Monday, January 30, 2012

Review: Matched by Ally Condie

Matched
Author: Ally Condie
Series: Matched, #1
Synopsis (goodreads): Cassia has always trusted the Society to make the right choices for her: what to read, what to watch, what to believe. So when Xander's face appears on-screen at her Matching ceremony, Cassia knows with complete certainty that he is her ideal mate... until she sees Ky Markham's face flash for an instant before the screen fades to black.

The Society tells her it's a glitch, a rare malfunction, and that she should focus on the happy life she's destined to lead with Xander. But Cassia can't stop thinking about Ky, and as they slowly fall in love, Cassia begins to doubt the Society's infallibility and is faced with an impossible choice: between Xander and Ky, between the only life she's known and a path that no one else has dared to follow.

Review

Matched is the first dystopian novel that I haven't immediately started comparing to the Hunger Games, which I believe is rather big accomplishment, for both the author and myself. Ally Condie has created a world so enticing that you can't help but wonder what lies beneath the seemingly perfect Society. The Officials of the Society have created a perfect world in which people can live a very successful, fulfilling, healthy, and happy life, in which the citizens are Matched according to who they are most compatible. They are matched using data and knowledge. Everything in the Society is about knowledge and how to best sustain life in a peaceful and healthy manner. The Society has developed a way to keep it's citizens happy in a way that also keeps them from rebelling. They have designated hours for certain things, such as leisure hours, school hours, work hours, activity hours, exercise hours. The Officials collect data on everything, even dreams. They have selected a certain amount of songs, poems, and histories to preserve from before the Society was created; all the rest is destroyed. There are curfews, people aren't allowed in each others houses, they must meet in public, writing is practically obsolete. Few know how to use their hands for writing words; everyone uses computers now. If you are caught with something you aren't supposed to have, such as an unregistered artifact, you will be cited or will end up with an Infraction (which you don't want). The smallest thing can cause an Infraction: running down the street, falling for an Aberration. All of these rules are there to keep peace among the citizens.

When the story begins, our main character Cassia Reyes is on her way to her Matching Ceremony. Most likely, she will be matched with a complete stranger, someone she doesn't even know, who could live in a completely different Province. But as luck would have it, Cassia is Matched with her best friend, Xander, and she couldn't be happier. She falls asleep that night with a smile on her face hoping to see him in her dreams.

The next morning she enters her microcard into the port to get another look and Xander. Those who are matched with strangers use these cards to learn about their matches, but Cassia just wants to see her matches face before she has to go to work. But something unexpected happens. The screen goes blank and another face appears. The face of a boy she knows. The face of Ky Markham. And suddenly she feels as if her world has caved in. Who is her true match? Surely it can't be a mistake? The Society doesn't make mistakes.

Matched follows the journey of a girl who struggles to discover what is right and what is wrong. The Society has engrained in her mind an image of a perfect world where everyone is at peace with themselves and the things around them, but once she gets to know this other boy who could have been "the one" in another life, she begins to realize that things are definitely not what they seem. And the Society just might be more corrupt than she ever could have imagined. And falling in love with someone other than her Match was something she never thought possible.

What I loved about Matched is that it was slow in uncovering the underlying violence and corruption of the government. You get a glimpse of the world as Cassia sees it: perfect. All she knows is peace and number and sorting. She lives in a world of technology and data. She's never seen heartbreak or violence or anything but the small little town and seeming perfect lives. But she's very smart. That is revealed in the very beginning. She's just never had the tools to use that intelligence. Throughout the book she discovers so many things all at once that it becomes suffocating. The weight of it all threatens to crack her under pressure. The only life she's ever known is crumbling, yet she continues to find strength in little things, like stolen moments, stolen words, learning to write with her hands instead of a keyboard. It's all so captivating.

What I didn't like is that we didn't get a chance to see her relationship with Xander before the Match. You never really get much of a chance to know him and who he is and why exactly he was supposed to be Cassia's match (other than Ky). I'm hoping in that in Crossed we see much more of him. Even though I'm a Ky fan, I'd like to get to know his competition a little better.

This story has tons of romance and is very well written. It will captivate you and leave you wanting more. I can't wait to get my hands on Crossed and read more about Cassia, Ky and Xander.


I rate this book:


3 comments:

  1. Haah I used to compare them all to HUnger Games too and then just gave up because, HG is epic! I still haven't read this one though and I'm a bit wary of it due to all the mixed opinions but I'm definitely curious and you do make it sound pretty awesome!!

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    Replies
    1. I was wary of reading it as well for the same reasons, but I rather enjoyed it. I'm not very picky though. Most books if I get into reading them, I tend to enjoy them if they have a good storyline. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

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  2. I'm one of the few who haven't read Matched. Like Giselle, the mixed reviews have me wary, but I'm glad to see you enjoyed it. There seems to be a lot of great underlying themes: romance, corruption, betrayal. I'll definitely have to reconsider and check this book out sooner rather than later.

    Kristan @ Lost Amongst the Shelves

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