Friday, January 20, 2012

Crossed by Ally Condie

The second book in her Matched Trilogy, Condie takes YA fiction in a post-dystopian society with a strong, young female lead in a unique direction. Rather than concentrate on the action - essentially the fight against societal norms and control - Condie focuses on her characters and what leads them to the choices they make throughout the story.

In league with this focus on choice, Condie introduces a second narrator. While in Matched we only heard from Cassia, Crossed brings in the voice of Ky, her boyfriend, as a narrator. Both characters have led such different lives and are making choices from such different viewpoints that the action in the story really stems from the disparity in their thoughts and inner turmoils rather than any action taking place around them.

Because of this, I fell Condie kept the external action to a minimum. In Crossed, Cassia and Ky have both been sent to the Outer Provinces where a war is waging between Citizens and members of The Rising. Both of them escape their assigned locations and, along with some additional help, end up reuniting in The Carving - a cave system that felt a little Grand Canyonish to me. As they travel through The Carving trying to find the rebellion we learn about the history behind those who decided to live outside Society, Ky's past, and what both he and Cassia are willing to do for love.

This is a book about inner strength, about using what you know but also what you feel for others to make those hard choices that will define your life. It's so much more than the second part of an epic journey that could eventually bring down a corrupt way of life. I don't know what the final installment in this trilogy will hold, but I'm definitely looking forward to both the outcome for this world and of the lives of the characters we have really gotten a chance to know.

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