Every once in a while I hit across a book that I would read again and again. Books have to be more than 5 out of 5 stars for me to want to go back and read them again.
Recently, I found an entire series that I would go back and read again. Matched, Crossed, and Reached by Allie Condie make up the Matched Series. Part of it is that it’s in my favorite genre, Dystopian Science Fiction, but the other part of it is the story behind it.
I don’t believe in spoilers. I will give you the summary of each book and then tell you how it impacted me.
Matched: “Cassia has always trusted the Society to make the right choices for her: what to read, what to watch, what to believe. So when Xander’s face appears on-screen at her Matching ceremony, Cassia knows with complete certainty that he is her ideal mate… until she sees Ky Markham’s face flash for an instant before the screen fades to black.”
Crossed: “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.”
Reached: “After leaving Society to desperately seek The Rising, and each other, Cassia and Ky have found what they were looking for, but at the cost of losing each other yet again. Cassia is assigned undercover in Central city, Ky outside the borders, an airship pilot with Indie. Xander is a medic, with a secret. All too soon, everything shifts again.”
This entire series brings to question what it means to be good and what it means to be bad. Nothing is black and white here and we see the characters begin to understand and question what they are told good and bad stand for. What I love is that Cassia starts out part of the mindset, she doesn’t start out as a rebel and accepts everything the way it’s presented to her. With other dystopian books, we see the characters already suspicious of the system around them, but Cassia is not. This is one of the best showcases of character growth I have read in a long time.
The symbolism also changes with the character’s understanding of good and bad and I love the depth of it. As a literary person, I could find little that Condie did poorly. The plot held up under scrutiny, the characters were flawed and believable and made choices you didn’t agree with, and the structure of the Society around them was completely plausible.
I know this genre isn’t for everyone, but I would recommend this book to anyone who had some time on their hands.
I also love that Condie taught English in Salt Lake City. I wonder where she taught (and why didn’t I have one of her classes? Seriously.)