Cassia and Ky grapple with secrets, wilderness and the tumultuous meanings of love in the second installment of this addictive, layered dystopic trilogy.
Far away from both each other and the neatly manicured and repressive Society suburbs, Ky and Cassia are both on the run. Cassia slyly gets herself moved from a work camp to the Outer Provinces, where kids are shipped to die as “decoys”—defenseless shooting fodder for the Enemy. She’s not positive that Ky’s there, but readers are: The two alternate narrating in first-person present. Ky’s voice is dry and harsh, Cassia’s lusher, befitting their life histories. They’re desperate to find each other. She’s exhilarated at whispers of an anti-Society rebellion called the Rising; Ky hates the Rising but holds his reasons close, parceling out his story slowly. When Cassia and Ky find each other, deception looms large, as does Cassia's official Match, Xander, geographically distant but sharply relevant. Although two-boys-one-girl triangles run rife in this genre, Condie’s is complicated and particularly human, involving real emotional scars. While more loosely woven than Matched (2010), this volume has its own boons, including non-linear travel through a rough canyon and critical interpretations of Tennyson’s symbolism, which could change their world. Questions—about Cassia’s vulnerability to the Society’s pills, about the Enemy’s identity and the Rising’s true nature—hover for next time.
Both rich and easy to digest, this will leave fans hungry for the third book. (Science fiction/romance. 13 & up)