Saturday, January 12, 2013

Reached by Ally Condie

Unabridged audiobook on 11 compact discs, 13 hours. Read by Kate Simses, Jack Riccobono, and Matt Burns. Penguin Audio/ Penguin Group (USA), November, 2012. 9781611761023. (Purchased)

In this conclusion of the trilogy that began with the wildly imaginative, Matched, the three star-crossed lovers are living separately while they await the fall of the Society at the hands of the Rising and its Pilot. The first book was told just from Cassia's point-of-view. Crossed was told by Ky and Cassia in alternating chapters. Reached adds Xander's point-of-view and since he was the most intriguing of the three from the beginning, this was a welcome addition.

The Rising came to power relatively easily, too easily I suppose, since the plague that they spread and had the cure for, soon mutated. Cassia was in a bit of a holding pattern, but made good use of her time by creating a "gallery" where the creatively inclined could share their art. Then, she was whisked away to the mountains with Ky and Xander to find a cure. Yep, three teenagers are the hope of mankind. But there's treachery afoot and a blustery blowhard and shifting alliances and, it just didn't add up for me in the end despite some moments of lovely writing and character growth. 

I read all three with my ears and, while I loved the first pretty unconditionally, especially Kate Simses' performance, I didn't love the second. In my review of it on LJ, I did not comment specifically on the addition of Ky or the performance of the narrator, but in Reached, I wanted to scratch my eyes out each time it was Ky's turn. Jack Riccobono whined through the entire book! Sure Ky's a bit angsty (too much for my taste. Really Cassia?), but the performance was painful. I was actually relieved when Ky went still!

The world-building, which I so enjoyed in the first book all but vanished. Sure the Society was losing power, but for all the rigidity, Cassia and the Rising sure had a ton of freedom of movement. 

So, I had to read to the bitter end and in the end, I was bitterly disappointed. I'm writing this six days after finishing and am honestly having a hard time remembering plot lines. I'm donating my recording to my public library and will be purchasing the hardcover for my own school library for fans, but I'm sorely tempted to direct inquiring students to the public library rather than buying one. I have to think on that. 


  1. Yikes.

    I have the hardcover on my shelf but I was going to wait on the audio. Forget it! I do want to know what happens but I'm not surprised that the third is a disappointment after the second.

    1. Keri, did you listen to Crossed? I think I'm going to have to borrow it again to take another listen to Ky. Perhaps the angsty whine seemed appropriate in that story-line...


  2. I didn't listen to the audiobook, but I too found that the first book was definitely the best in the series. I sometimes wonder if author's of trilogies feel so too much pressure when they are writing the 3rd book and it suffers for it.

    1. Interesting. Do you think that there's pressure to write series/ trilogies as opposed to stand-alones?