Author: Ally Condie
Release Date: 13th November 2012
Thanks to Penguin Australia for the review copy!
Cassia's journey began with a momentary glitch in the otherwise perfect façade of the Society. After crossing canyons to break free, she waits, silk and paper smuggled against her skin, ready for the final chapter.
The wait is over.
Cassia has raged against those who threaten to keep away what matters most – family, love, choice. Her quiet revolution will soon explode into full-scale rebellion.
In this gripping conclusion to the bestselling Matched trilogy, Cassia, Ky and Xander return to the Society to save the one thing denied to them for so long: the power to choose.
There's always a degree of apprehension when beginning the last book in a series. I have huge expectations given it's where everything must come together: answers finally revealed, enemies defeated, beloved characters carving out their future for better or worse. I absolutely loved the beginning of the trilogy, Matched, though felt a little letdown in the sequel. Was I happy with Reached? Yes and (a little bit) no.
I will admit that I was hoping for a touch.... more. Despite the life-or-death situation in Reached, I never quite felt the suspense. I was never on edge or left worrying what would happen. The main enemy is the plague. There was a lot of searching for a cure, trial and error, and the slow pace felt drearily so at times. But I appreciate that Ally offered a sense of realism with the amount of time and research it took; there's nothing more eye-rolling than when the solution magically appears 10 pages later. Yet in saying this, I understand these books are not meant to be fast-paced roller coasters. Instead, we see whispers of evolution in each character, the exploration of change is not always in-your-face, but powerful in it's own quiet way.
In so many novels we see that one hero or heroine who becomes the face of rebellion; usually reluctant, but eventually rises to the challenge, defeats the enemy and leads their world to a brighter future. I love that we don't see this in Reached. In the end, there is no one leader, it's a collective effort where everyone plays a role, no matter how small, in saving the world. A hero is not always one who's endured the greatest losses, the most charismatic or else skilled with a sword. A hero can be a boy who's never suffered great pain, a girl who sorts data, or the young man who taught her how to write her name.
What I love so much about this series is Ally Condie's writing. Even in times where I wasn't particularly riveted by plot, it's her writing that kept me glued to the page. Some authors can make my heart pound, reduce me to a puddle of goo or leave me utterly depressed. Ally gives me a meditative calm. When I set her books down between chapters, I don't want to get on the computer or watch tv and have a hundred things barrage my mind at once. Instead, I want to walk outside and just stare at the sky or breathe in the summer air. That's the one thing I'm going to miss the most. Her writing. An element that also plays such a central role throughout the entire series. Cassia, Ky, Xander; they're fighting for freedom in a world where expression and creation is long forgotten, where order and statistics eradicate the surprise in spontaneity and choice; a society caged by a limited spectrum of colours, never daring to mix their red, green and blue.
Until Reached, where finally, they are. And it's beautiful to witness unfold, especially in moments from Cassia's point-of-view.
"I weave the papers through the branches. A long loop. Up and down, my knees bending. My arms above my head, like the girls I saw once in a painting in a cave. There is a rhythm to this, a keeping of time.
I wonder if I am dancing."
This series is not for the adrenaline-junkie looking for a pulse-pounding read. It's not for the dystopian lover whose veins are filled by the bloodshed of the enemy. Reached may not have excited me in the way I hoped; the plot may have felt slow and the suspense never quite reaching a peak; but the beauty in every word, the inspiration behind every act, the power that lay within freewill and expression, is what makes this book so special. It's why I kept turning those pages again and again. I'm happy with how things concluded; we see one journey complete it's circle and the tentative beginnings of another. You're left to wonder, but in a good way. This is a series that teaches we all have something to offer; we all have the talent to give or create and even if we're the millionth person to write or sing about love or pain, or draw the clouds in the sky; each piece will always be different, it will be new to us, and continue on the chain of inspiration to every soul who shares in our work.
"Writing, painting, singing—it cannot stop everything. Cannot halt death in its tracks. But perhaps it can make the pause between death’s footsteps sound and look and feel beautiful, can make the space of waiting a place where you can linger without as much fear. For we are all walking each other to our deaths, and the journey there between footsteps makes up our lives."
3.5 shiny golden apples!
You can find Reached at: