky. What she doesn't expect when she finds him is for the two of them to have hugely different paths to take for the future. Cassia is drawn to the resistance, in the hopes of stopping the Society, but Ky knows how damaging the resistance can be for those who are involved in it. They have finally found each other, but will they be able to stay together?

This was not your average sequel because the story has taken such an enormous turn from the original novel. While the original novel was much more a fallen utopia, the dystopia in this book rings loud and clear. It is hard to miss, actually! The Society is such an evil, oppressive society and all you want is to see them taken down. In fact, while I can see Ky's side of things, I have to agree with Indie and Cassia- I would totally want to join the resistance. Although this sequel was a complete turn-around from the original novel, it still felt like a set-up for the final story. The action isn't enthralling, but it is certainly interesting. I think the final novel in the trilogy will be the best story yet. 

This is a great story for anyone who liked the Giver or any other young adult dystopia. It isn't too graphic or harsh, as are frequently the complaints about dystopias and post-apocalyptic stories in the YA genre. Instead, Condie prefers to let the grim future speak for itself and the oppressive government's actions leave much to the imagination. This is a great trilogy, but I am anxious to see how it ends now. The drastic switch in direction will surely make you feel the same way!

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