Thursday, November 22, 2012

Review: Reached (Matched #3) by Ally Condie


Author: Ally Condie
Release Date: 13th November 2012
Publisher: Penguin
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:

18 comments:

  1. Fab review, Brodie! I actually really, really enjoyed this book compared to the last installment, Crossed, which didn't impress much at all. With Reached's ending in mind, it was not how I wanted it all to end but I was pretty satisfied overall. Team Xander forever is all I'll say! ;)

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    1. Two words for you, Erin: TEAM KY!!! :P

      Although I did grow to like Xander more, given that we see much more of his character in Reached.

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  2. Brodie, can you please hurry up and write a book or something so that I have more to go on than re-reads of your old reviews? It's fascinating to read about beautiful writing from someone with REALLY BEAUTIFUL WRITING.

    I'm glad that you (mostly) liked this one! I remember reading your Crossed review and that meh feeling you had about it... I think it's one of the things that's scared me away from reading it so far! (I will read it one day, hopefully soon, but it's just not at the top of my TBR pile or anything.) I know you mentioned wanting more suspense/action/whatever from this installment but thinking back to the first book... wasn't it the same feeling there? Or is it less action-packed than that one? Just curious since I've always thought back to Matched as a quieter, more contemplative kind of novel.

    Fantastic review as always! <3

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    1. I guess I mean like... remember toward the end in Matched? What happened with Ky? I worried. I was emotionally invested. There was a slight sense of danger throughout the book - would Cassia and Ky be caught? Would the Society see those scraps of Ky's story? To me, I felt some uncertainity, a greater sense of danger which I haven't felt in the last two novels. They're all definitely quieter/contemplative, but I feel more happened in Matched compared to Crossed/Reached? It has been a couple years since I read it, so maybe I'm due for a refresher!

      And thank you! <3 I'm a bit iffy on this review since I realised I hardly talk much about the plot, but... well the plot is basically finding a cure and any other smaller bits I mention feel like a spoiler.

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  3. Good writing is always a HUGE plus point. I love that the writing itself was able to keep your attention during this book, Brodie, and it makes me want to pick up the first novel just to experience a bit of it myself. I'm not sure whether or not to pick up this series, especially with so many mixed reviews, but this line just got to me:
    "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 just LOVE that. It's beautiful. Just the fact that this book had so much depth and meaning and that the conclusion was powerful, if not wholly what you expected, speaks volumes. It seems like I'll need to add this to my TBR after all, just to get a taste of this. AMAZING review, Brodie. Seriously, I don't know why you're so excited over my reviews when you can write like THIS. You have talent, dearie! :)

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  4. Awesome review hun. I wasn't overly keen on Matched, I think I rated it like 1 star but I am curious to what happens next. Maybe I'll pick up book two one day.

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  5. I'm sorry you didn't love-love this, but I completely agree, Ally's writing is just so lovely and absorbing!

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  6. I spy a REVIEW! Yay.
    I haven't yet read this, and I won't for a while, because I have not started this trilogy yet and don't want to ruin it by reading the review of the last book, lol. But I am happy there is a review on here. Brodie is returning to us! *grins* <3

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  7. Awesome review, Brodie! This is a book I won't be reading, and I didn't read the second book. I couldn't stand the first book, it bored me silly. But I'm so glad you enjoyed the series overall! Thanks for the review!

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  8. Great review, I love this "... its not for the adrenaline-junkie looking for a pulse-pounding read"... it pretty much sums up what I'm in store for. I was hoping for more action, but I'm on your side. Ally Condie's writing is beautiful and I will read her books every time, despite a slow moving plot. Great review. I'm bummed to see this one end. Wonder what she's got up her sleeve for the next novel or series?

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  9. I'm looking forward to getting to know Xander better in this book. Ky has never really worked for me. I think Condie's writing is what's kept me invested in the series, as Crossed was a bit of a borefest for me, but I'm sticking with the series to see how things work out in the end!

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  10. I usually find the whole one leader to the rescue thing pretty unrealistic, so I'm glad to hear it isn't like that in this book. Wonderful review, Brodie! I stopped reading this series after the first book as I lost all enthusiasm for the sequel after the negative reviews. I think I might get back to it one day. :)

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  11. Wow!!!!!! Amazing and brilliantly written review Brodie!!!!! You make me feel bad about stopping trying to read this series during the middle of the first book because it was too slow for me. The two quotes you choose made me see a glimpse of Ally's remarkable writing. I love your remark of loving to just relax after reading this book. i will always remember walking outside happily thinking about the last book of the Harry Potter series in the mist of reading it.

    That's amazing that this book shows how a united group of people can help a world, that more then one person can be the hero to the story.

    Amazing, exceptional review!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! You convince me to try this series again.

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  12. Brodie Brodie Brodie!
    You're back! And I think you've been taking review writing steroids while you were gone.

    Your review is BEAUTIFUL and... I don't know why I was never really drawn to this series, even though the covers are gorgeous. But... The way you describe it and... The WRITING and the quiet revolution. :O :O :O

    And this: " 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."

    THATS IT! II MUST HAVE YOUR BRAIN FOR MYSELF :O

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  13. BRODIE!!!! I completely agree with everything you mentioned on your review. I just finished Reached and even though I thought it was a satisfying conclusion of the series, I didn't quite enjoyed it as much as I enjoyed Matched. BUT....I am TEAM KY too!

    Awesome review, Brodie ♥♥♥

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  14. Wow, this is a wondeful review Brodie! (No idea why that's not surprising!)
    I'm hoping to start Reached this week and after not wholly enjoying Crossed, but loving Matched, I'm really interested and excited to see how it ends- I really liked the way Crossed ended and it's kept a lot of questions to be answered. It's a really interesting series, my first YA dystopia! and I can't wait to see how it ends! x

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  15. *sigh* The writing IS beautiful. Wow, wow, wow... But (*high five*) I'm a complete adrenaline-junkie too, so I'm not sure how I'm going to feel about the slow pace and the uneventful plot. But then again, I haven't even read the first two books, so we'll see! I really, really love your review Brodie. :) Your last paragraph is incredible.

    And the cover is GORGEOUS, btw. A serious case of covergasm awesomeness.

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  16. It was still an okay read but the first novel set the bar pretty high and the second and third just didn't get there.

    Marlene Detierro (H1 Parts)

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