Publisher: Dutton Juvenile
Series: Matched #2
Release date: November 1, 2011
Read it in: 2 days
Source: The Library
Sigh... where to begin with this one? You know that I **try** to be nice with my reviews and at least say something that I liked about a book before I go all crazy-rant-girl on it, so I guess we'll do a run-down of what I liked about this second book in Ally Condie's Matched trilogy first...
Crossed did a good job of continuing the romance between Cassia and Ky, and honestly, I do like the romance between them. Not too hot-n-heavy, not to whiny-piney, it's sweet and simple. I also liked the conflict that was created between all the relationships going on, even though we all know just how beaten to death love triangles are. Cassia still doesn't know whether she should chose Xander, the guy she was originally matched with, or go with Ky who has shown her a whole new way of life. Oh yeah, and what was going on between Ky and Indie?! Was anybody else wondering that? Were they attracted to each other? I couldn't tell, but this definitely peaked my curiosity and I wonder what will be going on between them in the future...
The new characters that were introduced in Crossed-- namely Indie, Eli, Vick and Hunter-- were all likable, if somewhat lackluster and underdeveloped. I thought that Indie was strong and brave, which Cassia really needed while she was trying to survive in the wilderness, and I'm glad that Ky decided to take Eli and Vick with him, so there was some interaction going on during his parts of the story. Hunter was sort of a mystery, although we know that he has a sad background.
I also liked the descriptive language used to paint a picture of what The Carving-- AKA the giant canyon that Ky and Cassia escape to-- was like. For the most part, I was able to see the rugged landscape and the different settings that both Cassia and Ky traveled through, which created a stark contrast to the perfect, pristine setting of The Society from the first book.
Alright, so that's what I liked, now moving on to the stuff I wasn't a fan of.
First of all, the plot was so sllllloooowwww... like I'm talking molasses in January slow. I think that the reason for this was that the narrative was extremely reflective. I mean, you're in the moment, and then all of a sudden, one of the characters starts reminiscing about some memory, or starts considering a leaf or a piece of grass and thinking, "Wow, how beautiful. This green leaf reminds me of the color of my Match banquet dress, and my mom and dad, and my childhood, and it's so pretty, what a beautiful blade of grass... I think I will write a poem about it."
No, I am not making this up-- literally, the entire book is like this. And what's more, I don't understand the point of it. None of the memories are ones we haven't already heard about from the first book, and they don't bring us to any mind-blowing revelations about what's going on in the present. They're just pretty and empty and-- I'm sorry-- don't add much to the plot, except that I had to work that much harder to not fall asleep.
My second issue with this series-- and this book in particular-- is that there is pretty much zero context or motivation for anything that is going on. This is a problem not just with the main characters, but with the entire world that they live in. I have so many questions that haven't been answered yet, starting with:
1.) WHO or WHAT is the Society and what is their purpose behind getting rid of all but 100 of everything (example: The Hundred Songs, The Hundred Paintings, The Hundred Poems...), and then controlling everyone in the way that they do? We're told that they want to "increase efficiency" and stop death, but how the heck does getting rid of music and paintings do this??
2.) WHO is "The Enemy" that is mentioned at least a hundred times throughout the story and what is their motivation for rising up against The Society and killing people in the Outer Provinces? NOTHING is said about The Enemy, if you aren't counting the fact that "they" are called "The Enemy." This gives me the reader absolutely nada to go on-- do the main characters even know who on earth "The Enemy" is? Wouldn't this be an important little tidbit of info to let us in on?? JUST SAYING.
3.) WHO are these people in "The Rising" and what the heck is their motivation? To get rid of The Society? The Enemy? I am SO CONFUSED. And also, why does Cassia want to join The Rising's rebellion so badly when she has no idea who they even are or what they actually stand for?
4.) What exactly was everyone's ultimate goal in this book? Why were they wandering around a canyon for almost 400 pages? I'm sorry, but if I get to the end of a book and have little understanding of why anything just happened and I close the thing with a ginormous blank stare on my face-- you missed telling me something. Like, badly.
So basically what I'm trying to say is that, the writing wasn't bad and the characters weren't too bad (although they are pretty boring too), but pretty much everything about Crossed was incredibly vague and confusing. And forget about action because there wasn't any. There was a lot of description, but unfortunately not in the places where I actually needed it.
This is similar to how Matched was written, but I can forgive Matched because it was the first book in the series and there was at least some action going on. I expected that in this second book, there would be more explanation about the Society and the Enemy, but unfortunately I was left even more confused than I was at the end of the first book! Crossed just seemed like a lot of aimless wandering around, without actually getting anywhere. And it is very frustrating when you read something like this for the entire length of a book, but nothing is ever really explained about what everyone is trying to accomplish and why.
So I don't know. For me, this is just one those series that meets my most basic standards of being "good," but never leads up to anything that really makes it stand out as being incredible or even really memorable. I thought that the writing was "good" if somewhat bland in places, the narrative flowed well between Cassia and Ky's points of view, and there was nothing outwardly annoying in this book, besides the fact that I can't find a motivation for anything in this plot for the life of me. The thing with second books in series is-- you need to give your readers something to go on. You can't just talk all vague and wishy-washy and totally leave them in the dark, because you're going to lose their interest. My final comment would be "meh." And I hate having that reaction to a book.
I think we can all agree that these covers are just beautiful. I liked the cover for Matched even better than this one, but I think that they both go together perfectly. And the cool thing is that the colors actually are incorporated into the books-- in Matched, the main color theme is green, and in Crossed it was blue. My guess is that the last book in the trilogy is going to be red! And maybe the glass sphere will be totally smashed? I'm definitely looking forward to seeing it.