This Blog is Dedicated to our dear friend Karen.
When she left this life she left a hole in our hearts as well as several to be read books.
We, her friends, will read these books for her.
This blog will be a sort of book club for us to post our thoughts and feelings about the stories and feelings we have of Karen while we read.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

#112 Reached b Ally Condle


Overall, I enjoyed this book so much. The last few chapters definitely passed the "crying in Wendy's" test.

I had a few issues, of course. This volume is substantially longer than the first two books in the series. I know, that's because there were so many things to wrap up at the end, and it's common for the last book in a series to be longer than the others (Harry Potter, anyone?). But this book also seems to slow down in the middle, as if Condie was trying to decide if she could wrap things up in this book, or if she needed to expand to a fourth book.

My other main quibble with the book (and really, the series in general, but especially this book) is that a couple things weren't explained clearly enough: the process of "sorting", and the whole biology/genetics/virology mess with the Plague. I'm still not completely understanding the whole bit with the immunity to the original plague versus the immunity to the mutation, and how the mutation happened, etc. I'm sure it's not as complicated as it seems in my mind, but I feel the author could have done a better job explaining it.It did seem that the conversations about the Plague in the book were a bit too technical for the average reader (or at least this reader).

I still don't subscribe to the popular idea that the idea for this book was stolen from Lois Lowry's The Giver. As I said elsewhere, it's been a while since I read the first book in that series, and I never did read the rest of the series, so maybe there's more to it than I'm seeing.

So, a good ending to a good series, although with a few rough spots. I think my sister would have enjoyed the series, especially the romance between Cassia and Ky, and the emphasis on Cassia's loving family, but I think she would have had some of the same issues with understanding the science.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

#113 Crossed by Ally Condle


This second book in the Matched trilogy is better than the first. The first book takes place entirely within the very structured, controlled world of The Society, so nothing exciting happens. While it makes for an interesting set-up to the story, it doesn't make for a very exciting story. In this second book, Cassia and Ky find themselves on the outskirts of Society life, and they even venture out into the caves and canyons outside. So there's more action, and some unexpected things happen, to show that hey, when you venture outside The Society's rules, you just never know what's gonna happen. But it's still pretty slow-moving. Cassia pines for Ky, and Ky thinks a lot about Cassia, and how much of his story he should let her know. And that's another problem with the book - secrets, and hints at secrets, and references to secrets that may be the reader knows about, but do we I don't know and it's all so confusing. We need a synopsis at the end of the book to say, here's all the stuff we definitely told you definitely happened in this chapter.

The point of view alternates back and forth from chapter to chapter between Ky and Cassia, something I often find annoying, but don't mind in this case. James Patterson does this a lot, but he'll have one character carry the point of view for several chapters, then switch to another, and so on. Condie only switches back and forth between Cassia and Ky, and they alternate from chapter to chapter, so you know that, if Cassia was telling last chapter, Ky is telling this one. Makes things a lot less confusing.


Thursday, August 11, 2016

#114 Matched by Ally Condie


A strong 3 stars. A pretty decent YA dystopian novel, although it moved pretty slowly for a lot of the book. There's a definite teenage-romance feel to the story, with Cassia worrying over which boy to choose, and a lot of general agonizing over dresses and boys and whatnot, that turned me off; I just wanted her to get on with whatever she was going to do.
A lot of other reviewers have commented on the similarity to called this a rip-off of Lois Lowry's The Giver, and while it's been a while since I read that book, I'm not seeing the rip-off. There are definitely some similarities, but it's mostly things that all dystopian novels have in common - the drab clothing, the job assignments, the government officials "encouraging" compliance. I didn't really see anything that appeared to be stolen from Lowry's book.
I read this as part of our "Reading with Karen" project. I could see my sister enjoying the series, though I think she would have some of the same complaints I have - the slow pace, the lack of any real action.