Monday, April 25, 2011

Review: Matched

Matched by Ally Condie
(Amazon / Goodreads)

Goodreads description:

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 with complete certainty that 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.

First sentence: Now that I've found the way to fly, which direction should I go into the night?
My rating: 2 out of 5 stars

I love the idea for this book, so I had pretty high expectations. And the plot really was good - Cassia's world was interesting to read about, and the pacing was perfect. One thing I often dislike about dystopian novels is that there are no gradual transitions. In the beginning, the main character considers her world as perfect and would never question those in charge, and then, with no tranistion, she turns into a complete rebel and hates everything the society stands for. That was avoided in Matched, though - while Cassia trusted the Society in the beginning and rebeled later on, her journey was gradual and believable.

Some little facts, though, didn't match up, if I'm not mistaken. Please correct me if I'm wrong on these, but at one point, Cassia says Ky's adoptive parents are his uncle and aunt, while at another time she says they're not related. During Cassia's real-life sort, the Official explains that the "better" group is the one that will keep working at the factory, and later it's the "worse" group that stays and the better one that has to go. I know little things like that aren't really a big deal, but it just annoys me when the author doesn't have the little facts of her story straight. Maybe that's not Ally Condie's fault, though, but the editor's...

The plot was good, but I still didn't feel anything and never really connected with the novel. The main reason for that were the characters. They were flat and had absolutely no personalities. Maybe I can't really criticize that - these characters are controlled by the rules of society and couldn't really have their own opinions. But I still think they could have had some traits to make them more like people and less like plot devices - for example, something like being shy or being extroverted can't be controlled by society, or just some normal interests. I never felt like I got to know Em, Xander or even Cassia, which made it hard to relate to her. Xander was sometimes characterized as caring, etc. but the author only used telling, and without any showing it just wasn't believable. Ky is the only character who is a little distinct, but I don't think he has a real personality, either. Instead of standing for all the society's beliefs, he's against everything that comes from the society. I don't really think that's what makes a character seem like a person, either.

Not really getting to know any of the characters made the romance-aspect hard to like, too. The reader should have been able to feel Cassia's struggle of choosing between Ky and Xander, and especially the relationship between Cassia and Ky should have made me feel something, but it just didn't. I can't say I cared about what happened to the characters - the reader never got to build a relationship to any of the characters, and that's one of the key things that make me enjoy a book.

The writing was okay. For the most part, it was good, but it was very melodramatic, so melodramatic at times, in my opinion, it bordered on ridiculous. The dialogue was strange, too - stilted. It feels weird to criticize this - how am I supposed to know how people in the future will speak? - but it was so formal it sounded more like something from the past, not the future. Again, I don't know what the future will be like, but I think it would be more realistic if the language were less formal than it is today, just because of the development of language so far.

For the most part, I appreciated the information we got on Cassia's society. Often, in the dystopian novels I've read, those explanations seem forced; added to the conversations even though that's nothing the characters would normally talk about as they know what their society is like. In Matched, these explanations were integrated seamlessly into the flow of the story. I still would have liked to know more about how society changed from the world we know today to the world Cassia lives in.

I recommend this book to you if you like dystopian novels and the plot is what's most important to you, as that part was good. But if you're like me, and writing and characters are more important to you, I don't think this is the book for you - the writing is melodramatic; the characters have no personalities and are hard to relate to. I don't think I'll be reading the sequel.


  1. Thanks for sharing your honest review! I have this one my reading list, but have heard a lot of mix reviews about it. Sorry you didn't enjoy it!

  2. Great, honest review. I felt the same way about this book! Super high expectations and I ended up being disappointed. For me, I felt like Cassia dragged her feelings out way too much and ended up being really back and forth. I'm hoping that the story picks up in Crossed!

  3. I really love your reviews! I felt the same way, I had some high expectations.


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