One of the main things I loved about this one was the dystopian world building. It was your semi-typical dystopian world but I thought the Society was well fleshed out and really liked the idea that the different locations specialized in different categories. I also liked that you had free range to move between the different locations even though this was less than ideal. It was a nice change from the typical "You are born here, you will die here unless we move you to a new location" that you see in dystopian young adult fiction. I also liked that the characters used this to their advantage to figure out a way to beat the system and be able to decide what to do. This was a big plus for me.
I also really liked the romance. It was there continuously from day one because the whole series revolves around the idea that each individual is matched with someone from society to marry and reproduce with. Except that Cassia is matched with two people, Ky and Xander. I liked both of them equally to be honest and while I am usually not a fan of love triangles, I thought this series wrote one that I was actually rooting for. It had some of the typical elements: Best Friend You've Known Forever vs Mysterious Bad Boy but the two guys weren't trying to steal Cassia away from one another. They both let her grow and make her own decisions about who she wants to be with, but it was never really a choice for Cassia.
And at the same time, each of the guys had another person who was interested in them but that never made Cassia into a catty bitch who backstabbed and slut-shamed them. She was rooting for them to find their own happiness in whatever way they needed to. It was also refreshing that Xander and Ky were friends and helped each other out when it came to Cassia. Xander never acted jealous or petty towards Ky and Cassia because he realized that Cassia's happiness should come first if he really loved her and I thought that was beautiful.
One of my biggest *heart eyes* goes to the fact that everything was blurred in this: the rebels and society were so intertwined that it was pretty easy for one to be cast out and the other to take control. But at the same time Cassia realizes that it really doesn't feel any different to have the rebels leading society over the original government. It was so well done and so different that I was blown away with how much I loved it. And the fact that neither the Societal government or the Uprising government could handle the disease as well as they could was just so realistic. It was nice to see that everyone in power positions were lying about what was happening and the consequences of this. I thought it was so interesting to see that everyone just wanted the power for the sake of having the power rather than really making a change because that is how it actually is sometimes.
(Another good example of this is in Mockingjay: Katniss having PTSD because that was just FLAWLESS and so edgy)
The best part of this series to me was the fact that while all this is happening, Cassia is focusing on creating new things. She starts a new type of "museum" where people can bring their own creations so that music, poetry, and the arts can live on. This was literally the best thing that Ally could have done to make me love the book. While this novel started out with limitation on what the people knew, saw, and heard, both Cassia and Ky were part of the rebels that wanted to expand knowledge and creativity through the arts. I loved this. I loved that Cassia was so focused on poetry and expansion of the creative aspects of society because it showed that even in the face of adversity and destruction, there will always be those who are willing to grow. I just get shivers thinking about it.
Yes, there were some nit-picky things that I didn't like, such as the fact that Cassia was kind of whiny in Crossed and that there seemed to be a bit of an easy wrap up to the entirety of the series. Honestly, I can overlook those because of how amazing the rest of the overlying story is. I loved the different themes that Ally used and I was such a huge fan of Cassia and Ky that I could overlook the parts that I wish didn't happen because I knew the overarching theme, plot, and world building were enough for me to love this series. I do hope you guys give it a chance and if you have already read it and didn't like it, then please know I do understand why some people may not like it.