Thursday, January 31, 2013

Zzzzz...Huh? Is It Over?!? That Sums It Up. REVIEW: REACHED by Ally Condie

Reached (Matched #3)
by Ally Condie

Published November 13, 2012 by Penguin
2.2 Stars

After leaving Society to desperately seek The Rising, and each other, Cassia and Ky have found what they were looking for, but at the cost of losing each other yet again. Cassia is assigned undercover in Central city, Ky outside the borders, an airship pilot with Indie. Xander is a medic, with a secret. All too soon, everything shifts again.
Zzzzzz...... Huh? What?! is it over? That about sums up Reached, the last of the Matched trilogy. To say that I am disappointed is an understatement. I was completely underwhelmed. The terms boring, stagnant, ambiguous and flat come to mind. Imagine trying to cut industrial strength duck tape with a butter knife and you'll appreciate how dull this reading experience was. Let me explain why.

Matched (book #1) was tremendous. Rich, multi-faceted and dense, it was departure from the traditional YA model. What we got in book two was a weaker version with a grandiose attempt at conceptual intellectual symbolism. The idea that surreal psychedelic trips were appealing ended in the 60's but I don't think Ally Condie got the memo. Vague explanations and actions left me drained and confused. How did they get their training, why is she back in The Society, where did Ky go? Nothing was concrete. It was like trying to walk on top of a great vat of jello. It was a sticky, wobbling mess.


When we started the trilogy, Ky, Cassia and Xander were arresting and lush. In this installment they read about as inviting as the idea of eating a cardboard box with slugs as a topping. The love triangle became confusing. There were whole sections of the book that were complete filler.. I mean NOTHING happened. The whole Rising and Society conflict was non existent. Leading up to the book I thought there would some great uprising and epic battle to the death. Nothing. Zero. Zip. Nadda. 

Condie has the poetry aspect in her corner. She is masterful at designing flowing and complex metrical compositions. But I think she gets wrapped up in the imagery and lacks substance. We lost the point and became tangled up in too many ideas.

The romance was as flat as week old soda. Setting, plot and yes... the cover, were all acceptable. But I just could not get into this book. It was a real test of wills to plow through to the end and actually finish it. But, I will say that I owed it to the characters to finish out the series. 

2.2 stars sounds high for such a scathing review as this, but my initial captivation by the characters, the overall concept and Condie's thoughtful poetry (though it became overwhelmingly verbose) salvaged the rating from a one. 

If you really need to see how things pan out, read the book. Otherwise, just stick with book one and use your imagination for the rest.