I read Matched, the first book in this planned trilogy, in 2011, and I had this to say about it: “Matched by Ally Condie. There’s not so much action and adventure in this book, but more romance and thoughtful commentary on the pros and cons of a ‘safe’ society bought with the price of complete obedience to an authoritarian government.”
In this second book, Cassia goes to the Outer Provinces in pursuit of Ky, her chosen match and true love. Ky is already in the Outer Provinces where he is trying to survive in a government-controlled “war” that is designed to kill all who are forced to participate. Can Cassia find Ky? Will Ky survive long enough to be found? What will the two of them do once they have been reunited?
If Matched was about safety and freedom, Crossed, is more about trust and the lack thereof. A lot of romance and dystopia novels these days take the theme of trust and develop it as a prerequisite to a real lasting relationship. Of course, without trust there is not real relationship. However, I would say that trust develops as both partners in a relationship are given reason to trust one another by the daily sacrifices of love that are required in marriage or even any other family relationship or a long-term friendship. So beginning a relationship requires a “leap of faith”, maybe a small leap, but a hop nevertheless. Then that trust is rewarded with reciprocal trust and faithfulness, or it’s not. If not, the relationship needs mending and forgiveness and eventually another leap, or else it dies.
In Crossed and in other stories I’ve seen or read lately (Once Upon a Time), the characters seem to be saying, “You must trust me blindly with all your secrets and insecurities, and if I give you reason to doubt my faithfulness and trustworthiness, you must ignore those reasons. Otherwise it’s not True Love.” It doesn’t exactly work that way, does it? You commit to the relationship, and then you grow it little by little. And you remember that your partner is human and prone to sin just as you are, so betrayal of trust in some ways is inevitable. And the cycle of trust, reciprocal trust or betrayal, and forgiveness begins again. But repentance and forgiveness are just as necessary as trust and faithfulness are because we live in a fallen world.
The only one who is completely trustworthy, who will never leave you or betray you, is Jesus. Our human relationships are all imperfect and incomplete, no matter how fulfilling and trusting they may be.
I enjoyed the first two books in this series, and I will eventually be reading the third book, Reached, which comes out in November.