Thursday, November 7, 2013

Reached


Reached
By Ally Condie
Rating: 5 out of 5

Published 2012

First Sentence
"The Story of the Pilot: A man pushed a rock up the hill."
Publisher's Description:

Cassia’s journey began with an error, a momentary glitch in the otherwise perfect fa├žade of the Society. After crossing canyons to break free, she waits, silk and paper smuggled against her skin, ready for the final chapter.

The wait is over.

One young woman has raged against those who threaten to keep away what matters most—family, love, choice. Her quiet revolution is about to explode into full-scale rebellion.

With exquisite prose, the emotionally gripping conclusion to the international–bestselling Matched trilogy returns Cassia, Ky, and Xander to the Society to save the one thing they have been denied for so long, the power to choose.

Dear Reader,

This is the third and final book in the trilogy so spoiler alert for the following review.  The story resumes with Cassia in Central Province; smuggled back into society as covert agent of The Rising. Indy & Ky are stationed in Camis; trained as errand pilots for The Rising.  Xander is a Physic in Camis Province; lying in wait until the Pilot speaks. This book is appropriately the best in the trilogy because it brings everything to a head and shows the main characters in their fully 'reached' personalities.  It contains the turning point when the Pilot speaks and the rebellion occurs.
There are several themes that are poignant such as the teens going through the realization that their idols are not really what they once hoped them to be. Initially the Pilot speaks and it seems as though he's the real deal; that all the restricted people in the society are finally going to see a better day. The characters describe the Pilot's resonant voice  and flying abilities as the best which gives the reader hope that it's all going to turn out well. But, true to life, things start to fall apart. There's no real way to enact a revolution by saving of people from a plague without unexpected problems surfacing. The mutation proves to be the biggest threat to the Society/Rising people and no one saw it coming. Since the mutation was not anticipated or prepared for, people start to 'go still' and there is no cure. The Pilot's position in power starts to unravel and he has to make aggressive decisions to get what he needs to stay in power and save the people. The realization comes to Cassia, Ky and Xander on the airship the Pilot is piloting to the mountain villages. Ky is getting symptoms of the mutated plague and the Pilot shuts Cassia, and Xander and him in the airship cargo hold and takes off to the mountains.  Their once savior is actually just a man doing whatever he can to get what he needs. The crucial theme here is that man is flawed and power corrupts. This is the rite of passage the teens go through which heightens the drama and makes this novel valuable for young readers. The Pilot used Indy's complete faith as a tool to round up the three of them. Indy is innocent in her wholehearted belief in the pilot and doesn't realize that she's delivered them into a trap. During the flight the Pilot has left some of Cassia's trade items in the hold; the micro card and a letter from her family. The mood turns sinister when the reader realizes that he has read the message from her parents and has been keeping surveillance on her through the Head Archivist in Central. This is someone she once believed was trustworthy.  As he flies them to the mountain village he talks through the plane speaker and threatens Cassia by showing her parents lying 'still' in Kia Province and tells the teens that they are suspected of being traitors. Based on the evidence he's collected, he doesn't know if they are against the Rising or for the Rising. They are afraid of what will happen when they land; the Pilot will decide if they should be killed or used to help find the cure.  Cassia and Xander now see that no one leader is completely right and good. They have to psychologically move on, and choose to be their own metaphorical pilot. Xander sides with the mission of finding the cure to the mutation. Cassia also wants to help, especially since her parents and Ky are in jeopardy of dying from it. Ky, who has always known to not fully trust any organization is willing to run with Cassia as soon as the air ship lands.
This is a great point of suspense in the plot.
The character of Orche is another enhancement from the author because of what he represents. He proves that the society is wrong about how long a person should live, and therefore shows that the Society is not benevolent.  He is ten years older than the predetermined 80 years old. Also, he is the one that has inside knowledge of how twisted the society was.  He lived as a citizen and helped create the original plague and its subsequent cure. He tells Xander how the society and the rising are basically the same system with different names. This is a further confirmation to the reader and the main character that no one organization is pure and good and true.
In the village, N-stone, Ky has gone still with the mutation, Xander is working with Orche on the cure and Cassia is helping to sort the data. Another essential theme is how the author shows how each person in the love triangle is not to be envied. They are all in a difficult place and feel guilt and regret for the things they've done. Xander is lucky; prized for his intelligence and looks is lonely because he now knows he will never have Cassia. Cassia is sad because she loves Xander but she is more fulfilled with her love of Ky. Ky is unlucky; he was born in the outer provinces and now is deathly ill with the plague, and has a deep scars from a life hard-lived, but he does have the love of Cassia.
Finally I wanted to say that I like how the author has the characters that die from the plague say goodbye to those 'still' but not yet dead. Having Indy and Ky in their unconscious state speak to each other hints at the possibility of an afterlife, and higher meaning to their lives and deeds. Indy tells Ky in this limbo like state that she was wrong to believe the Pilot was truly her pilot in life. She is now reached in the last ether bits of her conscious when Ky tells her that she has been the pilot all along. Cassia's father who succumbs to the mutated plague also is able to say good bye to his wife when they are both in the limbo of being still.
This trilogy is a solid triumph and I would recommend it to adults and young adults alike.  Ally Condie's poetic writing style and her fantastic construction of this dystopian future is worth the read.

Yours,
Marsha

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