Monday, October 10, 2011

Book Review: Matched

Author: Ally Condie
Publisher: Dutton Juvenile
Series: Matched #1
Release Date: November 30, 2010
Pages: 384
Read it in: 1.5 days
Source: The library

Summary: 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.

LC's Take:

I feel a teeny-tiny bit sorry for Matched, because I read it in the wake of other amazing YA dystopians such as The Hunger Games, Wither and Divergent. Now, that is not to say that I didn't like it, or that it was a disappointment-- because it wasn't! Only that, it somewhat lacked the brilliance of other novels in this genre. It wasn't heart-stoppingly amazing, but I did like it. In fact, I liked it enough that I read it in 2 sittings, which is almost unheard of for me (I'm a slow reader!).

Cassia Maria Reyes is 17 years old and every aspect of her life has already been planned out for her by the trusted Officials of "The Society." Rules and regulations shape every aspect of her life, and Cassia has never questioned or deviated from them. Everything is safe and perfect, and there is no pain, suffering or sadness. That is, until a glitch in the system matches her with two different guys-- Xander, her best friend, and Ky, a mysterious boy from the Outer Provinces whom she knows little about.

I loved seeing Cassia's character develop as I read this story. Through her Grandfather's poems, Ky's stories, and her own observations, Cassia begins to think for herself and realize that everything she has always passively accepted as truth is actually false. And as Cassia slowly starts to think independently from what the Society has always told her to believe, she also starts to find her own identity along the way. I loved that Cassia finally realized that she needed to live her life according to her own terms and no one else's.

The romance between Cassia and Ky was very touching and beautiful, and I loved seeing their relationship slowly build over the course of the novel. Even though it's secret and forbidden, you just can't help but wish against everything that they will end up together! The romance is thankfully free of teen angst or mushy love scenes- everything was genuine and sweet. 

Ally Condie really did a fantastic job of creating a world that seems perfect, but clearly has something very dark and disturbing lurking under the surface. The plot itself did lack the same amount of heart-pounding action as The Hunger Games or Divergent, but in it's quieter way Matched still had it's own appeal.

Unfortunately, some parts of this book did seem slightly formulaic (yup, there's a big ol' love triangle)-- and I thought some things were reminiscent of other dystopian books I've already read (The Giver-- almost everyone else has said the same thing). Also, I felt like we were left in the dark about a lot of things, and I wish that more history and context had been explained. What lead to the Society being created in the first place? What year does this story take place in? Who are the people fighting the system? Who are the people actually in charge and what does the structure of the Society look like? Is there a president or leader? What exactly is the war about and who are they fighting against? These are things that seemed frustratingly vague and wishy-washy to me, and I hope we get to hear more about them in the next books!

In many ways, Matched was a good story that kept me reading. However, there were also things that I found to be lacking, and even though this probably isn't fair, it was hard not to compare it to other books in the YA dystopian genre. Overall it was still very readable and entertaining, and I think that the story it tells was both beautiful and thought-provoking.

LC's Rating:
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In its own quieter way, Matched takes a place among other YA dystopian novels. While I found it to be touching and beautiful in some aspects, I wish that there had been more world-building and action. Other than that, this was still a great story!

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13 comments:

  1. I really liked Matched, too. Hopefully in Crossed we'll see some more action as Cassia searches for Ky. And I'm looking forward to more history on The Society. I think Matched was a great first book, and hopefully the sequel will be able to fill us in later.

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  2. Great review! I just put this on hold at my library to give it a go. [: Glad you enjoyed it.

    Erin @ Let's Evaluate

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  3. This is a book I did not expect to like. It's not really my thing and I honestly only got it from the library to see what the fuss is about. But I ended up enjoying it! Awesome review :)

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  4. I'm beginning to wonder if the order in which you read these similar dystopians makes a difference. It seems like the more I read, the more I get picky about the story. Matched was one of the first ones I read, so I didn't have a lot to compare it to, and really enjoyed it. Great thoughts!

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  5. I just finished the second book in this series and you get to learn a little bit more about the world and all the rules and stuff in that one.

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  6. I felt similarly about Matched. I enjoyed it and found it very readable, but it failed to take off from 'like' into 'love'. I'll read the rest of the series, though.

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  7. I had the same problem! I couldn't help BUT compare it to other dystopian romances in my head, even though I enjoyed the story for the most part.
    Great review though! I agree with many of your points; it really is an enjoyable book.

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  8. I really really enjoyed this series but I agree that the whole love triangle thing was really annoying. I didn't really like Ky much and was cheering for the best friend to be her match.

    http://deadtreesandsilverscreens.blogspot.com

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  9. Great review! I read Matched before Wither came out, and I haven't read Divergent yet, but I had already read The Hunger Games and Delirium when I read Matched. I didn't compare it too much to other dystopian novels, mostly because I hadn't read very many, but now that I've read more, it'll be hard for me to read the rest of this series and not compare it to those other novels. Overall, though, I really liked Matched, and I can't wait to see what happens in Crossed.

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  10. So I have this one on my reader but I've hesitant to read it. I loved The Hunger Games but though Divergent was good but not spectacular. If you think Divergent is better than this one, I might just have to skip. Still thinking about it.

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  11. that's exactly how I felt about this book: It ws good, and i loved it, but in comparison to others....

    Still, I'm pretty excited about getting my hands on the next installment.

    ALSO: stopped by to let you know me and the girls @ PiF have nominated you as a Versatile Blogger recipient. :) Congrats!
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  12. Hey did you get the email with my address for the arc of Glow? havent got it yet.

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  13. I enjoyed Matched but I agree...it fell a little short for me after having read The Hunger Games and Divergent right before starting this one as well. I'm hoping that the plot will kick it up a notch in the second book!

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