Sunday, August 11, 2013

Reached by Ally Condie

Summary:   As the Matched trilogy evolves into Reached, the final installment, Cassia, Ky and Xander all share their perspectives as the Society and the Rising fight for power.  Once again all is not as it seems and when the Rising's rebellion takes an unexpected and deadly turn, each must play a specific role in the re-organization of the system.  Together and apart, the three are faced with the consequences of their decisions and use their skills to choose the kind of people they want to be in the new world.

Dystopian Issues:  Disintegration of Society, Plague, Totalitarian Government
Part of a Series: The third and final book in the Matched series
Age of Main Character: 18
Number of Pages:  512
Year of Publication: 2012
Publisher:  Dutton Books, an imprint of Penguin Group Inc.

Review:  When the Rising turned out to be essentially part of the Society, I was confused and disappointed.  But after some thought I realised Condie is trying to make a different point than the average dystopia.  Sometimes there is no clear cut answer about what will make things better, and sometimes what seems like the answer is actually a slightly different version of the way things already are.
     In this conclusion to the Matched trilogy, Cassia seems to come into her own.  While she began the trilogy as a naïve seventeen year-old shaken out of her comfort zone by an act of sorting she doesn't even remember doing, finally she has become aware of her decisions and their consequences and plays an active roll in the restructuring of society.
     As for Cassia and Ky, their love proves to be true, even though Ky is kissed by Indie.  Xander, who always seems to get the short end of the stick with his yearning for Cassia, ends up happy with a woman who has also lost the love of her life.  It's a little too perfect for words, especially since the only people that die and are connected to the three main characters are Cassia's dad (not a powerful or memorable character in any way) and Indie.
     What I like, however, is what I take to be Condie's main point.  Throughout the three books there is much talk about the Pilot, the leader of the rebellion.  But not only does it turn out the Pilot is unknowingly working for the Society, it also turns out that Pilot is the name for the plague that the Society created in the first place.  Thus Condie's message that anyone can be a game changer in a rebellion proves true.  Cassia, who wasn't selected by the Rising, turns out to play a significant role in the development of a democratic society.
     I do wonder why Condie chose to save so many things to reveal only in the third book though.  I suppose choosing specific characters to be narrators as opposed to an omnipotent narrator has its limitations in this case.
     While I think Condie's message is good, I felt it took her a long time to reach it through what turned out to be a very mild dystopian trilogy.  Not recommend for hard core dystopian fans.

Real Life Dystopias:  Throughout the Matched trilogy the Society is obsessed with the collection of data about all aspects of their citizens' lives believing it will allow them to predict the previously unpredictable.  To collect such data means that the Society watches and monitors its citizens constantly, at work, at play - even while they are sleeping.
     I recently read an article in Wired (August 2013 edition) called "The Glass Backlash" by Mat Honan exploring and emphasizing that the 'watcher' state people are afraid of is already here.  One only has to look to current headlines regarding Edward Snowden to realise this is true.

Memorable Quotes: "In spite of myself, I find that I am crying the Society, for its end.  For the death of what did keep some of us safe for a very long time."
     -  Reached by Ally Condie, pg 96

     "I never wanted to see them die, but I would have liked for them to know how it felt to be afraid.  I wanted them to know that their easy lives had a cost."
     -  Reached by Ally Condie, pg 213

     "...every now and then, if we're lucky, we have a moment to see how small we are."
     -  Reached by Ally Condie, pg 236

     "'So we're never really safe,' I say.
     'Oh no, my boy,' Oker says, almost gently.  'That might be the Society's greatest triumph - that so many of us ever believed that we were.'"
     -  Reached by Ally Condie, pg 320

     "My family has always believed that if you worked hard and did the right thing, you were likely to have it all work out.  And they're not stupid.  They know it doesn't always go that way.  They've seen terrible things happen and it's torn them up.  But that's as close as they've been to real suffering."
     -  Reached by Ally Condie, pg 482

     "I believed him unchanging, a stone in all good sense of the word, solid, dependable, something and someone you could build upon.  But he is as we all are: light as air, transient as wisps of cloud before the sun, beautiful and fleeting, and if I ever did truly have hold of him, that has ended now."
     -  Reached by Ally Condie, pg 501

     "When we fall in love the first time, we don't know anything.  We risk a lot less than we do if we choose to love again.
     There is something extraordinary about the first time falling."
     -  Reached by Ally Condie, pg 504

     "We hold the choices of our fathers and mothers in our hands and when we cling on or let them slip between our fingers, those choices become our own."
     -  Reached by Ally Condie, pg 511

Author Website:

No comments:

Post a Comment