Friday, February 3, 2012

Crossed by Ally Condie

* * * 1/2


Chasing down an uncertain future, Cassia makes her way to the Outer Provinces in pursuit of Ky – taken by the Society to his sure death – only to find that he has escaped into the majestic, but treacherous, canyons. On this wild frontier are glimmers of a different life and the enthralling promise of rebellion. But even as Cassia sacrifices everything to reunite with Ky, ingenious surprises from Xander may change the game once again.

Narrated from both Cassia’s and Ky’s point of view, this hotly anticipated sequel to Matched will take them both to the edge of Society, where nothing is as expected and crosses and double crosses make their path more twisted than ever.

The driving force behind the first half of the book is Cassia’s search for Ky and her acceptance of her new life away from the Society. Ky on the other hand is undergoing a crisis. Condie shows us a complicated Ky by revealing his back story out of of which arises his cynicism towards the Rebellion. So as Cassia moves in that direction, he is reluctant to ally himself with any one side. Despite his love for her and his disbelief that she chose him, he finds himself insecure and questioning his place in her life and his role as a leader. While Crossed is told from both their perspectives, I felt that it was more about Ky deciding what kind of man he wanted to be.

The things I loved in Matched annoyed me slightly in Crossed. For instance, in Matched, I admired the simplicity of Cassia’s and Ky’s relationship, how their physical intimacy was minimal yet so alluring. In Crossed I wanted more. Even though they were openly more affectionate with each other, they held back a lot. I think I got wrapped up in the Romeo and Juliet of it all and fell in love with the idea of them being together in spite of all the odds stacked up against them. I naively expected it to be easy for them to reconnect and instantly be a couple without fear of the Society. But Condie subtly reminds us that all relationships are a work in progress and need to be grounded in trust. Though Xander is not in the Outer Provinces with them, between Cassia's and Ky's memories, his presence figures prominently only fueling Ky's insecurities. For someone like Ky, exposing his vulnerabilities can be even scarier than some of the harshest things he has had to face in the Outer Provinces.  

Despite that, I still enjoyed it. Crossed once again has that same language that was in Matched. You can see so clearly the reserved mannerisms and behavior. The standout is the new character Indie whose bluntness and quick observations adds some brisk pace to the storyline. She is perhaps the closest thing to “normal” as compared to Cassia and Ky. There is an increased sense of urgency as the Rebellion becomes more amplified. The ending was surprising and hats off to Condie for leaving us with that cliffhanger! 

~ Bel

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