Reached by Ally Condie book review

Reached book

Reached

Ally Condie

Dystopian Fiction/Romance

512 Pages

Finally, the conclusion of the Matched series! I was excited to get this book and finish the series to see how Ally Condie decided to end everything. I have to say, I was pleased overall. I believe I’ve said before, and I’ll say again, the whole series has kind of a Farhenheit 451 mixed with a Hunger Games feel to me, and I like it. I like that there is a message behind the novels as well as just the entertainment. This was a really fun series to read, especially if you are into the ever-growing popularity of dystopian scenarios.

The series began with Matched, where we just heard from Cassia’s point-of-view throughout the entire novel. Then came Crossed, where it switched back and forth between Cassia and Ky. In the conclusion, we get inside the minds of not only Cassia and Ky, but Xander as well, so the reader can know what they are all thinking and feeling. I was impressed with Condie’s ability to distinguish clearly between the characters in her series, keeping their feelings, tones, and ideas seperated completely and soundine like three different voices.

The Rising is finally set to take over in this novel, and makes the move to do so. The takeover goes smoothly; almost too smoothly. The Pilot assumes position as the leader and overseer of the people, helping them to get out of the mess that they are in. The characters in the book all seem to be struggling with where their allegiance lies; not necessarily to the Society over the Rising, but to their friends and what is truly right. Cassia, Ky, and Xander are apart from each other for much of the book, and facing struggles on their own.

Although there is a very obvious and, at times a problematic love triangle scenario, it is clear to see the connection between the three main characters. They are bound together and must act together in order to accomplish the greater good and do their part. It becomes more or less up to the trio to save the world, which is to be somewhat expected in a series like this. They all have an important role to play in which they need to come together to find a solution before all is lost. When they finally do all come together, there is both joy and sadness in their reunion. Cassia must finaly make her choice between Ky and Xander. The people need to choose between The Rising and The Society; between a sense of freedom or a feeling of oppression. This novel is a battle of the intellect and emotions.

There wasn’t as much action or adventure in this one as in the last installment, but it kept me thoroughly entertained and engaged until the end. I think that Condie did a great job of wrapping everything up in a pleasing way. It wasn’t the best ending to a series I’ve ever read, but it was put together nicely in a way that leaves hope for humanity and the future of mankind foloowing the conclusion. If you read the first two in the series, which I assume you did if you are reading this, I think you need to pick this one up and finish it off. Overall, I loved the series and if you are into this genre, I think that you will as well. It was a great job by Condie and I look forward to seeing what else she comes out with in the future.

Advertisements

Crossed by Ally Condie book review

Crossed book

Crossed

Ally Condie

Dystopian Fiction/Romance

367 Pages

 

This book, for me, took on an entirely different feel to it than did the first one, Matched. There is more excitement, danger, and adventure. Also, a big difference between the two books is that the narration gets split up evenly between Cassia and Ky, so we get to hear from both of their points of view. Ky has been sent away to the Outer Provinces and Cassia is on a seemingly impossible journey to find him. Separately, both Ky and Cassia make their way into a dangerous canyon where there are rumors of the rebellion being headquartered.

 

There is still a love story in this second novel, as well as Cassia still feeling torn between Xander and Ky, but it felt less prevalent to me than in Matched. There was more excitement and physical danger than was in the first book as well. The feel of this book changed a lot for me, because the setting was so different and the story was really maturing. We got to learn more about Ky’s past and also about other people we meet in the book, and see what it is like for them living under the Society’s rule. The rebellion, or at least the idea of one, really took a bigger spotlight in this book as Cassia desperately wants to find the source of it, almost as much as she wants to find Ky.

 

If you liked Matched, you definitely have to continue on with the trilogy. The love triangle continues, the uprising continues, and Condie’s writing is getting better. I’m excited to see how she ends the trilogy and if the third book will be as different from the second one as it was to the first. Again, this series shows the importance of literature and being able to make our own choices. This book serves as a warning as to what could happen if our choices and rights get taken away from us. Another book that I would recommend to anyone; there is nothing inappropriate or offensive in the novel, just a great read for anybody! I’m excited for the third book!

