Summary of Chapter 7
Ky gathers gun powder from fallen Enemy cylinders that didn’t explode completely. Vick asks him to stop, worrying that he’s going crazy and not wanting the other decoys to see. Vick then realizes that he’s doing it because he might be able to use it as ammo. Ky explains that the powder could be put into guns to turn them into grenades with the help of a fuse. He wants to teach the other decoys to make them when he and Vick makes a run for it in the Carving. Ky and Vick move away from the other decoys and debate whether to escape during enemy fire or not. They decide to go that night, regardless of the presence of fire.
When they return to the decoys, Ky is chilled to realize that many of them are humming the Anthem of the Society. Vick asks Ky about his real name, and Ky recalls that his last name before his adoption was Finnow. He tells Vick that it’s Markham, however, reasoning that that’s his real name now, the one that Cassia knows him by. Vick reveals that his last name is Roberts. Ky is saddened to see that the decoys have no purpose beyond gathering rocks to make gun grenades and waiting to die.
Summary of Chapter 8
On the air ship, the Official tells Cassia and the other girls that they’ll receive coats in the Outer Provinces, that they will be there to act like villagers to convince the Society that the villages of the Outer Provinces are still inhabited, and that after six months of this they will be returned home as Citizens. Cassia doesn’t believe a word they say. The girls are then brought behind a curtain one-by-one, stripped, searched, and given new plainclothes and a coat. Cassia fears that they’ll discover her hidden tablets, a fear that Indie notices. She confides that she has something to hide, too, and the two agree to harbor the other’s item when each gets searched. When it’s Cassia’s turn, she slips the tablets into Indie’s hand and goes through the search process. When she comes out, Indie slips Cassia’s tablets and her own hidden item into Cassia’s pocket and heads behind the curtain to be searched.
The girls are given minimal gear to help them survive once they land. Cassia tells Indie about the Sisyphus River and how it’s supposedly poisoned, to which Indie replies that you can’t really poison a river because it’s always moving and changing. Cassia thinks of how close she is to Ky by flying into the Outer Provinces and the thought makes her smile.
Summary of Chapter 9
Night has fallen over where Ky and the others are located. He and Vick have just finished showing the boys how to fire the newly armed guns. Vick receives a message on the miniport that a new shipment of recruits is being sent soon, these ones different than usual, and that any harm that comes to them will be met with punishment. Vick and Ky tacitly agree that the new recruits are “different” because they’re girls. When Ky muses that the Society probably used up all the Anomalies—criminals of the Society, lower in status even than Aberrations—as decoys, Vick swings at him and misses, and Ky retaliates with a punch to Vick’s stomach.
They come under Enemy fire then, and Ky immediately tells Eli to come with him and Vick. They run through the dark toward the Carving together, hearing the sounds of the other boys dying behind them. Eli hesitates, wanting to go back to help them, but Ky insists that they keep moving if they want to live. There is an enormous explosion behind them and they run for their lives. As they do, Ky recalls how he similarly ran toward the Carving years ago, when his village was bombed and his parents killed, but was quickly picked up by an air ship. He and another girl on board were given red tablets meant to make them forget what really killed their parents, but the tablet didn’t work on Ky. He had in his hand a paintbrush of his mother’s, which he lied to the Officials about finding randomly. They believed him but confiscated it.
Back in real time, Ky chooses a particular crack in the surface of the ground and the three head down into the canyon. A nearby bang scares them into moving more quickly. Vick thinks that it was someone who followed them getting shot. They pause for a brief moment, but then continue on deeper into the Carving, white ash falling on them like snow.
Summary of Chapter 10
Cassia disembarks the air ships and sees that Ky is not around. She observes the quiet, obedient male recruits already there and fights the urge to mentally sort them like data. When one of them tells the girls that they are there to die and have no weapons, many of the girls break down in hysterics, but Cassia expected this and remains strong. She announces to all the other decoys that she’s looking for Ky, to no response. She observes the boys again, trying not to sort but to see, and identifies one who has burned hands and black powder on his boots. She confirms with him that he knew Ky. When he tells her Ky is dead, she accuses him of lying. He leaves without telling her anything else.
