Still in search of Ky, Cassia moves to the Outer Provinces. The two struggle to survive secret bombings and the harsh climate of the edge of Society. As Cassia struggles to decipher Ky’s secret clues about his whereabouts, she also struggles to understand the new mysteries surrounding her Match, Xander.
I read Matched almost exactly a year ago, and while I remember liking it, I remember almost nothing else about it. When I went back to look at my review for the book, I found that I gave it a fairly positive review. Even though the actual memory of the book has faded, I enjoyed it in the moment. This was not the case for me and Crossed.
Some fundamental truths remain: Condie is still a gifted writer. She manages to develop two distinct voices for Cassia and Ky, who take turns narrating this second book in the present tense. Where Cassia’s voice is lush, almost flowery, Ky’s is much more clipped and grounded. The two struggle to come to terms with their feelings for one another, together and apart. There are fundamental differences in how they see the world, and for the first time, they start to realize that it might not be just the Society that keeps them apart.
That being said, the things I worried about with the first book are present in full-force here. Condie’s character development and world-building has always been good, but she struggles with pacing. The second book in the planned trilogy suffers from sagging middle syndrome to be sure, and I found my patience with their journey growing thin as the story progressed.
Also problematic is the fact that Condie introduces more questions without answering many of the previous ones. Readers might grow frustrated with the increasingly complex world that Condie has created for her characters, but the unanswered questions are likely to drive some readers completely nuts. Again, this occurs largely because this is the second book in a trilogy, and one can’t help but feel the set-up for the third installment.
Even so, this sequel offers more of what was so appealing about the original: an intriguing premise, beautiful prose, and just a hint of romance. Recommended to fans of the first novel.
Crossed by Ally Condie. Dutton Juvenile: 2011. Library copy.