As with every review, there may be unintentional spoilers every now and then driven simply by the impulse of writing pure and unedited thoughts. :) Read at your own discretion.
How do I start? Well, here’s yet another dystopian YA novel – the end of a trilogy. BUT – here’s the big BUT – even after going through Panem, surviving as an initiate, getting Amor Deliria Nervosa and all that, the Matched series is certainly worth picking up. Putting aside all the other good reasons – the beautiful covers, the excellent writing, the nicely planned dystopian world, the dream-worthy Xander (forgive my bias), it’s this book – Reached – that really makes the series. A good conclusion to book series is so rare these days – even I, as a writer myself, admit to writing ugly endings; and yes, I am pertaining to you, Mockingjay ! – and that makes me praise this series all the more.
Let’s be frank, shall we? While reading Matched, I initially had the impression that it was going to be one of those sappy love-triangle-centered novels that just happened to be set in a post-apocalyptic world. Thank God for the cliffhanger ending that made me pick up the second book, Crossed, where I believe the real story had Risen (the Rising, get it? ok, enough puns…).
But Reached was certainly the star of this trilogy. With everything finally falling into place – the identity of the Pilot, the real Pilot, Xander, the mystery behind Cassia’s grandparents, Xander, the fall of the Society, the Rising and its true intentions, the true rebellion, Xander – I just found myself enjoying the whole flight.
Okay, I know it’s been showing up in the previous paragraphs. Why do I keep saying XANDER?! Well, first and foremost, we finally get a view of Xander’s side of the story here in Reached. AT LAST. He didn’t get much readtime in Crossed, so I was really wondering what happened to this fine young fellow. While I was so frustrated at Cassia for going for the predictable choice – as seems always the trend in today’s YA reads (the boy clad in mystery always wins the girl) and was grieving for the perfect Xander, I applaud Ally Condie for allowing Xander his happy ending. All throughout Reached, my heart kept on breaking over and over for Xander, his kindness, his martyrdom, his dedication. ESPECIALLY during the trial scene. I was practically in tears for him, seeing as how he wasn’t going to get the girl he loves (so obvious) and now, he was going to die in exile. Thank you, Ally Condie, for giving him his well-deserved happy ending. Thank you for showing that nice guys don’t always finish last.
Speaking of nice guys, Ky’s a good guy too. Just because I prefer the Physic (that’s Xander) doesn’t mean that I don’t appreciate the Pilot. One more aspect of the Matched series that I really like is that it doesn’t focus on the love triangle. Nope. Ky and Xander are friends! And though they both have feelings for the same girl, that doesn’t change the fact that they respect each other. Reached shows that and more. Again, claps for characters who don’t put love in the way of friendship.
At the end of the day, the Matched series shows us the tragedy too much power can bring. It shows us just how important the right to choose is. Without Choice, we’d be stuck doing the things the higher-ups – Society – tell us to do. We don’t get a say in anything. We won’t be able to properly express ourselves. We won’t be able to chase after the things we really want, just the things Society tells us to want.
Everyone gets driven by what they think is right, but that isn’t necessarily the same with what is right. Both the Society and the Rising, I believe, had good intentions for the people, but they both went about those intentions the wrong way. They ended up causing more harm than good. Their dictations cost the people a lot of things, including their lives. In fact, it was their existence that was the true Plague. Their own existence was the cause of their own inevitable demise.
Government isn’t bad, but it can be, especially when the Officials and Society can’t recognize when enough is enough. When they abuse power and keep on fooling the citizens. The convenient red tablet designed to make everyone forget doesn’t solve problems; it just hides them away, only to have them resurface when the time is right. Just as Cassia chose to fight, chose to walk through the killer blue tablet, chose love above all, chose to choose, we need only decide when to face our own problems. We cannot keep on trying to forget. We must stand up and fight sooner or later.
Just as the whole Matched series included poetry – another aspect I loved about it – I end this review with The Poem. Thank you, Matched series, for being an excellent read!
Do Not Go Gentle into that Good Night by Dylan Thomas Do not go gentle into that good night, Old age should burn and rave at close of day; Rage, rage against the dying of the light. Though wise men at their end know dark is right, Because their words had forked no lightning they Do not go gentle into that good night. Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay, Rage, rage against the dying of the light. Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight, And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way, Do not go gentle into that good night. Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay, Rage, rage against the dying of the light. And you, my father, there on the sad height, Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray. Do not go gentle into that good night. Rage, rage against the dying of the light.