Friday, 25 November 2011

Book Review: Crossed by Ally Condie.


Product details:
Publisher: Puffin.
Paperback, 367 pages.
Release date: November 24th 2010.
Rating: 2½ out of 5.
Ages: 13+
Series: Matched #2.
Other books in seriesMatched.

Rules are different outside the Society.

Chasing down an uncertain future, Cassia makes her way to the Outer Provinces in pursuit of Ky-taken by the Society to his certain death-only to find that he has escaped into the majestic, but treacherous, canyons. On this wild frontier are glimmers of a different life and the enthralling promise of rebellion. But even as Cassia sacrifices everything to reunite with Ky, ingenious surprises from Xander may change the game once again.

Narrated from both Cassia's and Ky's points of view, this hotly anticipated sequel to Matched will take them both to the edge of Society, where nothing is as expected and crosses and double crosses make their path more twisted than ever...


Last year, it seemed like the whole world read and fell in love with Ally Condie’s debut novel, Matched. The buzz surrounding the book was enormous, and it went on be an international bestseller. While I liked Matched, and enjoyed the book for the most part, it wasn’t a huge favourite of mine.  I found the plot too slow moving, I didn’t connect with the characters, and so unlike a lot of people who counted down the days to the sequel Crossed, I could pretty much take or leave it. While I didn’t have very high expectations for this one, I was still left disappointed on finishing the book. Crossed if full of perfectly poetic prose from Condie, but that wasn’t enough to save a book that contains perhaps one of the slowest moving plots I have ever encountered in my reading life.

Crossed begins in the immediate aftermath of Matched, with Ky banished to the Outer Provinces where he has effectively been sent to die, and Cassia leaving her life as she knows it to go and find him. Told in a dual narrative featuring alternating chapters in Ky and Cassia’s point of view, our introduction to the new world of Crossed is an awkward and somewhat uncomfortable one. Condie doesn’t do much to re-cap the events of Matched and the narrative structure of this book doesn’t help matters as the voices of Ky and Cassia are pretty much impossible to tell apart. I can’t recall the amount of times I had to check back to the beginning of the chapter to see which of the characters was narrating events.

I really didn’t feel as thought the plot of Crossed picked up at all until the final third of the book, and even then, I can’t say that things were particularly exciting. A large part of the book sees the two characters separated as Cassia makes her way towards Ky overcoming obstacles and hardships in the process. It’s a test of endurance for her, as she breaks free of her societal restraints in search of the boy she loves and the rebels who are leading an upsurge against the Society. But where there could have been action, there never is, and the plot never really hits its stride.

With the plot so lacking then, I was counting on the characters to save this book for me. I didn’t feel connected to Ky or Cassia in Matched, and unfortunately the same can be said here. Those two don’t really work for me. As characters I find them bland, their romance tepid. I’m with the Society when they say that Xander is a better match for Cassia. He’s one character I’ve wanted to know more about right from the start, and it seems that there is much more to him than meets the eye. As a character he intrigues me, but unfortunately he is only featured in this book for the briefest of moments. Still though, I’m expecting more of him in the series conclusion. Crossed also sees the introduction of a wild and willful girl called Indie, who I found infinitely more interesting than Cassia.

While Crossed suffered from the dreaded mid-series slump, and didn’t work for me on a number of levels, I find myself still invested in the series, and wanting to know how it all ends.  A large part of this is down to Condie’s style which is wonderfully descriptive as ever. I also feel that while Crossed lacked any plot tension or excitement, Condie has laid the foundations for an explosive conclusion in which all the secrets of the Society will be revealed, and Cassia will finally have to choose if she wants to be with Ky, the boy who has stolen her heart, or Xander the boy who has loved her forever.

10 comments :

  1. I really enjoyed the book but I agree with you on every point here, especially the voice. I kept forgetting whose POV I was in and then was thrown from the story when I discovered I was in the wrong character head.

    I wasn't too thrilled with how things played out near the end, but I don't want to say anything more because it will spoil things for others if I do.

    I, too, want to read the final book, even though I'm sure at the end she'll still end up with Ky. I really like both him and Zander.

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  2. Hmm...I love Matched but I have to admit that it's slow for me. I love the writing but sometimes it's just...too slow. Now, I'm worried that if I pick up Crossed, it will be even slower. :-/ Great honest review!

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  3. I feel the same way about this book. I thought it was entertaining, especially the last part of the book, but it took SO long to get to the good stuff. I had a feeling you would think this was slow. I am definitely intrigued by Xander and I hope there is more of him the next book, too.

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  4. Oh, that's sad to hear. I havent read the first book, but I want to get the first and second one together. (or third, if I still haven't started the series next year. lol) Anyway, I hate it when the plot of the sequal doesn't captivate me. Still, good enough for you to give the last book a try! That's good! :)

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  5. I still haven't read Matched, but it's really a shame this one is disappointing. The lacking plot would definitely get to me, I can understand why you had trouble! Thanks for the review :).

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  6. I'm not into Matched either. I thought it was really slow too. I read some reviews about Crossed saying it's slow-paced as well so I kinda got discouraged to read it. I thought Matched was all about world-building and I was hoping that the more interesting parts will be in Crossed. But I guess not. But I will still -probably- read this sometime next year to know how it's going to play out in the end. Thanks for the review!

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  7. Oh, that's too bad. I keep hearing this, though...maybe it's a victim of book two syndrome! I will be reading this sometime soon, though, it's good to know to temper my expectations. :)

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  8. I had much the same reaction to this one despite how much I adored Matched. I just couldn't get past how much of a middle book this was and felt like I really didn't learn anything new or get to know either Cassia or Ky better than I did after reading Matched. I do agree there's tons of potential for an incredible finale though, so I'm looking forward to that:)

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  9. IwouldratheRbereading26 May 2012 at 00:53

    I enjoyed this one but agree with your points. I just know what to expect from Condie, it is like reading a Maggie Stiefvater book for me. I read it more for the prose than the plot, I guess. I do agree that Xander sure is getting interesting!

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  10. I read this series out of pure curiosity. The part of "I couldn't say what I wanted to say so I pointed to the sky..." got me reading Crossed... and then Reached...and then I heated the series.

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