Sunday, December 16, 2012
We've Reached the End
Cassia, Ky, and Xander have survived a lot, but they have no idea how the Society will end up after the rebels have executed their plan. But the plan may have more consequences than anyone prepared for in Ally Condie's Matched finale, Reached.
Ky is a pilot for the Pilot, the leader and inspiration of the rebels, and he delivers to the people who need them. Cassia's sorter skills are going to help find the ultimate cure. But it is Xander who is there, on ground zero, helping the people who have become "incidental casualties" to the rebellion. He is a physic, a medic who helps the people suffering from the Plague. It is easy enough to do, as part of the rebellion, because the Plague was supposed to happen. The Society's very own control measure backfired and infected the general public, so the rebels created a cure. And isn't it convenient that they were able to swoop in and save the day just before the Plague took too many lives? Xander knows this was the plan all along, and he understands people wouldn't support the rebellion without a good reason, but no one prepared for what happened next.
The Plague mutated.
Now the stakes are higher. The rebellion's cure doesn't work on this strand of the Plague, but there has to be a cure out there because a large portion of the outsiders, the people not living within the Society's control before the Plague, are immune. But it will take a lot of work and many sorters to find out the basis for the immunity. Meanwhile, Xander has been quarantined with the victims of the mutated plague and Ky begins to question the true nature of the rebellion. But one thing is for certain. Without a cure, all the lives lost and things sacrificed will be wasted if a cure isn't found. And no one knows the stakes more than Cassia.
I have to say this was my least favorite of the three books. I am fine with how it ended, I understand both the execution and the conclusion, but I just didn't like how I got there as much as I did with the first two books. If you remember, Matched was just so beautifully written, poetic, melodious. Crossed took the story to a new level, getting Cassia outside the Society and really expanding the story. But Reached lost the magic of both previous stories. Yes, the writing was beautiful, but not as much so as before, and the story hit a weird point where the crossing between Society and Rebels became too much for me to invest in fully. I even liked the separate stories of our main characters, which eld my interest, but there was just some kind of magic missing from this last installment that I simply can't put my finger on. Maybe it was just me, but this book didn't captivate me like the rest of the series did.
On a whole, though, this is a really beautiful story. It is meant for people who liked The Giver, not those who loved Hunger Games because the story is less about the action and more about the beautiful human emotions tied to the circumstances. Condie does a beautiful job of getting to the root of all this conflict- the human will for freedom, expression, and beauty. It is amazing to see those complex emotions and desires displayed with such ease on the page, and in a way young adults can fully understand and talk about. That type of metacognition is not something the average teenager engages in on a daily basis (or adult for that matter) so it is beautiful to see a popular series that would encourage (or even force) them to do so. I did like this series, and I am starting to think if I reread this book and took more time to digest it (instead of devouring it because I wanted so desperately to know what happened), my opinion might just change. So I will do that. I will reread it after a while and let you know if my initial reaction was jaded. So stay tuned!