Review: Crossed by Ally Condie

Crossed by Ally Condie

Three stars

Rules are different outside the Society.

Chasing down an uncertain future, Cassia makes her way to the Outer Provinces in pursuit of Ky–taken by the Society to his sure death–only to find that he has escaped into the majestic, but treacherous, canyons. On this wild frontier are glimmers of a different life and the enthralling promise of rebellion. But even as Cassia sacrifices everything to reunite with Ky, ingenious surprises from Xander may change the game once again.

Narrated from both Cassia’s and Ky’s points of view, this hotly anticipated sequel to Matched will take them both to the edge of Society, where nothing is as expected and crosses and double crosses make their path more twisted than ever.

In my review of Matched, I made a mention of the fact that I was “eager” to read Crossed “despite” the reviews I had read. And I was, I really was. The problem? I should have listened when every single one of them said–in one way or another–that nothing happened.

Alright, I’m getting quite snappy and far ahead of myself. I was excited to pick up Crossed, because I thought Matched carried so much promise. Before 100 pages had gone by, however, I was quite disappointed. My first shocker was that the book kept switching back and forth between Ky and Cassia as narrators. Yes, yes, I see that the blurb mentions that, but I didn’t read it before I dove right in. I probably should have, but what can I say? The back and forth got quite choppy in places, and as Ky and Cassia met up again it got fairly bulky. Some of those chapters seemed like they were just thrown in so that a chapter break could be had in between (mostly) Cassia’s viewpoint.

My second problem was the apparent ADD the book had developed. Now, I don’t mind flashbacks when they’re done properly but this…wasn’t it. Both Cassia and Ky were jumping in and out of the past and present with almost no warning, leaving my jolted out of the writing and thoroughly confused. This was heavily prevalent in the front of the book, disappeared in the middle and showed up once or twice again in the end. It was a very, very messy use of flashbacks that left me rather annoyed.

The thing about Crossed is that it really wasn’t a book. Sure, there was a vague plotline taking place, but if I was being kind I’d call it filler in between Matched and the final and yet untitled third book. It was barely even that. Reading Crossed felt like reading Condie’s character sketches and paragraphs of her own personal delve into her world’s background. There was more discussing of Ky’s past, Cassia’s inner feelings and a whole lot of dark poeticism on love, life and philosophy.

*SPOILERS BELOW*

By the time any real plot developments occurring, I was already quite done with the book. I skipped through most of the middle and missed nothing. The only reason I started reading again was because Cassia and Ky found each other and I’m a sucker for romance. When it did occur, however, it felt…trite and forced. For instance, Ky’s whole issue with going with Cassia to the Rising. He goes on and on for chapters about how he can’t go with her, but then when they finally decide to go there is no question that he’s going with her. As if there ever was. Xander’s “big secret” as being a member of the Rising felt contrived so that the love triangle would remain viable. And of course, that end. THAT END. No, no, no, no. At least make it somehow believable. All this fighting and nearly dying and death and self discovery to get back together and Cassia ends up being sent back into Society by the Rising where she SHOULDN’T BE ALLOWED because she ought to have been RECLASSIFIED as was mentioned several times throughout the story. None of it made sense and none of it felt right.

*END SPOILERS*

Overall, Crossed was a huge disappointment. I really, really wanted to like this book, but it just defeated my attempts at every turn. If you really do want to hold on to this series, I don’t recommend reading this one unless you are deeply in love with Cassia and Ky’s romance and think learning all about Society’s history, Cassia’s inner thoughts and Ky’s past is awesome and can overlook that it isn’t presented well. Personally, I wish I’d just read a summary and kept waiting for the finale. Though I am still vaguely curious about how the last book will go, I now feel that Condie’s storyline is far too predictable to keep me on my toes, so whether or not I actually read the final book will depend on my whim and the money in my bookstore stash. It certainly won’t be a must-get for me.

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9 thoughts on “Review: Crossed by Ally Condie

  1. Overall, POV switching makes me nervous– I’ve done it before in my own writing, but I worried about it the whole time, and I know that I’m very hard on authors who switch. The only book I’ve read recently with POV switches that I really liked was “Incarceron”, and even with that one, I would really have preferred it to all be from Claudia’s POV.

    • I’ve also done it before; my first novel was almost based on the round circle switch from four different characters. I don’t always mind it, but there has to be a reason and I have my standards. I am very picky about my books, as my reviews show. 😛

  2. Now you’ve got me freaked out a bit about POV switches. My current book does that–crap. Alpha and Beta readers seem okay with it, my editor/publisher seen fine but who knows. Fingers crossed. Crap again.

    Anyway, great review. I picked up MATCHED at my kids’ school book fair because I had heard a lot of great things about it. But, I’m less than half way in and my short attention span has kept me from reading further. I need more action. I don’t know. For me, the book hasn’t lived up to the hype. But that just could be me.

    Thanks again for the review. Well done. Very honest and helpful.

    • Like I tried to say, I’m not against them, they just need to be done well and for a purpose. If I don’t get anything out of the book I couldn’t have gotten from a third person POV, then what’s the point, you know? When the switches are third person I can deal with it a little better. I actually find them really fun sometimes, especially in high irony situations or something, but…sigh. Crossed was just an example of a LOT of things not to do.

      Matched didn’t really do it for me either, but I really had high hopes that Condie could improve. Sadly, it doesn’t. I always try to give books every chance, and I always finish them if I’m going to review them–I literally hold on til the last straw. I have a hard time smashing books, to be honest. But I was just so disappointed with Crossed, there wasn’t much I could do. Hopefully I can at least spare some people the same fate. 😛

  3. I had many of the same feelings as you did about Crossed. There was just not enough going on. That being said, I decided to read the final book in the series because I still liked Matched and the world Condie created. Reached was SO much better than Crossed! If you haven’t read it yet because of your disappointment with Crossed, I’d recommend going for it. Reached redeems the series.

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