Hello Dear Bookworms,
I’ve been a bit grouchy with Ally Condie’s Matched series so far, so it is with great pleasure that I announce: I liked Reached! How is this even possible?! Read on my friends, read on.
When we last left the gang, Cassia, Ky, Indie, and Xander has all joined The Rising. Ky and Indie are sent to flight school while Cassia and Xander have been assigned to serve The Rising from within The Society. Now they’re double agents.
You know how The Rising decides to take over The Society? Biological warfare. A plague “mysteriously” breaks out that renders people comatose. If they’re left untreated, they die. Now, I’m not giving Condie a free pass here. The “plague” sounded an AWFUL lot like being petrified by the basilisk in Harry Potter and The Chamber of Secrets. The Rising plans to take over things by riding in on their white horse of a vaccine and cure. (Which, thankfully, is not made of mandrake root…) I realize The Society eliminated most pre-society history, but seriously. Why do people never learn? Viruses mutate! If you release a virus on a large population, you should expect it to mutate. For heaven’s sake, they have to make new flu vaccines every year! Ugh. People. No matter how much science they get, they still do dumb things.
So. Now there’s a plague. Cassia and Ky are separated. Indie is still kind of a sociopath. Xander is busy being a doctor and trying to do the right thing. I’m just so thankful that Cassia and Ky were separated because Cassia finally becomes her own person! She stops being the “OMG I LOVE KY” single minded teen-bot and starts writing poetry and organizing an art gallery and thinking thoughts. Thank heavens, because she was a few pages away from being thrown into the uninspiring heroine category with Ana Steele and Bella Swan.
How is it that I don’t even want to get all spoiler-y on you when I’ve been so mean to the rest of this series? Really, I didn’t HATE the other two books, they were just formulaic and seemed to “borrow” a bit too liberally from everything that had gone before. But then. THEN! Condie like, recognizes that and ADDRESSES it in one of Cassia’s “A-Ha” moments. She comes out and says something to the effect of “there is nothing original and someone has already done it better, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t create.” Self awareness.
Remember the people who lived outside The Society? The farmers who were chilling in the Carving? The Rising has is flabbergasted by the mutation of the plague and is on the cusp of killing off the very people they tried to “liberate.” As a last ditch effort, the illustrious Pilot sends Ky, Cassia, and Xander out into an agrarian village to try and work on a cure for the mutated plague. Now, I love the idea that the antidote to the plague was a flower, but… I’m a big fan of Western medicine. Like, if you’ve got, oh I don’t know, LEPROSY, I think you should get thee to a doctor and get some antibiotics. I don’t think it’s a good idea to go digging up flower bulbs to try and cure ailments that have clear effective established treatments. However. When regular medicine isn’t working? Maybe trying some herbal remedies wouldn’t hurt.
I don’t know if it was the plague (because, HELLO The Stand) or the fact that the characters seemed to mature emotionally or the idea that a FLOWER saved humanity. Probably the flower part. Katie loves flowers. But. The Matched series was saved by Reached. I feel a whole lot less hostile now, which is always a good thing. What do you think, Bookworms? Anybody else finish the series?