Matched by Ally Condie
Cassia has always trusted the Society to make the right choices for her. 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, 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.
As much as I love books, I’ll admit that sometimes it’s hard to be a reader; especially in genres like dystopia. It comes to the point where it almost feels there is no originality left, and that everything is more or less the same thing. That’s how I feel with Matched.
There is nothing necessarily new or innovated about what Ally Condie has created here, the entire barebone of the story can be traced back to elements of The Giver (with more emphasis on the romance) or The Hunger Games. The prose or execution is nothing out of the usual; and it succumbs to definite YA cliches that I would have preferred gone.
The story isn’t one you haven’t heard before. In Condie’s dystopian society, in traditional fashion, at age 16, the Society presents you with your job and your spouse.
Matched follows the story of Cassia, a teenager who is about to make her debut into society. Yet, when her spouse is displayed on the screen, the name of Xander flashes – before it is quickly replaced with the name Ky. The government tells her it’s only a malfunction in the system, and Cassia accepts the explanation, but she can’t help but feel something more is going on.
As of the young adult current trend, a huge majority of the story is spent on the romance between Ky and Cassia and Cassia and Xander. This is most likely what will make or break the book for you, and unfortunately I found it to be a deal-breaker for me personally. I felt the romance overtook the plot structure and any room that could have been used for characterization or world-building. And it certainly didn’t help that I felt nothing towards Cassia’s attraction toward either guy.
What makes dystopian novel so fascinating is how they tie in to current political and social trends and how authors feed off that. However, I felt Condie’s world was a bit bland because we never learned any backstory about how it was formed. The Society wouldn’t have just simply been formed. There had to be a reason. Global warming? A nuclear war? Whatever it is, Condie neglects that explanation; making the novel a bit less plausible and thought-provoking than it could have been.
Unfortunately, mostly due to the love triangle and same old, same old plot, I have to say that Matched wasn’t my cup of tea and I most likely won’t be reading the sequels. However, I will admit that the pacing was decent and the writing was engaging at the very least.