In the conclusion to Matched and Crossed, Cassia thinks she will finally get everything she wants, but first she and Ky must do their part for the Rising. While she lives in the Capital and waits for news, Ky works on the outskirts. Xander, also in the Rising, helps the rebels usher in the one thing that will make those in the Society trust them. With narration shifting between the three main characters, will the Rising accomplish its goals and will Ky and Cassia find each other again?
One of the things that I found most intriguing about the Matched trilogy was Condie’s narrative style. In Matched, our only narrator is Cassia. In Crossed, the narration is shared between Cassia and Ky. And with Reached, Xander joins the other two in the story-telling. It’s quite poetic, the 1, 2, 3, narrators in books 1, 2, and 3. And while I was a bit hesitant about the narration, I found it easy to tell each three apart; they all had their own unique voice. While Cassia’s voice remains poetic and involves more thinking and less action, Ky’s is antsy, almost pessimistic. When Xander joined in I figured he would sound a lot like Ky, but instead he is grounded, easily led, and more matter-of-fact in his telling. It’s tricky enough to balance one voice in a novel, especially across three books, and yet Condie is able to make it with three.
In the dystopian fiction trend, you often see Hunger Games style rebellions, with those same types of consequences and fallout. I was expecting something similar from Reached, but was pleasantly surprised by the unexpected direction of the story. It was honest about the implications of a rebellion, and so they went with a route that provided little violence and no grand overtures – just choices. Considering Condie’s Matched trilogy is about the importance of choice, this rebellion that provides with the people a chance to choose it or not fits right in with the theme. I also appreciated the theme of love as a choice; Cassia chose who she fell for, who she gave her all to. She could have easily been happy with either Xander or Ky, but she makes the choice to be happy with one of them. This mature approach also means there’s a lack of teen love-triangle melodrama. That is really refreshing in any Young Adult novel, and with one as popular as Matched others might follow.
Over all, Reached was not what I expected, and I loved that. Condie managed to draw me in within sentences (I picked up the book intending to read only the first chapter and ended up reading several). It is an engrossing conclusion to a mature trilogy. With great technical writing and different approaches to a similar problem, Condie and Cassia manage to make you believe in the human race and their ability to choose good when they have the option.