Review - Crossed - Ally Condie

Crossed (Matched, #2)
Title: Crossed (Matched #2)
Author: Ally Condie
Genre: Young Adult, Dystopian
Publication: November 1 2011, Speak
Pages: 367 pages, Paperback
Source: Library
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.

"I'm standing in the river. It's blue. Dark blue. Reflecting the colour of the evening sky." - page 1

I read Matched last year, I was super excited to begin reading it, however I found myself disappointed with the outcome of the overall novel. It wasn't bad, it wasn't brilliant, it was just okay. And that feeling, that "it-was-just-okay-not-great-not-bad-just-simply-okay" feeling is the worst to experience when reading a book. You can't completely rant over it and you can't completely gush over it. When I started reading Crossed, I was hoping that I would be able to gush over it in the review, however my reading experience was just another one of the dreaded "meh" feelings.

The thing I disliked most about Crossed was the lack of action. It was the same thing with Matched, nothing much really happens. There was no drama, devastation or intrigue, and that, my dear people,  is an essential key to a phenomenal dystopian novel. You need action! Adventure! Devastation! And honestly, Crossed doesn't have any of that. I'm not lying, joking, fibbing when I say that practically eighty percent of the novel was just Ky and Cassia trying to reach each other while travelling through the Canyon. I was hoping that if they travelled through the Canyon, they would have something interesting happen to them. I found that Ky and Cassia's journey was also too easy. There was nothing really that stopped them finding each other, everything went according to plan, there were no crocodiles (that was pretty random, but you know what I mean) they weren't caught by society...nothing. They just travelled a few days and then they found each other and then what? They just read books in the cavern and basically wondered around. I hope in Reached (which I will be reading, I want to know who she ends up despite my issues with the previous two books) there will be more action and happenings.

The pacing was slow. And I mean really slow. It took practically the whole book travelling over the Canyon and then reading through books and stuff. I really need the pacing to quicken up in Reached, because if not, I might just mark it as a DNF and I don't want to do that. 

The characters were also quite eh. I liked Cassia in Matched, I wasn't raving about her, but she was a nice character, I couldn't really connect with her, but I had a sort-of understanding with her. However, in Crossed, she was just so utterly boring and distant. There was nothing that stood about her. She was supposed to be a main character that we were supposed to love and feel sorry for, but when I was reading it was like she was just there but not there, if you know what I mean? 

In Matched I wasn't a fan of Ky, he was just to reserved and didn't haven't an element of excitement about him, however, in Crossed, I actually liked him a bit more. You get to see how his life use to be, and the struggle he has gone through, and I could finally sympathise with him as he was a boy that had basically lost everything, and when he met Cassia, he felt more alive and happy than ever. So yep, I loved that in Crossed we were given more background information on Ky's life. And for once, I actually saw a beautiful side of Ky. I saw how his mom painted with water, and his dad played with fire (metaphorically speaking), I finally saw how he loved Cassia, how he taught her to hold a stick and etch her name in the dusty ground. I finally saw how he loved her, and it was beautiful to see that! So my liking grew for Ky in Crossed and I'm glad for that.

I also hope that in Reached, that Ky and Cassia will have more of a distinguishable voice. There were times when I wasn't sure if I were reading Ky or Cassia's chapter, and I actually found myself flicking back to the beginning of the chapter to see if I was reading Crossed in Ky or Cassia's point of view. And that, it's not good. When you are reading a book written in dual perspectives, both characters need to have their own unique, distinguishable voice and Ky and Cassia didn't have that. They are just too similar. Which brings me to the romance.

I have always preferred Xander, he was the guy Cassia was Matched with and I think they would be really great together. They will have a safe, stable life and live a normal life that has been planned by society. When Cassia fell for Ky, I could feel the hurt and anger and perhaps even jealously that Xander was filled with, loosing the girl he loved to one of his friends. Xander also seems to be a good, sweet guy and he just is more likeable than Ky.

Cassia fell for Ky when his face flashed on Xander's microcard for a second. Like I said, I never really liked Ky, but in Crossed I see how he can truly bring Cassia excitement and show her a whole new world, teach her how to write, dance and paint, experience a life that isn't bound by society. 

So, the problem is, I don't actually know whose side I am on any more. I was all for Xander, but now I'm leaning towards Ky. And even though the plot is really slow, I will read Reached because I still want to know who Cassia ends up with.

The one thing that I think many, if not all, people will agree on that have read Ally Condie's books, is that her writing is stunning. She writes in a beautifully poetic way and her descriptions are beautiful. However, I do think sometimes it could be a bit much. Like with the constant memories and the constant comparisons to things. Like when Cassia sees something green she remembers the night of her banquet and how she felt that evening etcetera. I hope that in Reached there will be less memories and more events happening in the present tense.

Crossed was a disappointing sequel to Matched. I was hoping that there would be more action and drama, and more depth to the characters, however Crossed lacked the stuff I was wanting, more severely than Matched. The writing was what saved the novel for me, no one can say that Ally Condie does not write brilliantly, as I found that I noted a lot of beautiful quotes in Crossed. Even though I haven't been a fan of the last two books, I still would like to know what happens in the last book in the trilogy, Reached. 

I give it: 3/5 CUPCAKES!
" 'You're really leaving.' An expression of what looks like anger flashes momentarily across his face. 
'Do you have any idea what it's like being left?'
'Of course I do,' I say, stung.
'No,' he says. 'Not the way Ky left you. He didn't want to go. Do you know what it's like for someone to choose to leave you?'
'I didn't choose to leave you behind. We were Relocated.' Xander exhales. 
'You left me before you left Oria.' He glances over at the Official and then back at me, his blue eyes serious. He's changed, since I've seen him, become harder. More careful. More like Ky.
I know what he means now about my leaving. For Xander, I began to leave when I chose Ky." - page 35

"Love has different shades. Like the way I loved Cassia when I thought she'd never love me. The way I loved her on the Hill. The way I love her now that she came into the canyon for me. It's different. Deeper. I thought I loved her and wanted her before, but as we walk through the canyon together I realize this could be more than a new shade. A whole new colour." - page 234

"Love changes what is probable and makes unlikely things possible." - page 322

"How much do we have to show the people we love? What pieces of my life do I have to lay bare, carve out, and put before her? Is it enough that I have pointed the way to who I am?" - page 324

"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 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 ir 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." - page 346

"I was a kid. I knew I loved her but i didn't know what it meant. Over the years everything changed. She did. I did." - page 350