Author: Ally Condie
Narrator: Matt Burns, Kate Simses, and Jack Riccobono
Series: Matched, book #3 (final book in series)
Publisher: Penguin Audio
Publication Date: November 13, 2012
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Audible
Beware: Mild spoilers for Matched and Crossed but nothing that would ruin any of the books for you. Just read at your own risk.
I loved Matched. But I was bored with Crossed until the last quarter or so of the book. So, where does that leave the final book in this trilogy? Somewhere in the middle, I guess. While Crossed was your typical history-laden sequel, Reached ended up being the opposite of typical...at least for me.
Let's start with the boys. This series did start off as a somewhat star-crossed love story, after all. After Matched, I loved Ky. After Crossed, I loved Xander. After Reached, I love neither. Allow me to explain: Ky was self-sacrificing when it came to his love of Cassia. That doesn't change. But his love becomes all-consuming at some point, and it's all he cares about anymore. Xander, on the other hand, loves Cassia...as a friend and as his match, and he wants her to choose him. But even so, he joined the Rising because he felt it was the right thing to do, just as Cassia did. They'd both seen the wrongs committed by the Society and chose not to ignore them or be ignorant of them any longer, whereas Ky joined the Rising to be with Cassia.
I'm a romantic at heart, and I can see how being told who you can or can't love could make a person loyal to the only person who gave them a choice, but I'm also a realist, and in the middle of a revolution, I'd hope that my priorities were more aligned with helping others escape the persecution and discrimination I'd faced up to this point. But just as Ky was so steadfast in his loyalty to Cassia, Xander's loyalty tended to wax and wane with the turn the war was taking at any given time: loyalty to Cassia turned into loyalty to the Rising, which in turn became loyalty to the Pilot.
In Reached, there are three points of view: Cassia, Ky, and now Xander. We got Cassia and Ky's perspectives in the last book, but now that I've read from Xander's POV, I think I prefer it to the others. He's much more matter-of-fact and less emotional and well, less whiny. The narration rotated between each character as each chapter began, and it helped the story to flow, considering each character is separated from the others when the story resumes in this book. We get so much insight into what each character is feeling and what they're going through and what part they are playing in the Rising and its efforts to bring down the Society.
The pacing of this final novel wasn't exactly slow, but the book is long and it felt long at times. And I was listening to the audio...I can't imagine trying to read through some of the slower passages, all the feelings and wondering and waiting. The audio is actually narrated by three separate narrators, just as the book is split into three different narratives. Cassia is voiced by Kate Simses, who voiced Cassia in the other novels. Ky is voiced by Jack Riccobono once again. And Matt Burns completes the narration from Xander's perspective. I think I remember not liking the narrator for Ky last time around, and that hasn't changed. He was just so utterly melancholy, and I know that Ky's situation is pretty dismal at times, but that doesn't change how I feel about the narration.
Reached was a decent finale to this series. It's definitely made me rethink how I rated Crossed last year. It's just interesting to me how much a series can fluctuate from beginning to end, especially after such a promising first installment. On that note, I'm kind of just glad that it's over. I don't regret the time I've spent with these characters, but I'm ready to move on.