I’m writing about these books together, because the bleh of each book (particularly the second and third) is already blurring together and I only just finished them. I love dystopias (um, fictional ones, though), YA or not, and so was excited to receive this series as a birthday gift a few months ago. On the surface, the Matched series should have been right up my alley. But, you know, this series never really got past the surface. I never felt any sort of connection to any of the characters. I had a hard time buying any of them as actual people whose actions made any sense at all. The characters were telling me how they felt (like ALL THE TIME) and yet…I never really bought it. There’s a completely convoluted love triangle because I guess that’s a prerequisite for YA fiction and yet I didn’t care about which guy the main character was going to end up with. I really didn’t even care if any of the characters died because I figured the response from the other characters would be something like, “So-and-so is dead. I feel sad. I loved so-and-so. You know I loved him because I’m telling you. Again.”
Matched (Book 1)
The premise of Matched is great. Cassia, a 17-year-old girl, lives in Oria, part of the structured world The Society has created. She’s recently been Matched to the boy she will marry who, in a surprising turn of events, just happens to be the boy next door, her best friend, Xander. And yet, a glitch in her Match means she was also Matched with an Aberration named Ky. The problem here is that, because of The Society’s rules, an Aberration cannot be Matched with anyone, meaning (I guess?) they’re destined to die cold and alone, never having known the joy of their Match’s touch.
The Society, you see, controls everything. They control who gets married, when people have children, and even which songs, poems, and paintings citizens are allowed to view. No one writes anymore, they all type, no one creates, and everyone is sorted into job just as they’re sorted into relationships.
Matched follows Cassia’s struggle with Society’s rules, finding herself drawn to Ky even though she was initially thrilled by be Matched with Xander. Cassia is also dealing with the death of her Grandfather, who is killed when he turns 80, as is the norm for The Society.
Actually, remember The Giver? It’s a lot like The Giver.
Crossed (Book 2)
Crossed picks up where Matched left off. Cassia’s family has been relocated and Cassia is in the Outer Provinces, searching for Ky. I don’t remember what Xander is doing because I don’t care. Ky is on the run, having escaped into The Carving with some friends he picked up at one of the camps.
Eventually Cassia (and her friend, Indie) find Ky. They decide to find The Rising, a rebellion grown out of forbidden poetry or something. Well, Cassia wants to find them and Ky only goes along with it because he’s afraid of losing Cassia. BE YOUR OWN MAN, KY.
The big difference with this book is that each chapter is told from a different character’s point of view, but I’m not really sure why that is, other than to confuse the reader, maybe? There were many times when I had to flip back to the beginning of the chapter to see who was speaking because the characters all sort of blended together. Everyone is a cipher, a mold of an actual person that Condie forgot to flesh out. Heroine, Love Interest, Friend, Villain…this is as specific as it gets. But get excited because there’s one more book left!
Reached (Book 3)
I only read this one because A) I wanted to see how the series ended despite not caring about what was going to happen and B) the books are quick reads and I feel like I’ve been reading Game of Thrones for freaking ever with no end in sight and I NEEDED A WIN, YOU GUYS.
Reached is just, I don’t know, there? Like, there’s the rebellion happening, the introduction of The Pilot (who never really seemed like a real person, just some rando who showed up every now and then to throw roadblocks in Cassia’s way), and there’s a Plague, which is released by The Rising to bring down The Society, which soon gets way out of hand (as plagues do) when the virus mutates.
Ky gets sick, of course, because Ky is the story’s whipping boy, spurring Cassia on to find a cure. Xander is there, too, of course, sort of still in love with Cassia but mostly just sad that she’ll never love him back the way she loves Ky. Who cares. Just get polygamy-married, you three, and stop whining.
Anyway. The book ends. Everyone is mostly fine. This series was mostly not fine. I still think the premise is cool but, in the end, wasn’t presented in a unique enough way to be very memorable.