Matched book review

Matched book

Matched

Ally Condie

Dystopian Fiction/Romance

366 Pages

 

Cassia lives in a dystopian society where everything is decided for her. What/when to eat, what she studies, what she can be. And, who she will one day marry. When kids turn 17, if they ever want to be married, they have to choose the option of being Matched. Then they will one day enter into the arranged marriage that the Society has deemed perfect for them. I like reading books like this about an undisclosed dystopian future, because anything can happen. Also, the books always seem to serve as a warning of sorts. This book reminded me a lot of Fahrenheit 451, because there is a definite message of censorship to it as well. The Society has gotten rid of all books, music, and poetry except for the “hundred best” of each one. Conveniently, none of the chosen works talk about thinking for yourself, rebellion, or anything else that might serve to ignite any sort of uprising again the Society.

 

Cassia has a unique situation as she is Matched. A face other than her Match flashes in front of her and now she is left with a choice; to follow the society’s plan or to follow her own heart. This is definitely a love story, one that I think girls would enjoy, but it is one that I think guys will like reading as well. The story is just a fun one to read about, because it is also about rebellion and choice. Cassia doesn’t have a lot of options, because she has so little freedom, and the punishments for anything considered rebellious can be severe.

 

This is a trilogy, with the second book already out for a while and the third book released earlier this year. I can’t wait to finish the trilogy and find out what happens. If you have read Hunger Games, Ender’s Game, or even Twilight, I think you will enjoy this book. It is similar to the love triangle scenario that is prevalent in other books, but the underlying themes and messages in this novel make it an especially fun read. There’s no bad language or anything disturbing in this novel, and I would recommend it to anyone. My wife read it after me at my suggestion and loved it as well; it is currently her favorite book over Hunger Games, which I thought nothing would ever top for her. Check it out, I think you’ll enjoy it!

Extras book review

Extras

Scott Westerfeld

Dystopia/Adventure

417 pages

 

So, I didn’t love this novel as well as the first three in the series. It takes place a few years after the conclusion of the third book, Specials. It takes place in Japan, and has completely new characters. It revolves around the life of a girl named Aya Fuse in a city where popularity is everything. Where you live, the clothes you wear, the things you can get; everything revolves around your popularity, or “face rank,” as it is called. Aya desperately wants to be famous like her brother Hiro, who is a “kicker,” meaning someone who kicks interesting stories on his feed. Aya is a kicker too, but the small stories she’s put out haven’t led her to be famous.

 

She stumbles across a story she thinks will be great about a secretive group called the Sly Girls. To get the story, she has to go undercover to infiltrate them and sneak shots of what they are doing. However, as she starts to get close to them she finds herself torn; she likes the person she is when she is with them, but she can’t get rid of her desire to become famous. Things escalate when the Sly Girls themselves stumble onto an even bigger story, one that could potentially change the world forever. Now Aya feels like she has to kick the story no matter what.

 

When the story hits the feeds, Aya’s face rank immediately starts to climb, however, so does the interest of the odd group she uncovered things about in her story. The story also draws the attention of our old friend in the series, Tally Youngblood. Tally shows up with backup and combines forces with Aya and her friends to seek out the group in the story and get to the bottom of what they are up to.

 

For me, this book was just OK. Unlike the other ones in the story, it took me a long time to get into and really care about it or be excited to read more. In the end, it turned out all right, in my opinion, but I don’t feel like it added anything to the original trilogy. I feel like it might have just been better left the way it was. So, it’s up to you. If you liked the way that Specials ended as a trilogy, you might want to skip this one and end it there. If you want to see how Tally changed the world and what she might be up to now, read on and find out.

Specials book review

Specials

Scott Westerfeld

Dystopia/Romance

372 pages

 

The original conclusion to the Uglies series. I say original, because Westerfeld later decided to add a fourth book to the trilogy called Extras. Tally is back in Specials after having become a Special herself. She is teamed up with Shay, who is the head of the Cutters, a very special branch of Special Circumstances. They can basically do whatever they want. Their goal is to locate and bring down the New Smoke, and they are authorized to do whatever is necessary to accomplish it.

 

Tally is struggling throughout the whole book, and we get an inside look at her struggles and her thought process as she is trying to adapt to what she is, as well as who she used to be. She seems to enjoy being a Special for the most part, and is completely content with it, until she sees Zane again. Zane is just a normal Pretty, although his brain is damaged from attempting to cure himself from Pretty-mindedness. When she sees him, she still has feelings for him but is simultaneously disgusted by the way he is; after all, he isn’t Special. Zane tells her to change her mind again and cure herself of being Special-minded like she cured herself when she was a pretty. This makes Tally start to question her happiness. She wants to do whatever it takes to be with Zane, but sometimes finds herself unhappy with what she has become.

