Saturday, December 4, 2010

Matched - 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. 

Title: Matched (Matched #1)
Author: Ally Condie
Genre: Young Adult, Dystopian
Publisher: Dutton Books
Publication Date: November 30, 2010
Source: Received from publicist. Many thanks goes to Vimala from Penguin Canada for sending me an ARC of this book for review. I received this book free of charge in exchange for an honest review. 
My rating: 4/5

What would you do if you lived in a Society that provided everything for you? Health, longevity of life, the perfect match, and even a well-suited job. For Cassia, her answer would have been that she has always trusted the Society. One seemingly inconsequential glitch changes everything, and she realizes that the Society may not be as infallible as it seems. When she explores the possibilities surrounding her two matches, she will have to decide who to choose, and whether or not she is willing to risk everything for her choice.
The aspect I loved most about Matched was the insidious yet subtle feeling that all is not right within the Society. The rigid and unyielding government system slowly shows its true colours as the story proceeds. Cassia resists conforming to the Society's rules, and through her questioning, and her rebellion of the government laws, we see how horrific the Society really is. You would think free will is a small price to pay for a long, and happy life, but it truly shows you how much your life is not your own and that you are just a cog in the machine when your government controls every aspect. I don't think I've ever been immersed so completely into a book to the point that I started to feel shackled by the laws decreed by the Society, and I felt like I needed to rise up, and revolt. It's a testament to Condie's flawless writing ability that I was so completely drawn in. Matched is not a fast-paced read; rather, it compounds on the subtle undertones of horror, allowing the reader to realize just how wrong the Society is, and how absolute their control is over everyone. 
Cassia is by far my favourite character, but I do hold a soft spot for her grandfather, her parents, and brother, and her two matches. Her relationship with her grandfather is really heartwarming, and the revelations she makes because of him further the plot and make it that much more intriguing. I appreciated the fact that she did not go gently, and I enjoyed watching her relationships unfold with both matches. 
All in all, an exceptional beginning to what I'm sure is going to be a phenomenal trilogy. With strong characters, a well-structured plot, and hints of an uprising, I'll be waiting impatiently for the follow-up to find out what happens next. Matched is a must read, and whatever you do, do not go gently.


Jenny said...

Lovely review, I adored this one as well! I thought Cassia was a great heroine and I agree, I was totally immersed in this one - I just couldn't pull myself out of the world to take a break! Can't wait for the sequel:)

Chutzpah said...

I might have to pick this one, especially with that Dystopian challenge that's going around and all. Also, love that cover..