Cassia has risked everything. The Society sent Ky to the outer providence, and Cassia is determined to find him. When the chance comes, she sneaks onto an air ship to be used as a decoy in a war against an unnamed enemy. However, Cassia and another girl, Indie, are soon able to escape, and they go on a dangerous trek through the Carving to search for Ky and the Rising.
Ky will fight for life and for his chance to find his way back to Cassia. When the society takes him back to the land of his childhood, he runs for the Carving. However, he is not alone. He has his friend Vick, a young boy named Eli, and an enemy chasing him. Ky knows the Society is his enemy, but are the inhabitants of the Carving enemies as well?
As Ky and Cassia search to find each other, the point of view changes back and forth between the two characters. Even though the top of each chapter is labeled with the character’s name, the characters’ voices aren’t distinct. Instead of hearing the characters, the reader only hears the author’s voice.
Unlike the first book, Crossed is not as suspenseful or enjoyable. The Society is clearly fighting an enemy; however, there is very little action. The reader only sees the fighting through the dead bodies left behind. Besides having little action, it is not clear who the enemy is or what they want, which makes it hard to decide if the enemy is someone to feel sympathy for or to hate.
Cassia gave up everything to find Ky—her family, her home, her place in society—yet Ky still doubts her love for him. Ky has a secret about Xander that he thinks will make Cassia reevaluate her love for both of them. He worries that she still loves Xander even though she has proven that she will go to any lengths to be with him. Instead of creating suspense, the love triangle feels forced.
In the end, Ky and Cassia must split up to make it to the Risings Camp. Even though Ky is only days behind Cassia, when he arrives he finds Cassia has joined the Rising and been sent back into the Society so she can help their cause. It seems unrealistic that Cassia would leave Ky after having risked everything to be with him. Instead of leaving the story with a satisfying ending, the author sets it up for another sequel.
- There are several scenes with kissing.
- Air ships come to kill the inhabitants. The deaths of the people are not described in detail.
- Ky teaches the Aberrations how to use gun powder in their guns. When the air ships come, they fight back. This is when Ky and two others decide to run to the canyons and try to escape. The fighting is not described in detail, but they hear the others scream.
- Ky thinks back to the time the air ships came and killed his entire village.
- Ky remembers how the Officials came to take him from Patrick and Aida. He had to be gagged. He remembers having, “blood in my mouth and under my skin in bruises waiting to show. Head down, hands locked behind me.”
- In the previous book, an Anomaly killed Ky’s cousin. His death is referred to, but the details are not discussed.
- An air ship sends bombs into a river, damming it. They then inject poison into the water. During this time, one of Ky’s friends is killed. “Whatever fell hit with such impact that it looked like it sent Vick flying; his neck was broken. He must have died instantly…I look at those empty eyes that reflect back the blue of the sky because there is nothing left of Vick himself.”
- One of the characters talks about how many people in his village have died. “People died that way. They dropped like stars.”
Drugs and Alcohol
- The teen and adult citizens must always carry a “tablet container,” which holds three pills. The green pill makes people feel calm.
- The society has told people that the blue pill gives nourishment if they need to go without food for some reason; however, it contains something that will, “stop you. If you take one, you’ll slow down and stay where you are until someone finds you or you die waiting. Two will finish you outright.”
- The red pill people only take when the government tells them to; the citizens do not know what it does, because it wipes people’s memories. They do not remember the last 12 hours of their day, which includes the part of them taking the pill.
- Xander stole blue pills to give to Cassia in the hopes that if she were hungry, she would be able to use the pills to survive.
- When Ky buries a body he thinks, “part of me wants to believe that the flood of death carries us someplace after all. That there’s someone to see at the end.”
- Ky and Cassia find a picture that they think shows angels. Ky said, “Some of the farmers still believed in them. In my father’s time anyway.”
- One of the characters recites a poem. “. . . They perished in the Seamless Grass-/No eye could find the place-/But God can summon every face/On his repealless-list.” He then goes on to say that some of the villagers believed in life after death; however, he does not.