 

Zane and some other Crims escape the city to find the New Smoke and Tally follows them. She is supposed to tail them to the new location and report them to Special Circumstances so that they can bring them down once and for all, but will her love for Zane sway her decision? This book is largely a struggle of the mind. Tally is fighting between what she has been programmed to accomplish and trying to do what she believes is right. Her true friends never stop believing that the true Tally is under there somewhere.

 

This book was a decent conclusion to the series. I didn’t love the way it ended, but I didn’t hate it either. Overall, I enjoyed the novel, and loved the series as a whole, I just didn’t love the ending. I am interested to see what happens in Extras, however, as I felt like this novel did conclude and wrap everything up effectively. If you are looking for a good series about a dystopian setting and especially if you liked the Matched series, I think you will be a fan of these books.

Pretties book review

Pretties

Scott Westerfeld

Dystopia/Romance

370 pages

 

The story continues with Tally now as a pretty. She turned herself in to get the operation so that the Smokies could test out the cure on her. She has been Pretty for about a month when the novel starts, and is living in New Pretty Town with all the other new pretties, including Peris and Shay. All she wants in her new life is to become a member of their clique, the Crims. She is at a party the night she hopes to be voted in, when suddenly, something from her Ugly life turns up. Or, I guess I should say, someone. An Ugly that she remembers is at the party following her around, and she can’t understand why he is there and won’t leave her alone. Tally briefly talks to him and he tells her he will leave something for her to find.

 

She starts to think a little clearer, and with the help of one of her fellow Crims, Zane, she gets through a series of tasks to discover that what is left for her is the cure for being “Pretty-minded.” From there on, Tally and Zane are inseparable, doing everything together and fighting to stay “bubbly” and not to fall back into the easy, Pretty haze. They plot an escape from New Pretty Town, but it becomes increasingly difficult, and there doesn’t seem to be any further help from her Ugly friends on the outside. Finally she and Zane enlist more of their fellow Crims to devise a plan that they think will work.

 

Not surprisingly, the plan doesn’t go exactly as expected, and Tally finds herself alone facing challenges she never would have dreamed of. She learns even more about the operations that the Specials are involved in, and more about the true nature of humanity. Tally must use her new non-Pretty brain to figure out how to join the rest of her group before they have to leave her and she is stuck alone forever. To me, this second book reminded me a lot of the second book of the Matched series, Crossed. I am excited to see what ends up happening in the third book because the end of Pretties was as much of a cliffhanger as the end of Uglies was. Really fun read, and I can’t wait to continue on with Specials!

Uglies book review

Uglies

Scott Westerfeld

Dystopia/Romance

425 pages

 

I love dystopian novels! They are becoming my favorite genre because it is so fun to see how different authors foresee possible futures. Uglies reminded me a lot of Matched. I started it one day and finished it the next. It follows Tally, who is about to turn 16, and subsequently, turn Pretty. When you turn 12, you are sent to Uglyville to live with all the other Uglies until you turn 16, when you become a new Pretty and move to New Pretty Town. Tally’s best friend Peris has just turned Pretty and left her all alone. That is, until she meets Shay, who shares her same birthday.

 

Tally and Shay begin doing everything together, which mostly involves pulling tricks and sneaking out at night to go to the old Rusty Ruins. The Ruins are what is left of the previous civilization that almost destroyed the world. Tally and Shay trust more in each other until Shay lets Tally know that she doesn’t plan to become Pretty, but wants to run away to a group of people who have escaped from various cities. Of course, this means that they will have to stay Uglies the rest of their lives. Shay wants Tally to go with her and run away, but Tally wants to become Pretty and join Peris. However, things don’t end up going as planned.

 

When Shay disappears, Tally suddenly becomes important enough to call on the attention of a group that no one really thought existed, the Specials. They tell her that in order to become Pretty, Tally has to betray her friend and help them discover the location of the secret city that Shay ran off to. Tally has to decide what to do, and who to honor her promises with. She promised Peris she would meet him soon as a Pretty, but she promised Shay she would keep her secret. And if she does go, what will she find when she gets there? Will it be enough to change her mind and make her want to stay?

 

I really enjoyed this book; dystopian novels are almost always a fun read, in my opinion. This is a great book for young adults, or anyone else who likes these kind of stories. If you like these kinds of books, pick it up! Especially if you liked Matched, as I said, this reminded me a lot of it. This is the first book in what was originally meant to be a trilogy, but is now a 4 piece set. I’m excited to keep reading on and see what happens in the rest of the series.