Sunday, January 30, 2011

Matched by Ally Condie -Review

Last night, I finished reading Matched by Ally Condie. This book is the first of a trilogy.

Matched is a dystopian novel that takes place in a world where the Society decides everything for the people. The Society tells its people when and what they will eat, what they will wear, where they will live, what job they will have, who they will marry, and when they will die. They have also reduced all the art in the world to the 100 songs, 100 poems, 100 paintings, and 100 stories. The Society claims that they have made everyone's lives perfect because they have simplified everything and chosen the best things for them.

Cassia believes in the Society and dreams of having a perfect life with the boy she is about to be Matched to. When she sees on the screen at the Matching ceremony that her Match is Xander, her childhood friend, she couldn't be more happy. But later, when she goes to read more about Xander, something goes wrong. For a moment, she sees a different face on the screen. She knows this boy, Ky, too. The Society tells her that it was a mistake, but now Cassia can't get Ky off of her mind. Her growing love for him and a secret her grandfather gives her drive her to begin questioning the choices made for her and those around her. She will have to choose whether she goes along with what the Society has planned for her, or if she will go against everything in her world and make her own choices in her life.

This is a beautiful story about words, stories, choice, remembering, and love. Poetry played a large role in Matched, and sometimes the writing itself seemed almost poetic. I really liked this book's story, characters, and that it made me think.

Through this book, we see how dull and empty life would be without choices, and yet we must be responsible for every choice we make. We see the power of words (particularly poetry and stories in this case) and how, once they're in you, they take hold and draw out ideas that can change everything forever. And we see what risks love is willing to take and how it protects even when it is wounded or doesn't understand.

I could envision the world that Cassia lived in and I liked the way that the author chose to describe things. Like I said, there were times that it felt poetic. The characters were all unique and I think I came to love all of them for different aspects of their personalities. Yes, I even liked the "bad guys" a bit. The way that the Society worked was filled with detail. It seemed like the author had thought of just about everything. When I read this book, it felt like I was in that world with those characters, and that's what I love about reading.

I wasn't too surprised by most of the twists in the story, but it took me long enough before I caught on that I still enjoyed it. *SPOILER WARNING* I figured out early on the reveal about how the elderly die. Other times, I figured things out just pages before they were revealed, like where Ky and the other workers were being sent. *END SPOILER WARNING*

There were a few times that I noticed inconsistencies. These mostly had to do with a character suddenly knowing the name for something that they didn't know before. Thankfully, the inconsistencies were not big problems and didn't occur too often.

My favorite character was Ky. I loved the way he told stories and his quiet bravery. But even though he was my favorite, I liked both Xander and Cassia quite a lot as well. Usually in a book that has two love interests for the girl, I come to love one and despise the other. But in Matched, I like both Ky and Xander. I have my preference for who should get Cassia (Ky), but I'd actually love to see both guys happy in the end.

One of my favorite quotes from the book:

"Is falling in love with someone's story the same thing as falling in love with the person himself?"

I recommend this book to anyone who loves dystopian stories, science fiction, poetry, romance, or something that makes them think.

You can find out even more about Matched by visiting the book's official website or Ally Condie's website.

Becca Johnson


Anonymous said...

Well written, have you thought about being a writer yourself? Wait, you are! Sounds like another twist on Huxley or Orwell, two of my favorite writers in my youth. I think I should like to read this story.

Becca Johnson said...

Thank you! :D I should read some of their stuff. And I agree that you should read Matched. :D It's great.