My Rating: 2.5 out of 5 stars ★★☆☆☆
After leaving Society and desperately searching for the Rising—& each other—Cassia and Ky have found what they were looking for, but at the cost of losing each other yet again: Cassia has been assigned to work for the Rising from within Society, while Ky has been stationed outside its borders. But nothing is as predicted, & all too soon the veil lifts & things shift once again. -Cassia will reconcile the difficulties of challenging a life too confining, seeking a freedom she never dreamed possible, & honoring a love she cannot live without.
*Sigh* I'm feeling conflicted. There were some things to like in Ally Condie's conclusion to the Matched Trilogy but this is without a doubt my least favorite in the trilogy. Almost the entire first half of it was SO slow to me, even though when I did get into it I enjoyed what I read - it still was a challenge at times to hold my interest. It's still a fitting conclusion to the series and author Ally Condie still maintains a lovely writing style . When the plot did pick up (past the halfway mark), it was a breeze to read through just like the first books in the series! It's odd because most people who felt let down by book 2 (which I had enjoyed overall) seem to have loved Reached, so I think it may be one of those times where the expectations I had were just not met.
Reached picks up soon after Crossed leaves off, with Cassia, Ky & Xander dealing with The Rising in their own ways. This books adds Xander as a narrator, much like Crossed added Ky. So the chapters with the original Matched narrator Cassia are now featured every 3 chapter, the other two alternating between Ky & Xander. Now, I'll admit that Cassia & I didn't hit it off right away in Matched. But once she did manage to grow on me, I enjoyed her quite a bit. So I think my biggest let down for Reached is that I don't feel Cassia did much evolving in this one. I was expecting BIG CHANGES all around but honestly, most of it played out in a fizzle. I felt the same lack in Ky, which was always my favorite right from the beginning - but I think he was left worse off in this one. Everything that I loved about him in the first 2 books seemed to be missing in him this time around...and he was reduced to just pinning for Cassia. The addition of Xander as a narrator helped - yes Xander is an easily likeable character but also things felt fresher during his chapters because his POV was a new addition. I wonder if the need to add Xander inadvertently caused the lack in other areas of the story. His chapters some of the best ones because there is more of an evolution with him.
As far as the plot itself, like I alluded to earlier, the first half felt very slow to me. I never had the feeling with the previous two books but I know a lot of readers did. When I was able to read for longer periods of time, I did eventually get into the story, but it never left me desperately wanting more. There was an awful lot of set up for a conclusion book and for a book dealing with a Rising, it really didn't hold up to other dystopian 'revolutions'. I've always referred to The Matched series as dystopian-light but again my expectations when I think of a revolt did not match what we got. The second half really picked up and if the entire book had read that way, I wouldn't be conflicted at all! I read much quicker and felt compelled to keep reading. There was much more going on, the tension was higher & there was finally some fuel to 'The Rising'. I felt that at this point each POV featured had something fresh & new to offer and I was glad for it. In the end though, I was somewhat satisfied with how things wrapped up...even though the lackluster first half lingered in my mind.
I guess looking back at the series as a whole that Reached is a fitting conclusion to the series. A dyspopian-light trilogy deserves a ''light'' revolution & ending. This may simply be a case of me outgrowing the series as a whole...who knows? All I know for sure is that unlike the two previous books, I struggled to get through this one. A lot. The ending did pick up but by then, I had lost a lot of my initial excitement.