Reached — "Matched" Series
Reached by Ally Conde has been reviewed by Focus on the Family’s marriage and parenting magazine. It is the third book in the "Matched" series.
Crude or Profane Language
Drug and Alcohol Content
Other Negative Elements
Chapters rotate between Ky's, Cassia's and Xander's point of view. Everything is in place for the Rising's takeover of the Society, the reigning government. Cassia works undercover in Central as a sorter and trades with Archivists in her spare time in order to exchange messages between herself and Ky. Ky and Indie are airbus pilots, based in Camas, far away from Cassia. Xander is in Camas serving the Society as an Official.
Cassia and Ky are desperate to find each other, but their assignments keep them apart. A plague has hit the major provinces, and it is the mechanism the Rising uses to overtake the Society — by curing the afflicted and thereby gaining trust. Unlike the Society wherein only select individuals are accepted, the Rising accepts everyone, and there is no bloodshed.
As the Rising comes into power, Cassia continues to work as a sorter. Ky and Indie now fly the life-saving vaccine to the hardest-hit Provinces. Xander is a physic in a medical setting, where he meets Lei. Xander and Lei labor together day and night to inoculate patients with the cure, all of whom are expected to recover fully from the plague. When a patient dies, however, Xander realizes that the virus has mutated and that the vaccine they have is no longer effective.
The Pilot, who leads the Rising, flies Ky, Cassia and Xander to the mountains to help find a cure for the mutation. Xander and Cassia are immune to the plague and its mutation, but Ky does not have immunity, and he becomes still, a term for people who have contracted the disease, after they land. Those who are still are in a semi-comatose state, and they lie unmoving with their eyes open, staring.
After the crew lands, they take Ky to the infirmary, and Cassia and Xander meet Oker. Oker is a crusty 90-year-old researcher/pharmic who escaped the Society before his Final Banquet — a time of death for those who are 80 years old. Oker is knowledgeable and experienced. Therefore, he is an essential component of the team. Because his hands don't work well, he decides to use Xander as his assistant in the lab as they work on a cure.
Cassia learns that Eli and Hunter (from the second book) have been in the mountains. They visit her and Ky in the infirmary. When the villagers gather to vote on which cure to pursue, Cassia doesn't want to leave Ky alone while she attends the vote, so she trusts Hunter to stay with him. After the vote, Cassia returns to the infirmary to find that Hunter has disconnected the bags for the IVs for every patient, including Ky.
Meanwhile, Oker sets out on a short expedition to find a new flower to use for the next cure. Before he leaves the lab, he tells Xander to destroy all of the old cure because there is a mistake in it, and it won't work. Xander complies by pouring it all down the sink. Cassia rushes from the infirmary toward the lab to let Xander know what's happened to Ky, and she encounters Oker's dead body. The mountain people think Xander killed Oker, and they don't believe him when he tells them that Oker told him to destroy the medicine. They imprison Xander and Hunter with the intention of voting on their punishment.
Suddenly Cassia realizes that the Mariposa lily is what had been missing in the data she sorted, which is what Oker was going to search for when he died. From his prison cell, Xander concocts a new medicine from the Mariposa lily, and Cassia injects it into Ky. She waits to see if it works. Before the medicine has a chance to prove itself, the villagers decide to vote on retribution for Hunter and Xander. They decide to exile Hunter, and he leaves immediately; his destination is unknown.
When it looks like Xander may get a similar punishment, which for him means certain death, the Pilot suddenly lands his airship in their midst. Things have grown worse in the Provinces, he tells them, and he needs a cure and demands to know whether they've found one. Ky is the only patient to whom the new cure has been given, and when they enter the infirmary, they see that he is already improving. In order to create more of the new vaccine, the Pilot needs the trio's help to find where the white flower grows plentifully. He flies Cassia, Ky and Xander out of the mountains.
While en route to their next destination, the Pilot tells them that Indie was infected with the plague and has died. He also begins to unravel all the mysteries surrounding the Society and the Rising's rebellion. He says that each had infiltrated the other so thoroughly that little difference existed between them. They land in Camas long enough for Xander to concoct some of the new cure for Cassia to take with her as she flies off to her hometown. She reunites with her family, but learns that her father has died. They fly her mother back to Camas where Xander and the medics can care for her. When her health returns, she is able to let the Rising leaders know where to find more of the Mariposa lily.
Xander saves some of the new cure for Lei, and she overcomes the mutation. Lei still pines for her Match, but she's learned that he is dead. Cassia figures out that Lei is Vick's (from the second book) Match. Cassia has let Xander know that she loves Ky, and Xander realizes he loves Lei. Xander and Lei leave for the mountains, and Ky and Cassia stay in Camas. The story ends with the citizens in Camas about to vote on their future. Some will vote for the Society, some for the Rising, and some for neither of these.
Other Belief Systems
There is frequent mention of luck as in the previous books. Xander's family is among the lucky, and Ky is unlucky. Xander's father, after Ky arrives just in time to save him and the rest of his family from the plague, comments that it was luck . . . the family has always been lucky.
When Cassia's mother has gone still from the plague, Cassia's father appears to her mother either as he dies or has died. Similarly, Indie comes and talks to Ky while he lies still. He learns later that she is dead.
One use of d--n it.
Cassia has difficulty deciding who she loves more — Ky or Xander — both of whom have loved her since their childhoods. She finally decides Ky is the only one for her, and Xander pursues Lei, who turns out to be Vick's (from the second book) Match. Lei loves Vick but doesn't know he is dead. Indie is attracted to Ky and kisses him when they are alone in a cockpit. Xander and Lei check each other for signs of the mutated virus. For Xander to check her back, Lei has to unbutton her uniform. Xander ends up touching her at the base of her neck with his fingers going up into her long hair.
The three teens are full of longing, lingering thoughts about kisses past, present and future, and there are warm embraces between them. One of the airbus pilots says something crude to Indie about what he would like to do to her and with her, but his actual words are not included.
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Drugs: The Rising eliminates the red and blue tablets citizens used in the first two books, but the people continue to have a dependency on the green tablets for coping with stress and anxiety.
Stealing: Xander recalls that he and Ky became friends after he dared Ky to steal some red tablets. One of the Archivists whom Cassia thought she could trust steals Cassia's papers.
Literary allusions and poetry lines included: "Crossing the Bar" by Alfred, Lord Tennyson; "Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night" and "Poem in October" by Dylan Thomas; "They Dropped Like Flakes" and "I Did Not Reach Thee" by Emily Dickinson; "In Time of Pestilence, 1593" by Thomas Nashe.
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