Matched || Ally Condie || Dystopia || 369 pages || Dutton Juvenile || 3.72 on 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.
To put it simply: I was expecting more from this book. I’ve heard some good things about it and then some bad things about the next two, but, overall, I was quite excited to finally get to it. Sadly, it didn’t do much for me and was part of the reason I’m in the middle of a huge reading slump. I made it a 1/3 of the way but I had to give up.
We open up the trilogy with our main character, Cassia, attending one of, if not the, most important event of her life: her Match Banquet. Everything is perfect – and that’s what bothered me. I’m not talking about the world because the whole point of this dystopian society is that it is perfection (or as close to it as you can get). What I mean is that the whole situation of the first 50 pages is too perfect. ‘I’m the only one in the green dress. The Match Banquet is on my birthday. I’m one of the few people to have an artifact. Everyone is so jealous of me.’ It just felt so unrealistic and that is a turn off for me if that is what is coming across in the first 50 pages. In addition, it’s really what fueled my hate for Cassia.
My dislike for the main character was too great to keep going. I found that she loved pretty things too much and I just couldn’t connect with that. Sometimes, she also came off as narrow-minded and that’s a huge turn off. Most importantly, I found that she was a hypocrite and I did not agree with her distribution of blame in any way. If I cannot relate to the main character like this, that is always a problem.
The writing wasn’t anything that interested me. It wasn’t bad, it was just really simple and didn’t grab my attention in the slightest. I guess you could argue that it’s done intentionally because the citizens of this dystopian lead a very simple life and aren’t able to be creative with their descriptions et cetera. In that case the author should have considered telling the story in third person. Anything to make me want to keep reading.
I guess you could say I liked how the book showed influence of authority. Their whole society is based on having people with power deciding and therefore controlling ‘lesser’ citizens, people that lack the knowledge and so willingly put their total faith into those in charge. I liked how we got to see the before as well as the after moments when Cassia was matched and how that changed the way she looked at the world and the people around them purely because she wholeheartedly trusted the society with her life. There are always good themes mixed in dystopian fiction and this was one of them.
Overall, I liked the idea of this world and this society however I had too many problems with the execution of it. You have the be very original with dystopian fiction because there is a basic pattern to the storyline that books like The Hunger Games and Divergent follow and although I thought the world had a good idea behind it, it didn’t grab my attention enough for me to finish the book.
However, I would recommend this to any newbies in the dystopian genre. It’s a very simple world and an easy read so if someone was finding that they don’t want to jump into the more popular worlds, this is the book for you.