[DISCLAIMER: there will be spoilers]
I finished this a few weeks ago, and I personally think it was a great end to the trilogy. I’ve read some reviews which haven’t been as kind. With the final book in a trilogy, or any series really, I’ve found that it usually either comes down to you like it or you don’t. After all, you’ve been an invested reader up to that point; everybody wants an ending which makes them happy. But unfortunately, it doesn’t always work out that way for everybody.
The Matched trilogy by Ally Condie overall has been very well written. I liked the protagonist, and I truly believed in the society and world Condie created for Cassia. However, that doesn’t mean there weren’t things which I didn’t quite agree with.
Firstly, a quick note on Cassia’s name choice. I think it’s important to use a name for a character, particularly a protagonist, which is easily understood. I only found out after reading the second in the trilogy, Crossed, that Cassia’s name is supposed to be pronounced ‘Casha’. So when reading Reached I sometimes found myself thinking of both pronunciations. It’s a stupid point, and perhaps most people would have realised, but I didn’t and it just seemed a little odd.
Moving on to plot, I found it surprising and certainly unexpected, but I did enjoy it. In other reviews I’ve read some people said it became too scientific for them. I found myself appreciating how much research Condie must have done for the book. But I think that’s partly because as a writer, I know how much work goes into something like that, especially if you’re going to make it believable. I found the Plague aspect to be really interesting, and certainly added a different twist to the revolution.
I’m glad Xander got to have his own POV in Reached. He was barely featured at all in Crossed, and whilst I realise it was necessary, it wasn’t great to see one of the main characters ditched in so sudden a way. I think he develops a lot as a character in the book, which is always great.
However I really didn’t agree with his ending. His feelings changed very suddenly from ‘loving’ Cassia to being in love with Lei. It was disappointing too, because Condie started to present this picture of Xander trying not to rely on other people for his own happiness, before falling straight into the arms of somebody else. People don’t need love to be happy; or rather, people shouldn’t need a romantic interest to make them feel complete. I feel for a YA novel especially, it's not the best message to be sending out.
There wasn’t any real heartbreaking moments in the book for me. When Ky went into the coma and nearly died, I didn’t exactly care. I don’t know why, but I’ve never found myself really connecting with Ky as a character. There was always something missing for me as a character. I still couldn’t tell you what was missing about him, but for some reason, his characterisation always seemed off to me. Personally, I would have been quite fine to see him be with Indie.
The ending was almost too happy for me. Whilst we never got to see the outcome of the vote, I still feel the ends were tied up a little too neatly for everybody. It is a dystopian novel after all. I think there’s a very fine line with a hopeful ending and it being unrealistic, particularly for dystopia, and I can’t quite decide where Reached falls on that line.
But despite all my criticisms – I didn’t expect to be this critical! – I did really enjoy the book, and I was glad to finally put an end to the trilogy. I would read more of Condie’s works, and I would definitely recommend the series to anybody looking for a good series to get into. If you’re liking the Delirium series by Lauren Oliver, you’ll probably like this too.