Later, when everyone is eating their rations, Cassia bribes the boy with some of her food. He concedes to knowing Ky at a different camp and says Ky used to say poetry involving a Pilot over the dead. Cassia is surprised that Ky knew the Tennyson poem. The boy says that there was a bad firing the other night and Ky, Vick, and Eli ran off into the canyon. A fourth tried to follow them and was gunned down, which deterred other potential runners. Cassia bargains with the boy to run with her to the canyons in exchange for a gift. Indie agrees to go, too. They decide to do it that night.
When darkness falls, Indie slips away for a moment as the new recruits fear an impending attack. Cassia heads outside and finds Indie returning, glad that she didn’t run away. The boy comes and they run for the Carving. They run for miles and miles, stopping only briefly when they need to. They grow thirsty and begin to tire. They trip, fall, and bleed on occasion. Indie likens their trek to a marathon, explaining that at the end of the world, a man ran 26 miles to deliver a message and then immediately dropped dead. At one point, they smell burning and death in the air, and it keeps them going. Cassia begins saying the Tennyson poem to herself in rhythm with her footsteps.
At dawn, they finally reach the edge of the Carving. The boy says that he’s going to head into a different canyon than Cassia and Indie. Cassia protests, but when he insists, she gives him the blue tablets as promised. He laughs at them and declines, but then reconsiders and takes two before running off. Indie observes how the Carving looks like the painting Cassia kept at the work site, Chasm of the Colorado. As they head down into it, Cassia recalls learning about the skeleton in her body in school, the blood and marrow inside the bones, and realizes how little she knows of what the earth contains. They head into the canyon to escape the dangerously revealing sunlight.
Summary of Chapter 11
Ky, Vick, and Eli trek through the canyon. They see many signs of life, none of them human. Ky wonders what happened to all the Anomalies that used to populate the area. They walk along a stream, which Ky recalls his father used to walk in to avoid making footprints, although it’s too cold for them to try that now. On their third morning in the canyon, they inspect their coats and discover that there are wires woven into them, one set for a warming device, and the other for a microcard monitoring their bodies, collecting data on them to be retrieved once they die. They realize that that was why the Officer ordered them to remove the coat of the boy they put in the river in Chapter 1. Ky removes the microcard from his and Vick’s suit, but Eli decides to leave his in. Ky uses some nearby tree sap to patch his torn coat back together.
Ky muses that he doesn’t think the Society will ever conquer death. He thinks about the rebellion, about how he’s always known about it but never told Cassia, although he came close the day he told her about Sisyphus. When he saw her reading the Tennyson poem from her compact in the woods, he realized that the poem was not of the Rising, but a poem that existed long before. He decided not to tell Cassia about its connection to the rebellion because it would’ve invaded their time together the way the Society was trying to do. As he thinks about this, he, Vick, and Eli come across the remains of climbing gear that some Anomalies used to scale the rocks.
Summary of Chapter 12
Cassia searches for signs of Ky or the Rising in the canyon, finding neither. She and Indie fill their canteens in a small stream. Cassia is concerned that they’re in the wrong canyon entirely. Indie finds an old wasp’s nest on the ground and puts it in her bag. They momentarily consider heading back out and trying a different canyon, but having already been moving ahead for nearly 24 hours, they decide to further pursue their current direction.
That night, Cassia tries again to write a poem for Ky, managing only a single line. Indie complains of hunger, but when Cassia offers her a blue tablet, she declines it. Cassia herself has been holding off on taking one for many reasons: the boy they ran to the canyon with didn’t want them, she wants to give some to Ky when she finds him, and perhaps most importantly, she wants to follow her grandfather’s encouragement to be stronger than needing the tablets that the Society wants people to rely on, the way she fought to be in Matched with her green tablet. Instead of the blue tablet, she eventually identifies some edible plants for her and Indie to snack on.
