11 October 2012

Review: Matched by Ally Condie

Matched (Matched #1) by Ally Condie

Published: 30 November 2010 by Dutton Juvenile

Pages: 366 (hardcover)

Genre/s: YA, Dystopian

Source: Own library

Check it Out: Goodreads ~ Amazon ~ Amazon UK ~ The Book Depository

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.


My Thoughts

I'm going to be blunt - I didn't have high expectations going into Matched. It's a book that I've had half an eye on since its publication in 2010, but as it obviously contained a love-triangle I was pretty wary. I think that wariness actually helped me to enjoy it far more than I would have if I had been eagerly anticipating it.

I liked that Cassia wasn't a 'typical' dystopian heroine. She is essentially a good girl, who follows the rules and looks forward to the rest of her life living under the rules and care of the Society. As the book progresses, she begins to question the things she sees happening around her, and starts a quiet rebellion of her own.

One (huge) part of Matched that I didn't really understand was Cassia's inital attraction to Ky. Later on in the book it does become apparent that they are pretty suited to each other, and he is an intriguing character, but to begin with Ky is just a guy she knows but falls hard for pretty much without good reason.

The world-building of Matched is pretty solid. Whether this is an original idea or one borrowed from a plethora of other dystopians is debatable, but it was certainly believable for the most part. I can understand how some readers may question the seemingly robotic cooperation of the citizens, but there are glimpses of how the Society deals with rebellion or those that question their ways. The idea of food being controlled so strictly, of euthenasia for citizens of a certain age, the 'matching' of teenagers with genetically compatible partners and the strictly regimed work, school and recreational time are fascinating and I couldn't find many obvious cracks in the story.

One part that I found particularly intriguing was the fact that people no longer knew how to hand-write. It sounded odd at first that they could type, but not write, until I got to thinking about how difficult I find it to hand-write neatly after years of using keyboards - when I was younger I could neatly handwrite pages and pages, but now I struggle to write a neat post-it. The Society have banned any and all writing implements, so without pen and paper to experiment with, I found it completely plausible that people would forget, and then not know, how to actually write.

Ms. Condie's writing is quite lyrical in places, and the inclusion of poetry is a nice touch.

Matched certainly isn't an action-packed, danger-loving dystopian. It's more a thoughtful, at times poetic, almost-Utopia both in terms of the plot, the world-building and the pacing. This one didn't blow my mind but it did entertain me, and certainly made me think.


10 comments:

  1. I think Cassia latched onto Ky because of the glitch, but ended up really falling for him because of his heart. I loved the emotional connections in this book. I can't remember much else about it, and have continued the series yet. One day...

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    Replies
    1. That's a good point - that kind of thinking was just over-ridden by my confusion!

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  2. Meh, I was mostly meh about this one. I only made it through like a page of the next one. Condie's writing style doesn't work for me at all.

    I definitely think the world building is a combination of other dystopias, with an insanely huge helping of The Giver.

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    1. Yep, not liking her style is pretty much going to screw this up for anyone.

      I've never read The Giver, but the synopsis is enough of a clue it's part of the inspiration.

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  3. I still haven't started this one and I borrowed it from the library weeks ago but haven't worked up the urge to read it. It seems like I'm not missing much so I'll probably just return it and borrow it later.
    Nice review Kate :)
    -Kimberly @ Turning the Pages

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    1. There's many better dystopians around - this is a good 'mindless' read.

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  4. Ugh I absolutely hate it when there is insta-love happening in the book and it makes zero sense to me what the hell the broad sees in the guy. I went to a signing this author was part of and heavily debated buying this series, I'm happy I didn't. This doesnt sound like something I'd enjoy. Thanks for sharing the great review (and for making up my mind for me!)

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    Replies
    1. Insta-love AND a triangle. Just. Too. Much.

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  5. Hmmm. I still can't decide if I want to read this one or not. =/

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    Replies
    1. It's like the dystopian equivalent of chick lit.

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