I am currently working on an entry solely devoted to the current fascination with dystopian literature, and the Matched series will certainly be a part of that post. The trilogy, as mentioned in my previous review, takes place in a world where everything is run on data and predicted outcomes. The Society, which runs civilization as the characters know it, has taken away most choices in life, including the opportunity to be creative and create, in the name of safety and control. The citizens are all but guaranteed a long, healthy life up to the day they turn eighty - but at what cost to their culture and soul? What is a world with no new poetry, or music, or books? What kind of place would this be if we had no choices and our lives were dictated entirely by probability and statistics?
And what if there was a resistance movement that rose up in the midst of that society - but it was not all what it seemed?
AND - what if you were caught in the middle of a love triangle while trying to save the people you love from certain death?
These questions give you the basic crux of what the Matched series is all about. Cassia, theCrossed is centered around her search for the love of her life, Ky. It's actually told from both Cassia's and Ky's perspectives as they journey separate from each other but moving ever closer to one another. Reached adds the perspective of Xander, Cassia's perfect society Match, and as the three storytellers unfold the tale together, all questions from the previous books are answered, and you discover that, indeed, nothing is quite a it seems, and sometimes that which we thought was our salvation is really nothing more than another scheme to grab control of our lives. What choices will Cassia, Ky and Xander make to change their world?
Overall, this is a good series, and a nice alternative to The Hunger Games and Divergent series. For one thing, there is so much less violence. Much less shooting. For another, I like the approach of examining the loss of a culture. I can't imagine living in a world where there are only 100 books available, and no one is writing anything further. Poetry has a huge place of importance in all three novels, and Cassia becomes not only a voice for change but a voice for the resurrection of creating. While different groups vie for power, the one thing that has been lost entirely is creativity. Even those that deal with pieces of art from the past are bewildered at the idea of creating new things. Creativity has become one of the greatest causalities of the war. The series, in this way, is a commentary on what can happen to society when no one is allowed or encouraged to make anything new - an endless cycle of power struggles and complacency.
The series does have its weak points. I felt strangely unsatisfied at the end of Reached. While I did appreciate the author answering many questions - and pulling together loose threads from the two previous novels - I felt like the conclusion was not quite the resolution I was looking for. The big question - who is The Pilot? - sort of gets lost in the confusion, and the original meaning of the poem from which the reference came seems to be lost as well. I felt like we didn't really get to find out what happens to Cassia and the men in her life. What do they all go on to do? What does the new society looks like? I wanted more than was given. It seemed to end in a soft thud rather than a resounding clang of conclusion.
If you're into dystopian literature, Matched, Crossed and Reached would be good books to act to your reading list. They will be a refreshing break from all the bullets and bloodthirstyness of Divergent and The Hunger Games. It will also spark some thought-provoking questions. But in the end, it may leave you just wanting more.
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
Reading now: A Higher Call by Adam Makos and Larry Alexander
1. The Queen's Man by Sharon Kay Penman
2. Follow the River by James Alexander
3. Lost in Translation Volume 1 by John Klein and Adam Spears
4. Four Blood Moons by John Hagee
5. The Autobiography of Henry VIII by Margaret George