Ally Condie's Matched
Written: Mar 22, 2012 (Updated Mar 22, 2012)
a Very Helpful Review
by the Epinions community
Pros:Great characters, wonderful writing
Cons:Light on the action, too much focus on building towards the next book
The Bottom Line:
While not the most original book, “Matched” is an exciting love story that grips with interesting characters and great storytelling
For some reason, I find myself continually drawn into reading what would be considered “young adult” material. It led to my love of all things pertaining to “The Hunger Games”, and such seemingly uncharacteristic interest is what led me to the doorstep of “Matched.” While I didn’t expect to like it as much as I did, I read the entire book from cover to cover in one night, which should express how much I enjoyed it.
Written by Ally Condie, the book is set in a dystopian future where everyone’s choices are predetermined by the Society. What you eat, what you can read, what job you have, even who you will marry…every decision is pre-determined by the ruling authorities. They have decided (and most seem to agree) that people will be happier with less free will getting in the way and messing things up.
Such is life for 17-year-old Cassia Reyes, who is perfectly satisfied with the life that the Society has provided for her. She has a great family, good friends, and a bright future ahead of her. At the Matching Ceremony set to determine her perfect partner, her best friend Xander Carrow’s name is called, seemingly ensuring her future happiness. But when she is provided a microchip with the vital stats of her match, she is stunned to see not just Xander’s face appear, but that of her neighbor Ky Markham as well.
Cassia embarks on a journey to determine the cause of the glitch, each step of the way shaking her faith in the infallible Society and its choices for her life. As she grows to know more about Ky, she begins to wonder if it really was a mistake that his face appeared or if he really is her perfect match. More importantly, what will the Society do if she tries to be with him?
There is quite a bit to enjoy in the book, as I thoroughly enjoyed both the writing style of the author and the depth of the characters that she is creating here. A good deal of time is spent focused on giving life not only to Cassia, but also to her family and friends. It is nice when books involve characters rather than caricatures, and that is a definite strength of Condie’s writing.
Those looking for an action-oriented ride like “The Hunger Games” provides will be disappointed, as the focus here is clearly on Cassia and her relationships with Xander and Ky. The struggles that Cassia encounters are largely internal, though the impediments placed on her by the controlling Society are fully in the mind of the reader. Still, it doesn’t take away from the book just because it is more of a love story than an action story as long as you know what you are walking into beforehand. I fear that some readers will be turned off merely because they are trying too much to associate the two books to each other merely because of the similarly styled love triangles.
The book, while engaging, isn’t without its flaws. Most of the second half of the book feels like it is building up towards to the second book in the trilogy (which I’ve yet to read), which is disappointing for those hoping to get a fuller story out of the book they have in their hands. Also, there just isn’t enough information provided about the Society and what is going on outside its friendly confines for my liking, as you are expected to take for granted that things aren’t good on the Outer Provinces, but you are given literally no information whatsoever about them. I’m sure it is something that will be delved into in the later books, but it would be nice to have more context about some of the larger mysteries.
Overall, even with the flaws “Matched” is still a very interesting read that has me intrigued to see what happens next. With wonderful prose and well developed characters, the story will grab you and keep you enthralled from start to finish. I know I’m going to be headed to Amazon to order “Crossed” immediately.
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