Crossed by Ally Condie

Title: Crossed
Author: Ally Condie
Narrator: Kate Simses
Series: Matched #2
Publisher: Penguin Audio
Release Date: 11/01/11
Length: 9 hours, 50 minutes
Format: Unabridged Digital Audiobook
Genres: Fiction, Dystopian, Romance, Young Adult
Source: Publisher. Thank you!
Purchase: Audio CD | Digital Audiobook
Rating: 3/5

In search of a future that may not exist and faced with the decision of who to share it with, Cassia journeys to the Outer Provinces in pursuit of Ky – taken by the Society to his certain death – only to find that he has escaped, leaving a series of clues in his wake.

Cassia’s quest leads her to question much of what she holds dear, even as she finds glimmers of a different life across the border. But as Cassia nears resolve and certainty about her future with Ky, an invitation for rebellion, an unexpected betrayal, and a surprise visit from Xander – who may hold the key to the uprising and, still, to Cassia’s heart – change the game once again. Nothing is as expected on the edge of Society, where crosses and double crosses make the path more twisted than ever.

When I listened to Match, I found an intriguing story about a future controlling society, and a girl who must choose the familiar boy next door, or the mysterious outcast who can help her see the harsh reality behind the society they live in. Crossed is the Sequel to this novel. It takes place after both Cassia and Ky are in the outer Providence.

Like Match the color of the book’s cover seems to hold a special meaning. Matched was green for calm, while Crossed is blue, echoing the blue pills that society gives to citizens to help them survive.

This sequel gives more background to both Ky and the Society, but unless you already had an interest in the characters from the first novel, Crossed doesn’t live up to the foundation established in Matched. I was disappointed since the book had an interesting book trailer (http://youtu.be/Ovn8-Jp3ckM), that I still can’t quite understand what it has to do with the novel I just listened too.

Most of the story felt too familiar to other great reads that have come along lately. Xander, Cassia’s match who wants her to rejoin the society, felt too similar to Gale from Hunger Games. Cassia’s devotion to Ky above all reason reminds me too much of Bella from the Twilight Saga, if Bella had ran after Edward instead of moping at home. Ky even became unbearable as I the reader lost trust him as he continued to keep secrets and distort the truth all for in the name of safety. He became no better than Society by making or taking away Cassia ability to make choices for herself. The way he withheld information mad him no better than the society they were trying to escape. Even the use of poetry and folk stories felt more reminiscent of almost every dystopian novel I’ve read.

One complaint I’ve seen about Crossed, is that readers find it difficult to distinguish the voice of Cassia and Ky in the printed text. For the audiobook the characters have unique voices which help to make the story progress more smoothly. Cassia’s chapters are read by Kate Simses, the same voice actor from Matched. They added a voice actor for Ky. His parts are read by Jack Riccobono. Together they breathe life into the pages, but still can’t save the story. Listen was better than trying to read the physical book.

The biggest flaw with Crossed as I see it, is that the characters have too many flaws, that really break the bond between the reader established in Matched. At the heart of the love story readers are supposed to want Cassia to be with either Xander or Ky, but both characters have so many secrets it seems neither is suited to be Cassia’s proper companion. Strangely I found Cassia’s companion and new character Indie the most honorable and likable in the story even though she seemed to have the biggest flaws.

By the end of the book I was really hoping that Cassia would be given a choice, every decision has been made for her by those in her life. The only thing that is hers is her choice to follow Ky, which felt forced an a bit unrealistic. After finishing Crossed, I longed for a rich story like Hunger Games. I love dystopian, but the flaws in Crossed meant I couldn’t enjoy the world building or characterization. However people that love romances might enjoy this story. I probably would not recommend Crossed to anyone. I rarely like to recommend books that in the middle of the series, and Crossed doesn’t stand on its own two feet. However if you absolutely loved Matched, you will probably enjoy Crossed, but you might find more joy in reading fan fiction: http://www.fanfiction.net/book/Matched/.

-Jami

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