Cassia begins writing in the dirt as she thinks of lines for her poem. Indie is surprised that she knows how to write. She asks Cassia why she’s an Aberration. Hesitant to lie to her, Cassia answers vaguely and honestly that she caused it herself, which is true now that she has escaped from her decoy position: when the Society finds this out, she’ll lose her Citizenship. Indie confesses that her mother caused her Aberration status by working for years to carve a boat out of an old tree and using it to escape into the ocean. She was quickly picked up by an air ship and charged with an Infraction. When she told Indie and Indie’s father what she’d done, the Society gave them all red tablets to make them forget. It was then that Indie realized that the red tablets don’t work on her. Cassia is curious to know if she’s immune, too. She and Indie discuss knowing about the Rising. Indie recites a set of phrases, claiming that her mother used to say them to her every night before she went to sleep. She compares it to the poem Cassia recited as they were running and helps Cassia realize that she’s not only looking for Ky, she’s looking for the rebellion as well. They decide to try climbing up one of the canyon walls and search in another. Cassia begins her poem in the sand again, finally writing two lines instead of one.
Analysis of Chapters 7-12
Chapter 7 shows a chilling moment of irony when Ky observes the decoy recruits humming the Anthem of the Society as they gather gunpowder and rocks. Even though their government has manufactured them a death sentence under the facade of nationalistic loyalty, and even though they’re aware of it and can do nothing about it, they are still left knowing only songs that glorify it. They gather gunpowder to help defend themselves against an attack that the Society has put them in harm’s way of, and as they do they can’t help but sing praise to the Society.
The reader is privy to a key fact about Ky in Chapter 7: his real last name used to be Finnow. Ky’s refusal to share this fact with Vick or generally to acknowledge Finnow as his surname anymore demonstrates that he’s left his past life behind him, the life he lived with his family in the Outer Provinces. His statement that he prefers Markham because it’s the name by which Cassia knows him illustrates how powerfully he feels connected to her and how much of his new life she represents to him. His lie to Vick about his real name also represents a trust imbalance between the two. As far as the reader knows, Vick was honest in telling Ky his last name, so to have Ky respond dishonestly suggests that there are things he isn’t comfortable sharing with Vick, a slope that could cause him to hide other things down the road.
Conversely, a trust is established between Indie and Cassia aboard the airship to the Outer Provinces. Cassia’s blue tablets would’ve been discovered during her strip search, possibly landing her—and potentially Xander—in serious trouble. However, Indie comes to the rescue and not only helps conceal the tablets from the Officials, but also reveals that she has something of her own to hide. This puts her and Cassia on equal footing, and in choosing to help one another, creates the conditions for a bond between the two.
It’s a moment of dramatic irony when Ky and Vick learn that they will be receiving female recruits soon and then are forced to escape into the Carving during a firing just after. Had a firing not occurred, or had they chosen not to escape it, Ky and Cassia may well have reunited much sooner than either of them anticipated. Instead, by fleeing the camp site with Vick and Eli, Ky in fact considerably distances himself from Cassia without knowing it.
Vick and Ky’s momentary fight when Ky’s muses about the deaths of all the Anomalies can be thought of as a moment of foreshadowing. Vick’s sudden violence suggests a strong, previously unrevealed personal stake in the well-being of the Anomalies that has yet to be revealed, a notion that later proves true (see the Summary and Analysis of Chapter 17).
Ky, Vick, and Eli’s revelation that their coats are keeping them warm as well as monitoring their vital signs and recording them on microcards for post-mortem retrieval represents a cool irony: they are relying on something the Society created to survive in the unpredictable temperatures of the Carving, but in doing so they’re allowing the Society to do what they always want to—collect data on everything and everyone. Ky’s decision to cut his microcard out of his jacket shows his direct disapproval of this, whereas Vick and Eli’s decision to leave theirs in suggests that they aren’t specifically averse to this kind of data collection in the same regard.
Indie makes an important point in Chapter 12 that Cassia is not necessarily searching only for Ky, but for the Rising as well. This notion echoes much of what has led Cassia to where she is so far. Her love for Ky is a factor, to be sure, but so is the meaning of her choice of his love more broadly: that she wishes to break free of the Society’s hold. From the time her grandfather gave her the two poems before his death, she has been on the path of a rebel with a great cause. Indie mentioning it now only emboldens Cassia’s (perhaps subconscious) dual-goal of finding both Ky and the solution to her inability to be with him the way she wants.