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Monday, November 12, 2012

Review: Crossed (Matched #2) by Ally Condie

Publisher: Penguin
Published: November 1, 2011
Pages: 367
Source: Purchased
Rating: 3.5 Stars

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.

In short: While Crossed by Ally Condie was distinctly lacking in action, there was just enough intrigue to keep me interested in reading Reached.
I am such a lemming. People say how great Matched is and I find a way to read it as soon as I can. People say how disappointing Crossed was and I put off reading it for a year because of that. And unfortunately - and despite how much I loved Matched - I can't help but agree with reviewers who thought Crossed was a slow and sort of monotonous read. Not a whole lot happens and it seemed more like just a set-up book for the final book in the Matched Trilogy, Reached. I mean, Matched was a slow read as well, but I found that it at least held my interest throughout with its excellent world building and beautiful writing. With Crossed, the detailed introduction to the world was supposed to be over with in book one and I wanted some of the action promised to me at the end of Matched.

I'm also very much disappointed that I don't feel like I have any particularly strong connection to the three main characters - Cassia, Ky, and Xander. Especially Cassia. She's a bit on the bland side. And again, I remember feeling the same way about her character in Matched, but I was willing to excuse it at the time because I thought maybe all the characters were supposed to be sort of bland and similar because of their restricted freedoms and limited choices. And with how Crossed was set up at the end of Matched, I thought for sure this was going to be Cassia and company's time to come into their own a bit more. But alas, this was not the case. They're not bad characters by any means - I just don't have any particular attachment to any of them.

Okay, okay, so it may seem like I didn't like Crossed at all, but that's not true! I am still a huge fan of Ally Condie's writing style. She somehow manages to incorporate poetry and symbolism flawlessly into the text and not have it be distracting or over-thought. Ally Condie's writing accounts for the bulk of my enjoyment of Crossed. And I can't deny that there was just enough intrigue in Crossed to keep me coming back for Reached. So what am I hoping for in Reached (to be released November 13, 2012)? Ideally, more character depth and I really hope Ally Condie takes this opportunity to ramp up the action to make a truly exciting read. It is the final book in the trilogy after all!

Previously, my review of Matched.

Other Reviews:
Books: A True Story
Burning Impossibly Bright
Lunar Rainbows
My Precious

Authors Links:


  1. I'm influenced by good/bad reviews all the time! I think we all are.
    Too bad this didn't quite meet your expectations. It makes me sad whenever a second book isn't as good as its predecessor. I haven't read these yet, but I was/am planning to.. and yes, your review influenced me enough to postpone reading it for a little while longer. :)

  2. I stil need to read Matched! Ally was soooo nice at the book signing, so I definitely have to get on it!

    Too bad this one wasn't as good as the first one, but hopefully you'll still continue on with the series!

  3. I definitely felt the same way Aylee! I absolutely adored Matched, it was one of my favorite reads last year (the year before last? I can't remember), but Crossed was a bit of a challenge to muddle through for me. I think a lot of it came from the fact that Cassia and Ky were separated for most of it, so the kind of addictive danger that stemmed from their interactions in Matched were absent in this one. Still, I'm definitely going to be reading Reached, I need to know how everything ends! Lovely review:)

  4. I'm curious to see what I think of Crossed. I loved Matched but I also saw a lot of problems with it. I wonder if I'll feel the same about Crossed or if the problems will outweigh the good parts.

  5. I am actually stuck on Crossed right now. I blame iBooks. With so many other books sitting all glossy on that glossier wooden shelf...I just can't get through this book! And I loved Matched too. Sigh.

  6. I often find this problem in second books in dystopia's. The world building is so engrossing in the first one and then in the second the spark just isn't there. It's too bad that happened for you here. I haven't read the first book in the series and don't really have a desire too. I will say that I really like the covers in this series though and the progression that they follow is great. Awesome review, Aylee. Sorry this on didn't live up to the first, but happy you still enjoyed it overall.

