Review: Crossed by Ally Condie

4 December, 2011 Reviews 3 comments

Review: Crossed by Ally CondieCrossed by Ally Condie
Series: Matched #2
Published by Dutton Children's Books on November 1st 2011
Pages: 367
Genres: Dystopian, Young Adult
Format: Hardcover
Source: Library
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two-stars

The hotly awaited second book in the dystopian Matched trilogy

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.

Psst…Stephanie. Wake up, it’s over.

Oh, man. Did I fall asleep again? It’s not my fault. Really, it isn’t. If only Crossed had just a little bit more action and a lot less poetry, it would have been able to keep my attention focused on reading the book instead of hitting my REM cycle. That’s not to say I didn’t entirely enjoy Crossed, but it also didn’t live up to my expectations.

Crossed picks up where Matched left off. Ky had been sent away to the Outer Provinces and Cassia is currently residing in a girl’s work camp. In this installment she travels to the Outer Provinces to find Ky, while he somehow escapes the Outer Provinces to be reunited with Cassia back in the Society. A few new discoveries are made regarding the Society and an apparent rebellion called the Rising. Along the way, enough poetry to give Maya Angelou a headache is recited and flashbacks to Ky’s past are also included.

I had high hopes for this book mostly because I did enjoy Matched. I enjoyed the “Do not go gently” theme and Condie’s poetic writing style. But for some reason it just didn’t work out too well for me in Crossed. I liked how the PoVs switched back and forth between Ky and Cassia. In fact, I am a fan of that particular style, when done correctly. However, in this case I found it difficult to tell who was who. Cassia and Ky’s voice sounded exactly alike to me. I found myself flipping back to the beginning of the chapters to confirm who was narrating. Because of this I slowly felt myself becoming disconnected from the characters even with learning further details about Ky’s past.

The Characters:
One thing I did enjoy about the book were the introduction of the minor characters. While traveling to the Outer Provinces to find Ky, Cassia teams up with a girl named Indie. At first I really liked Indie because she was brave, sharp, and determined. But around 77% of the book she seemed too sneaky to me and I didn’t appreciate her lying to Cassia about the Rising. At one point she even asks Ky to travel with her to the Rising and leave Cassia!  She also steals from Cassia and Cassia has the nerve to ask, “What else has she been hiding? Does she even think we are friends?” Umm…Cassia? Someone who steals and lies is not a friend. I do think she created an interesting dynamic to the story, but I’m not entirely sure I liked her as a character.

Ky also travels with two other companions: a boy named Eli who reminds him of Brim (Cassia’s younger brother) and Vick. I actually liked both of those new characters very much. In fact, they were my saving grace for this book. To me they seemed to be the only two characters that actually expressed realistic reactions to things. Eli asks questions that should be asked and Vick gets angry when everyone else is maintaining unrealistic calmed facade. I didn’t like how Condie handled a particular scene (please check out my GoodReads review for the spoilers). I felt she did that to attempt a realistic reunion for Cassia and Ky. I didn’t buy that for one minute because it seemed very deliberate on Condie’s part and forced.

Cassia and Ky irritated me to no end, especially Ky. He knew about the Rising since Matched and never told Cassia. I was willing to accept that until he continued to try and hide his knowledge after their reunion. He was extremely selfish in this book. Not only that, but his explanation as to why he didn’t want to join the Rising didn’t make much sense to me and it ultimately almost breaks them up. After they have traveled all that time endangering their lives, they almost throw it completely away. Unbelievable. Cassia is no better because she waits until the last possible moment to confront Indie and Ky. Great. Just great. Another complacent heroine.

Condie does manage to keep Xander in the picture despite his small page time.  Both Cassia and Ky think of him often and have flashbacks involving him. And it also appears that a love-square may be forming. Yes, feel free to >insert eye rolling here<.

The Prose:
There are a few quotes that I really loved in Crossed. Like this one:

Everyone has something of beauty about them. In the beginning for me, it was Ky’s eyes I noticed, and I love them still. But loving lets you look, and look, and look again. You notice the back of a hand, the turn of a head, the way of a walk. When you first love, you look blind and you see it all as the glorious, beloved whole, or a beautiful sum of beautiful parts. But when you see the one you love as pieces, as whys—why he walks like this, why he closes his eyes like that—you can love those parts, too, and it’s a love at once more complicated and more complete.

I think Condie is gifted with writing some truly beautiful passages. However, when the entire book is filled with your characters sitting on rocks reciting poetry every few pages, my patience tends to fly out the window. One minute I’m reading Crossed and the next minute I’m either falling asleep or getting distracted by squirrels.

I’m not even sure where the climax was because I was just that bored with the plot, characters, everything. It was like watching the peanut gang’s parents go “Blah, blah, blah, blah.” LOL. Maybe I fell asleep at that part. It really wouldn’t surprise me if that were the case.

The World Building:
I was hoping to see more world building in this installment, but I was once again left with many unanswered questions. Who runs the Society? How are these rebels slipping in and out of the Society if the Society has such a strict eye on things? Who put Ky’s name into the Matching pool? Where are all the Provinces located? Several are mentioned in the book, but I have no idea where they are located. I feel this series could really use a world map. Speaking of the world, is the Society located over the entire world? The way it is described seems like it’s only in one part of the world. What in the world is the Warming? It’s mentioned in Crossed, but it’s not really explained well. Are there no gay society members? So many questions, so little time, and so little cares of mine to give. I hope these questions will be answered in final book, but at this point I won’t hold my breath.

I’d recommend this book to strong supporters and fans of Matched. If you felt Matched was just an “ok” read for you, chances are you will be disappointed with its sequel Crossed.

Poetry inspired by Crossed!

Roses are red
Violets are blue
This book may bore you
And put you to sleep too!

Steph Sinclair

Steph Sinclair

Co-blogger at Cuddlebuggery
I'm a bibliophile trying to make it through my never-ending To-Be-Read list, equal opportunity snarker and fangirl, YA Books Central editor and co-blogger here at Cuddlebuggery. Find me on GoodReads.
Steph Sinclair
Cuddlebuggery Reading Time: Everneath by Brodi Ashton https://t.co/EsboNzC0Hm #CuddlebuggeryArchive - 8 hours ago

3 Responses to “Review: Crossed by Ally Condie”

  1. picyadri

    Hihi:) I love your reviews! I haven't read Matched or Crossed, and I can't really decide if I want to or not, but if it has so much poetry I think it's not my cup of tea:)
    Your poem was really cute, and I know the feeling too well when you get easily distracted by squirrels;)

    • cuddlebuggery

      Thank you! I think it's safe to say, if you don't really enjoy poetry or "purple prose," you may not enjoy this series.

      Darn those squirrels! LOL.

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