I wish someone could bottle you up, so that each person in the world could have a little bit of you. (Okay, mOh, Augustus Waters.
I wish you were real.
I wish someone could bottle you up, so that each person in the world could have a little bit of you. (Okay, maybe not bottling you up, per se, but your essence, maybe...but only because bottling you up would not only be cruel but gross. And you're not real, so it would be impossible.)
But if you were real, then you would be pretty close to perfect.
You are absolutely yummy (your words), infinitely interesting, grotesquely irreverent (which makes you even yummier despite your 1.4 legs), and just so darned multidimensional that if it were possible, I'd want to travel the multiverses just to get a chance to meet you. And maybe hang out for a day...or an afternoon. Heck, even an hour, even if it were in the Literal Heart of Jesus.
Is it wrong that I like you so much?
Is it? Because it doesn't feel wrong.
I have no idea how Hazel held out for as long as she did, but thank goodness that girl came to her senses. Because you are, quite intolerably, just plain wonderful.
Because you did more in your short (fictional) life than most (real) people ever do...or try.
Because you look at life, at the universe, and you thumb your nose at it, with a smirk. I wish I could do that, instead of getting bogged down by...everything.
Because you put into words your fear of oblivion, so succinctly, so simply, that I teared up when you first uttered those words. That most everyone has that fear is a given. But very few could even string together the right words to voice that fear, much less share it with the world at large and make it mean something. So bravo to you, Augustus Waters (and by default, you, John Green, as well). Bravo.
Oh, how I wish you were real, because...
Well, because we'd all be just a smidgeon better for having known you. For having had the chance to catch a twinkle or two of your starlight.
Narrative: 3 stars. There were a number of good things that I liked about Reached (i.e., providing XaOverall rating: 2.5 stars.
Breakdown of my rating:
Narrative: 3 stars. There were a number of good things that I liked about Reached (i.e., providing Xander’s point of view, fleshing out minor characters like Indie and Hunter), but there were also some fairly big problems (e.g., the plague [where did that come from?; what kind of rebellion—one that is purportedly trying to free and/or save people—is willing to unleash a plague and use the cure as a means of getting people to come around to their side?).
Writing: 4 stars. Allie Condie is a very good writer. Her prose evokes pervasive imagery: beauty, desolation, isolation, happiness, loneliness, alienation…I can continue listing adjective here, but I don’t think it’s necessary. I have no complaints about her writing.
Characters: 1 star. Xander and Indie’s characters aside, I loathed the other main characters, namely Cassia and Ky. She has not really shown any kind of growth since Matched, which is highly unfortunate since she’s the heroine. We’re supposed to be rooting for her. But all I could think of was this: Cassia has a one track mind. Okay, I get it. She loves Ky and Ky is her world. But enough already. There is more to life than just Ky. People are dying left and right. She claims to love her family and not once in the entire book does she actually think about ensuring her family is safe from the plague. Xander is supposed to be her best friend, and could’ve been her match, but does she really care about him? I never once got that feeling that she was concerned. The only thing she was concerned about was ensuring that Xander let her go.
And Ky. Ugh. Talk about someone who’s just coasting. He only seems to come alive when he is with Cassia. What could have been a great plot point ((view spoiler)[his growing feelings for Indie; her sacrifices for Ky once she realized he was blindly following his heart back to Cassia (hide spoiler)]) was wasted. He joins the rebellion because of Cassia. It’s not like he believes in the Rising or the Pilot. He’s only in it because of her, because she wanted to be part of it. And while I can understand that, and while I can empathize with him to a certain point, again, his main goal was not what was happening around him, what was happening to his world. It was getting to Cassia.
And while I appreciated having Xander’s point of view, and having his story told, I was a bit disappointed in how his story ended. It seemed too neat, too tidy, an ending for him. So in that regard, I feel that Condie cheated Xander out of a potentially interesting finale, especially since she made mention of the Otherlands. And really…I don’t think that everyone has to have a happy ending. Sometimes, a good ending doesn’t ensure that everyone ends up matched. But since this is a YA novel/series, I guess I can understand why Condie ended it the way she did. I just feel she did her readers a disservice.
Execution: 2 stars. I think Condie had a great premise. In a post-apocalyptic world, the Society and all its rules and limitations was believable. The Rising was believable, too, and in a way, almost expected. But I think Condie got so bogged down in her romance – it’s not even fair to call it a love triangle, because Condie hammered it home in the first book: Xander never had a chance – that everything about the Society and the Rising was so sloppy. The plague came out of nowhere, the solution was pure happenstance, even her painstakingly drawn out ending felt contrived.
Here’s the thing: it was very uneven story-telling. While Condie writes well, and she can draw emotions and imagery like some of the finest writers out there, if the characters and their arcs are weak, if the execution is weak, then the story will be weak, too.
It had a lot of potential, and I was hoping that after the torpid slowness of Crossed, that Reached would have ended with a bang. That Cassia would’ve grown from her crossing a canyon, from leaving her home and family and finding Ky, from being exposed to the wide world, from finally finding the Rising. But all we got was Cassia in the same head space she was in, in Matched and Crossed. Where was the growth?
And while I appreciate that she wanted to create something new – and did, via the Gallery – her contribution to the Rising wasn’t as substantial as what we would’ve expected from our heroine. Even all her efforts in the stone village wasn't to find a cure for everyone. It was to find a cure for Ky. Very one-note. Is it believable? Sure. People fall in love and that person becomes their sole focus. But I guess, in my mind, a love like that isn't healthy. It isn't even normal, because at some point, life and the real world hone in and you're forced to live in both spaces. And that's what I felt was missing: Cassia lived in her world with Ky, whether he was there or not. Everything was Ky, Ky, Ky, even when the world was falling down around them. Cassia (and Ky) coasted through life, trying to get back to each other. They were immune to whatever was happening outside their sphere. And to me, that's just unrealistic.
Xander did more; Xander truly believed in the Rising, Xander believed in Cassia and even Ky, even though he understood that Cassia was never going to love him. Xander helped create the cure. Xander was broken emotionally, physically and mentally, and yet somehow, he continued living. He continued caring. He continued helping.
I think if I’d seen Cassia have a similar progression as Xander, I would’ve liked this book more. The only thing that stopped me from giving it a 1 star was that I really did like Xander’s and Indie’s arcs. And I thought that Ky’s point of view in the Plague chapters was a nice touch. ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
David Levithan's use of an alphabetical narration was, in my mind, seminal and a very novel approach to telling a verySo beautiful, so real, so raw.
David Levithan's use of an alphabetical narration was, in my mind, seminal and a very novel approach to telling a very old, very common story. I'll be honest: I was a tad bit concerned that I wasn't going to like how this narrative---this relationship---played out non-chronologically, but surprisingly, it worked. It worked so well, in fact, because throughout, I had this sense of dread, this sense of not knowing what was going to happen. The suspense was killing me and I had to turn the page, to find the next word, to find out what was happening.
And I think, part of me still doesn't know for sure what happened. I think I know, and I know what I'd like to believe, but I guess that's the truth for most relationships anyway: you never know. You just are. You're in one and each day can bring up a new question, a new word, a new potential future and you may or may not end up alone.