Thursday, August 12, 2010

Book Review: Matched by Ally Condie

In the Society, Officials decide. Who you love. Where you work. When you die. Cassia has always trusted their choices. It’s barely any price to pay for a long life, the perfect job, the ideal mate. So when her best friend appears on the Matching screen, Cassia knows with complete certainty that he is the one . . . until she sees another face flash for an instant before the screen fades to black. Now Cassia is faced with impossible choices: between Xander and Ky, between the only life she’s known and a path no one else has ever dared follow—between perfection and passion. Matched is a story for right now and storytelling with the resonance of a classic. (From Goodreads)

I was lucky enough to get a chance to read Matched in late July, after my local bookstore owners raved about it. Basically, I was ecstatic when they book was handed to me. By now, many people have heard that Condie signed a seven-figure deal for three books from Dutton (a member of Penguin Group). I've seen the book on numerous wish-lists, Waiting on Wednesday posts, and Goodreads. Since there is a lot of hype surrounding this book, I had pretty high expectations when starting it. I'm happy to say that the book did a pretty good job of living up to those expectations.

Condie does a great job in creating her dystopian society. In Matched, unlike some other dystopian books, I felt that there was an abundance of detail. The Society, as it's called, seems perfect at the start of the story. It provides education, places citizens in jobs suited for them, and medical problems are no longer an issue. It's soon obvious, however, that the Society is more sinister than it seems. Every adults life ends on their eightieth birthday. The Society justifies this killing of healthy adults by saying that eighty is long enough for a fulfilling life. Each citizen is also required to carry around a tablet holder. They contain three emergency pills, a red, a green, and a blue. I won't spoil the effects of the pills, but I will say that I thought this was a really nice touch to the story.

Condie also creates great dilemmas for her her characters. Cassia's struggle begins on her grandfather's eightieth birthday. She is dealing with the idea that the officials can be wrong, as well as with her feelings for two possible love interests. Meanwhile, her parents are trying to figure out whether they should make morally right choices, or follow the Society's rules. I thought that all of these issues helped me to connect with the characters. They all knew that the Society was flawed, and had to decide whether to break free from their rule.

The only thing that I thought the story lacked was information about the Society's war. This particular issue isn't discussed until laster in the book, but there's no detail about who the enemy is, or why they are fighting. While I think that the reader could come to their own conclusions about the war, I'm hoping that Condie addresses this in the second book in the series.

Matched was a through-provoking dystopian novel. The characters were interesting, and the world of the Society was vast and detailed. A good start to the series, and I can't wait for more.

Matched
By Ally Condie
Published by Dutton
Release Date: November 30, 2010
384 Pages
Rating: B

8 comments:

Michelle said...

I'm glad this one lived up to the hype for you. I really like the sound of it. :)

Nina said...

When I noticed that you reviewed this book I had to go and take a look at your review, which btw is very good. :)
The book sounds really good and I am so glad that it lived up to your expectations. Always good to know that. The effect of the three pills sounds interesting and I cannot wait to read it for myself. Thanks for the review.

Aubrey said...

Ah! I can't beleive you got a copy! Congrats on that! I know Ally and couldn't even get a copy!

I am beyond excited for her! Great review!

Juju at Tales of Whimsy.com said...

Sounds awesome. I totally need it!

Andrea said...

Wow, sounds great and I really need to know about the sinister society.
Great review!

Allison said...

I agree with you, it "pretty much" lived up to my expectations :) I can't wait for the next one!

Jennifer @ Mrs. Q: Book Addict said...

I really enjoyed your review. I'm going to take a took for this book. I haven't heard of this before, but I do want t read it now...

Megan @Reading Away The Days said...

Love the review I have this book to read but havent got around to reading it. I might read it soon I usually dont like dystopian books but this one caught my eye because of the cover so I grabbed it :)

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