  7. I haven't read any of these books. Honestly, I've heard lukewarm things about them...and I don't read much dystopia in general. Sorry it wasn't that great of a novel. I don't like when you get a series book that seems like it's only good to set up the next book. Makes you want the next one more sometimes, or puts you off the next book b/c you're so bored/annoyed. ahah

  8. hrm hrm this doesn't really seem like my kinda books but i've seen it around town. hopefully the ending doesn't disappoint you and ups the game xx

  9. I'm really looking forward to the third book. I felt, not unlike you, this book was a lot of filer which didn't really move the story forward much. It sort of stalled, I did appreciate getting to know some of the main characters better. However, net book I want more plot and less story telling.

  10. I read Matched and yeah, Cassia me off as bland quite often, I was more intrigued by Xander and Ky (particularly Xander who seems so straight and narrow but bends the rules surprisingly often for the people he cares about).

    Now, I didn't love Matched so I never got around reading Crossed, and now I sort of don't want to since I can deal with a lot but not with monotony.

    I hope the last book of the trilogy is better though.

  11. So many people didn't like Crossed! You're right the pacing was on the slow side. I think I was expecting it to be a let-down, not only because of the reviews but because I am usually let down by the second book in a trilogy (The Hunger Games being the exception- Catching Fire was my favorite!) but yeah I think my expectations were already low and maybe that's why I managed to enjoy Crossed. I didn't like Cassia at all through the first half of Matched but I she grew on me in the second half. I'm in the minority here because I liked her even more in Crossed. I liked Ky a lot more in Crossed as well because we got to know him more and because he flashed back to a lot of things in Matched but this time from his perspective...and I'm a sucker for a boy's POV on something we already knew from the female POV ♥ haha!

    For the exact same reason you say though, I'm a fan of this series. Ally Condie's mix of poetry and symbolism on words and art just get to me. If it's any help, I've read some GLOWING reviews of Reached from people who didn't like books 1 or 2, so I'm thinking we may be in for a treat ;)

    Great review, I really liked all the points you brought out! Thanks for sharing.

  12. I have to agree. I was not as impressed with Crossed, and I felt absolutely nothing for the characters. I could care less who Cassia picks (even though that sounds really mean :/). And Cassia is "bland." Perfect word. I have to finish the series though. i feel compelled to. I only hope, like you, that Reached will offer more. Great review!

  13. I loved the writing style in Crossed, too. I heard from another blogger that Reached is very character driven. I hope that means we get to know them a little better. I feel like they might be a little bland because we don't know everything about them yet. I did find Cassia very relatable which kept my interest through both books. Loved your review and I hope you like Reached. I haven't read it yet, but I'm really looking forward to it.

  14. Yes, some real action in Book 3 would be a nice change of pace! I didn't realize that the final book in this series is releasing this month (thanks for the reminder). I'm really curious to see how Condie ends the trilogy.

  15. Hmm, it looks like this book is a case of the "Middle Book Syndrome"- Ally Condie has written a phenomenal first book (although I've never read it) but disappointing, mediocre sequel. Hopefully, the third in the trilogy will exceed your expectations! Stunning review, Aylee. :)

  16. I didn't love this book but I liked it enough to continue the series. I was a huge fan of Matched. I think Reached will be much more action packed, I'm totally looking forward to it.

  17. I just posted my review of Crossed yesterday and I'm glad to see that I'm not the only one that was 'MEH' about it. I'm still intrigued by the idea behind the book, and I'll still read Reached - eventually, just because I hate not finishing a series. I'm glad to see that Reached seems to be getting better reviews :)

  18. Slow pacing is my book nemesis, so I was a lot less tolerant of this book than you were.

    Another thing that I had trouble with was the fact that Cassia and Ky's voices as narrators weren't distinguishable. And I thought that if Condie was going to introduce Ky as a narrator, she should have put some thought into how his voice would be different from Cassia's. On more than one occasion I got confused as to who I was reading, and that really shouldn't happen.

    And I had issue with the fact that all deaths and threats of the Society happened "off-screen" instead of in the present moment with Cassia or Ky as witnesses.

    I did like the canyon setting. And the twist with the blue pill. And I like Xander. If I do read Reached (and I probably will) it will be because I want to see what happens with Xander.

    Lauren @ Hughes Reviews