By Ally Condie
Crossed is the second and middle book of the dystopian Matched trilogy. It feels like a middle book: joining the first to the last with not as much happening as one would like (the ‘one’ being me).
In this book it is not only Cassia who has a narrative voice; Ky’s thoughts are now available to us and we are shown alternate viewpoints to varying situations.
Crossed is a physical and emotional journey. The couple are searching for each other outside of the Society. Cassia has become disillusioned with the Society, waking up to who and what it really is and how restrictive it can be if you don’t conform to a specific type.
‘There is no place for someone like him in the Society, I think, for someone who can create. He can do so many things of incomparable value, things no one else can do, and the society doesn’t care about that at all.’ Cassia muses.
She is keen to find the Rising: a rebellion group. There is one problem: Ky. He is unsure about the Rising due to his past history with them. He doesn’t trust either of the leading factions but he does trust Cassia so these young lovers have a choice to make: each other or a fight for freedom. Will one make the sacrifice for the other? Will their relationship survive? These are the questions which lead us through the rest of the tale.
During both of their journeys we uncover secrets and meet new characters which enlighten and drive their lives in a different direction. This is an element which is needed, although as a device it feels as if some of the characters (initially anyway) are purely introduced for that purpose.
The book and its characters can be ponderous and reflective at times and it contains a lot of new information driving us towards the fine tale: Reached.
Creative and artistic references show us how the society has no place for imagination and individuality. This book champions the creative arts and culture and reminds us of how society is reflected and driven by the arts. The Society has only 100 select poems and artworks which they feel are suitable for their people. However, stories, poems and art of the past remain in the minds of a few which have been passed down through generations wanting to make a difference and who were also aware of their importance. They’ve been subliminally and purposefully altering mind-sets and creating unrest which ultimately is leading to The Rising.
This book really hammers home the importance of the arts and the fundamental role it plays within our lives. But, fundamentally it’s another Romeo and Juliet – I’m wondering if it will end in a similar way.