Monday, January 21, 2013

Book Review: Reached

Reached by Ally Condie

Description: After leaving Society to desperately seek The Rising, and each other, Cassia and Ky have found what they were looking for, but at the cost of losing each other yet again. Cassia is assigned undercover in Central city, Ky outside the borders, an airship pilot with Indie. Xander is a medic, with a secret. All too soon, everything shifts again.

Review: I honestly went back and forth on giving this one or two stars. I was thinking one because I didn't enjoy any of the moments in this book. Seriously, none. Then I thought, "No, the writing was solid. So I have to give her something for that." But then I was thinking, "Wait, any poet could write up a book all nice sounding like, but if the book has nothing engaging, no good plot, no good world, no good characters, then what's the point?" It was a lot of debate going on in my head, apparently. My end verdict is going to have to be 1.5 stars. Here's why:

It was boring. So so boring. I could have put it down at any time, walked away, never finished it and not been bothered at all. In fact, I did put it down, several times. Not even for important reasons either. Once I put it down to watch an ABC Family movie starring Melissa Joan Hart and Joey Lawrence on Netflix. Let's digest that. I would rather watch a crappy movie with mediocre actors that's made for TV and that I can access at any time, instead of read this book. The saddest thing is that I liked that movie better than I liked this book. That is big, guys. I didn't even like the movie that much.

I stopped caring about the characters. I actually cared about these characters in the first two books. In the first book I really cared about them all, and in the second one, even though it didn't get as much love, I still cared about them and rooted for them. She even got me to care about the new characters in the second book. She has some mad skills though, because in this third book, with me already liking  her cast, she got me to uncare about all of them. She managed to suck away my feelings for everyone in the book like a black hole of apathy. I no longer wanted to understand their motives because none of them were interesting. The characters were also fairly interchangeable in voice. It went pretty much like this: Cassia-obnoxiously poetic, trying to make everything she sees, hears, and does into poetry, so obsessed with poetry that I'm not sure she actually cares about anything else. Ky-Somewhat poetic, seeing a little too much poetry in all the things for an average teenage guy, sounds a lot like Cassia. Xander-least poetic, hardly poetic at all, obsessed with Cassia and things being black and white, somehow the lack of poetry defined him in contrast with the poetry dreamer team.

All the questions I cared about only sort of got answered or didn't get answered at all. She answered the questions that I thought of as minor. What happened to Hunter and Eli?-not something I was dying to know, but I figured she'd tell us. Who are the archivists?-her answer: they are the archivists, they like old things. Like I couldn't infer that! Who is the pilot?-some guy, who's a pilot. Who's Cassia's grandpa?-duh, he's her grandpa, someone else who Cassia never talked about was special! What are anomalies and aberrations and why are they classified thusly?-unanswered. Why was the society keeping all of those tissue samples?-truly boring and uninteresting answer. Why was the society doing what it did?-sort of an answer, but not really. What was up with the matching?-no answer, the society was apparently just really into making love connections. Why was Ky matched with Cassia?-this one was the only halfway decent answer, but it still bored me. Who will Cassia pick?-I was really on the edge of my seat for this one . . . because, ya know, it wasn't horribly obvious.

The plague. I thought this book was going to be about infiltrating the society, taking them down, trying to establish something new, all the main cast working together after being separated for most of the second book. Nope. This book is about everyone being separate and it's about a plague. The plague is not only the plot of this book, it's practically the main character too. So instead of wrapping up all of the issues she created, the author decided to make an entirely new issue that would divert everyone's attention away from all of the previous issues. Mind blowingly stupid.

Spoiler alert. If you have been dying to read this boring book and don't want to know any of the wrap up info. then do not read on.

Cassia chooses Ky, super obvious, so what happens to poor, little Xander? Well, if we thumb through my little book of YA cliches, the scorned love triangler has a few options. He either dies, suddenly and inexplicably finds the perfect new girl for him at the last minute, or he falls in love with the unnatural baby of the girl he loved and other love triangler. Condie went for door number two: Xander falls in love with new perfect girl for him who just so happens to be Vick's (dead character) girly.

The end was too neat. Everything all wrapped up in a splendid little package. And should I really believe that Anna, someone that no one in the entire society knows at all, would really be considered in elections? Am I supposed to believe that everyone is just like, tra la la, we all almost died and the society may or may not be gone or may be being replaced with a new society, tra la la. It felt like, "Don't mind the woman behind the curtain, that's just the author telling us nonsense that would never happen in any real scenario! Believe it! Belieeeeeeeeeeeeve it!" And the only people who died were characters I honestly didn't care about anyway because the author built up the three main people so much that other people really didn't matter.

In conclusion, this book was the worst of the three, and the first book was the best of the three. I don't know what happened after the first book. It was kind of like the author forgot that she had written the first book at all. She possibly also forgot that she could write good things and decided she was way more interested in writing a really bad book of poetry than a novel. My recommendation would be this: if you have great self restraint, read the first book and only the first book and imagine a cool ending (your imagined ending will be cooler than what the author did, guaranteed), or, if you do not have good self restraint, do not read any of these books. You will be disappointed if you do. And bored. I don't recommend.

1.5 Stars


Becky said...

Holy cow, that was the longest review known to man. It was so long I had to put it down a few times and watch a stupid movie on netflix with has been nineties stars on it before coming back to finish. But I liked your post better than the movie. I disagree with your disdain for the book, but you are entitled to it. My review is forth coming.

Sarah said...

Sasparilla. I had no problems with the length of the book, just the boringness, but I'm glad you just thought my review was long, not boring. Mostly, I was disappointed that she wrote a great first book and punked out after that with mediocre garbage. I get the feeling that she really didn't know where her series was going after that first book . . . but maybe she did and just put all her best ideas in the first one. Spread 'em out, lady.