Title: Matched (Matched Series, #1)
Author: Ally Condie
Released: November 30, 2010
Genre: dystopia, science fiction
Pages: 366 (U.S./Canada paperback)
Publisher: Dutton Juvenile
Rating: 7.3/10 (Good)
"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 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."(less)
The dystopia trend in YA fiction right now is going at full speed, and publishers are churning out dystopian novels like there's no tomorrow. Matched by Ally Condie naturally had a lot of hype surrounding it (Look at that cover! Just look at it!) and was rumoured to be one of the best YA dystopian novels in years.
My expectations for this book weren't high in the first place; I knew better than to believe the hype created by publishing companies (shame on you for getting my hopes up all the time!). But hey, Matched exceeded my expectations! The book had quite a few flaws, but it was enjoyable at the same time.
My favourite thing about the novel was the narrator/female lead, Cassia. She's such a refreshing heroine because she's mentally tough without being hard or closed off to family and friends. In fact, she has a great relationship with family and friends in the novel. She's generally polite, intelligent, and likable (which is less common in YA than you'd think it'd be). Most of the background characters are well developed. I also enjoyed Ally Condie's writing style, which was smooth and enjoyable to read.
Because this is a dystopian novel, setting is crucial to the success of the story. Unfortunately, Condie's world development of the Society just didn't do it for me. The dystopia just wasn't well developed enough. Some elements of it don't make any sense to me (why are teenagers allowed to have romantic flings outside of their matches in such a restrictive society?). The only reason I'll let this slide is because there is room for more development later in the series. Still, it's not an excuse.
This novel goes at a snail's pace. For 366 pages, not very much happens. There is no real climax, and there are a lot of times when I feel that the author/narrator asks way too many questions and is just using them as filler.
Most of all, Matched just didn't have the "disturbing" factor that a dystopian novel needs.
From all the negatives that I listed I'm sure it seems that I hated this book. But I didn't. I don't know. All in all, there's just too much potential in this series to give up hope on it.
You might like Matched if you:
- don't mind slow books
- like science fiction
- like love triangles