Monday, October 31, 2011

Book Review: Crossed

Author: Ally Condie
Publisher: Dutton Juvenile
Series: Matched #2
Release date: November 1, 2011
Pages: 384
Read it in: 2 days
Source: The Library

Summary: In search of a future that may not exist and faced with the decision of who to share it with, Cassia journeys to the Outer Provinces in pursuit of Ky - taken by the Society to his certain death - only to find that he has escaped, leaving a series of clues in his wake.

Cassia's quest leads her to question much of what she holds dear, even as she finds glimmers of a different life across the border. But as Cassia nears resolve and certainty about her future with Ky, an invitation for rebellion, an unexpected betrayal, and a surprise visit from Xander - who may hold the key to the uprising and, still, to Cassia's heart - change the game once again. Nothing is as expected on the edge of Society, where crosses and double crosses make the path more twisted than ever.

LC's Take:

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.

~Cover Talk~

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.

LC's Rating:
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I was not impressed with the sequel to Matched. There was very little action, and hardly any explanation behind what the characters were doing or thinking. The plot was also extremely slow and difficult to maintain interest in, due to the fact that there was so much internal reflection going on. Unfortunately, boredom and confusion were the end results.


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8 comments:

  1. Yeah, I agree with pretty much everything you said. I loved Matched, this one was just very blah for me. It was still a favorite because I am attached to these characters and this series, but it definitely was a letdown.

    I also agree with you about the next book being red. I think you are right. I hope so!

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  2. I don't feel this way at all... I think the story was definitely slower, but not to the point of disliking it at ALL...

    I love these characters, and the plot that's playing out is KILLING ME! I can't wait for the next one!

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  3. Thanks for the review. I've been excited to read this one. I liked Matched, but as you mentioned, there was so much missing from it, like who The Society is, that I was hoping would be explained in Crossed.

    I still plan on reading Crossed, but it's not at the top of my TBR list at this point.

    The covers are super-gorgeous, though, and I love what you think the last book cover will look like. I hope you're right about it!

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  4. Weaaah I'm sad to hear you didn't love it! or even like it that much haha. Looks like it didn't really pay off to get this from the library early lol. I hope I enjoy this more than you did, Matched is one of my all time favorite books! Thanks for being honest :)

    Anna @ Literary Exploration

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  5. I'm scared to start this series because most of my friends hated it with a passion. And from waht I see, the ones who liked it enough to read Crossed has only been giving it mediocre reviews so I'm not convinced I should read it. There are so many great books on my TBR list I'll read instead :) Excellent review!!

    Giselle
    Xpresso Reads

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  6. Kara~ I also thought that Matched was a pretty good book, but in my case I had read other dystopians like Divergent and Wither that I was comparing Matched to, and it didn't quite stack up in my opinion, even thought it definitely was good! And I do like the romance between Cassia and Ky-- I'm still rooting for them! :)

    Ashley~ I'm glad that you liked it, but my review states more reasons for not being impressed than just a slow plot-- I for one don't like when very little is explained to me. The world building in my opinion is very incomplete in this series, so I am hoping that the last book will explain a lot more...

    Kelly~ I was excited too! heard someone describe this series as the author carefully laying out the pieces of a puzzle and not giving much away to the reader-- I try to think of that and what the author's intentions were, but I still feel like I need to have more questions answered to stay truly interested...

    Anna~ Honestly, I hope you do too lol :P I'm still glad I got to read it early. Matched never had that strong of an impact on me, so that's something to consider-- if you're already more invested in the story and characters, you'll probably like this one much better!

    Giselle~ I agree with you, and if you don't like slower plots than this book probably isn't for you. Glad you liked the review! :)

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  7. This is how I felt about the first installment, so I guess I won't be picking up Crossed any time soon. Forced poetry is the HARDEST to get through.

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  8. I totally feel the same about Crossed. Yes, it was extremely slow and very hard to stay focused! My mind kept drifting away and it was torture waiting to reach the end so I could read something more worthwhile. Thank God the ending was better than expected.

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