Friday, December 2, 2011

Matched

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 Compacts
In the Society, Officials decide. Who you love. Where you work. When you die.
Cassia has always trusted their choices. It’s hardly 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. (From Matched-Book.com, official website for Ally Condie)

How much is there, really, that you can do with a dystopian society plot? I've read a lot of YA fiction with the whole dystopian theme which seems to be the latest trend thanks to the success of The Hunger Games. It was a breath of fresh air after the vampire/werewolf craze that Twilight created. Now, it seems, futuristic, totalitarian societies are the thing. I don't mind this new thing; I just wonder how many more ideas there can be with this whole thing because there's not a whole lot of things you can do with it. I am glad, however, that this trend allows YA authors to teach young adults about society and the problems we have in our own society that could be blown out of proportion to create a miserable future for our predecessors.

Ally Condie's first book in her Matched trilogy is quite catchy. The writing is sparse and beautiful, to the point. Condie's words are often poetic which is really what kept me hooked. I was intrigued with the plot enough that I wanted to keep reading which is always a good sign. I never felt like I had to force myself to get to the end. In fact I wanted there to be more. Good thing the second book is out. I went and got it today.

Love triangles. Gotta love 'em. They make for good drama. I just wish there was more to them sometimes. Condie's triangle is decently done. She focuses a lot on Ky so when Cassia says she loves Xander also, I feel forced to believe her because I don't see any proof. Condie could have easily tagged in some memories of Xander or had more scenes with Xander so we at least get to know him the same way we know Ky. Xander remains a mystery all the way through the book so when Cassia acts like she knows him it just feels forced or something. That being said, I wonder if Condie is going to show more of Xander's character in the next book. Here's hoping. Kinda hard to have a love triangle when we don't know a whole lot about one of the love interests.

Speaking of Xander, there's a scene at the end where he tells Cassia a memory he has and she describes him as cruel. Yet she still loves him. Somehow I don't see the attraction to Xander. There definitely needs more development with that relationship if Condie wants me to believe that there really is a love triangle. This normally wouldn't be a big deal except that it's a pivotal part of the plot.

I will admit I was worried it was just going to be a bunch of whining about a girl that has to choose between two boys. Sound familiar? Condie gave me a pleasant surprise by giving the story more depth. A fundamental thing that we all take for granted is that we have the ability to choose for ourselves: our jobs, our mates, our health, everything. In Condie's dystopian society that ability to choose has, essentially, been taken away. It's interesting to see what kind of world it would be without that.  

So she has some development things to work on, but Condie has really built an interesting setting and some good plotting. It isn't my favorite book ever, but it also isn't the worst one I've read so I gave it 3.5 out of 5 Compacts. Stay tuned for my review of Crossed.






 

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