Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Matched by Ally Condie

Title: Matched
Author: Ally Condie
Publisher: Dutton
Hardcover, 366 pages
Date Published: November 30, 2010
Description (Taken from 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.
Cassia has always stuck by the rules, has always lived by the standards of her Society. So when her Matching Banquet arrives and she’s matched with her best friend Xander, she couldn’t be happier. But when Xander’s face disappears and another boy’s flickers on the screen, Cassia’s world is thrown into a tilt. Soon she’s questioning everything she knows and falling in love with a boy who isn’t her match. She’s defying the Society that she once trusted…all for love.

Matched has a really great premise and an interesting society, but I think the execution falls flat at times. The book starts off well enough with an eager Cassia and a super sweet Xander, but then it gets kind of boring. For a good chunk of the beginning/middle of the book, I had no clue where the story was going. Even after Cassia starts hanging out with Ky (the other boy on the screen), the plot seems directionless.

Once Cassia and Ky begin to grow close and Ky’s history slowly gets revealed, the book picks up and the purpose becomes more and more clear. Learning Ky’s history and how he is so different from all the other people in Cassia’s world is one of the things that kept me reading. That, and Cassia’s grandfather and how he really starts to peel back the blindfold that she seemingly wears. Discovering just how far this Society will go to ‘protect’ its people is a bit terrifying.

Ally Condie’s writing is almost languid and dreamy throughout the book, which is so contrasting to all the things she isn’t saying. Condie’s writing is beautiful, but this Society isn’t. All this makes Matched very much a thinking book. Condie’s inclusion of poetry works so well in the story too. She places the perfect poems, the perfect lines, and the perfect emotions at just the right spot, so the reader understands and feels the weight of Cassia’s circumstances. Dylan Thomas is the underlying soundtrack to the book and his words, along with Grandfather, emanate the unease that lingers below Society’s surface.

While Matched was not my favorite book, it is a good opener in a series. The way the book ended isn’t really a cliffhanger, but it promises a really interesting future. Crossed comes out later this year and I will be picking it up because I’m more than curious to see where things go from here.

Opening line: Now that I’ve found the way to fly, which direction should I go into the night? ~ pg. 3

Favorite lines: And when she asks me what I’m doing, I’ll tell her and everyone else that I know: they are giving us pieces of a real life instead of the whole thing. And I’ll tell her that I don’t want my life to be samples and scraps. A taste of everything but a meal of nothing. ~ pg. 249
*This review is my honest opinion and I received no monetary compensation from it.

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Elodie said...

Great review !! I really liked Matched though the romance wasn't that great and it was kinda slow sometimes .. But I loved the dystopian side of the novel !! =)

Bere said...

Excellent review, Nikki! Matched sounds really interesting. I have read some mixed reviews though. But I would definitely like to give this one a chance. The cover is really great, isn't? Love the green. Thanks so much, Nikki! =D

Alyssa@Teens Read and Write said...

Definitely a slower dystopian. Great review!

Justine said...

Gah, I want Matched so, so bad! The first line sounds really good. It would make me continue reading, definitely. Thanks for the book trailer; I'm surprised I haven't seen it before!

~The Book Pixie said...

It's kind of refreshing to see a review that isn't absolutely raving about this book. I'm glad to see you still liked it though and I'm looking forwad to readng it. :)


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