Whilst for a dystopian novel Matched may not be action packed in the literal sense its’ brilliance lies in its subtleties that leaves you with an ever...moreWhilst for a dystopian novel Matched may not be action packed in the literal sense its’ brilliance lies in its subtleties that leaves you with an ever increasing feeling of dread for the citizens of the society. It is not a novel you can simply forget once you’ve finished, it will leave you contemplating its’ overarching themes of love, duty and blind obedience well after. With its’ disturbing undertones throughout and beautiful writing style Matched is an amazing debut novel that will leave you wanting more.
Matched begins on the night of Cassia’s Match Banquet when her Match, who she will spend the rest of her life with, will be revealed. The society as it is known chooses each individual’s perfect Match based on compatibility or so it seems. It turns out that Cassia’s Match is her best friend Xander who she will eventually marry and live happily ever after, the. end. journey over, however it appears Cassia’s journey is only beginning. She soon discovers that perhaps Xander is not her perfect Match it could be Ky a boy Cassia has known since she was young however it is revealed he can never be her Match because he has been deemed an aberration by the society and never allowed to be Matched. Is smart and sweet Xander Cassia’s real perfect match or is it Ky, the fascinating aberration who according to the society can never be her match? Now Cassia must choose between following the society’s rules and plans for her future which means being Matched to Xander or going against the society and following her heart to Ky.
Wow this novel amazed me with its brilliance, I loved everything about it especially Ally Condie’s intricate world building through her beautiful writing style. Towards the end of the novel I was surprised that I’d nearly finished it, I was so immersed in Cassia’s world I didn’t want it to end. I was also surprised that by the time I was near the end there wasn’t much action that had taken place at all, yet this did not distract from the novel because rather than going for action in the literal sense Ally Condie opted for a more understated action in the form of ever an increasing sense of trepidation in the societies controlling governance.
Throughout Matched we are taken on a journey through Cassia’s eyes, at first Cassia has a positive view of the Society but slowly her view and the readers view begins to taint with the realization of Ky and his situation which leaves Cassia with a feeling of mistrust and hatred for the society that is trying to exert complete control over it’s citizens. When I say complete control I mean it, the society controls the food individuals eat, the amount of exercise they undertake, the job they are assigned, even death is controlled by the society who decide when you’re going to die which I personally found really creepy.
The society we find Cassia in is one in which free thought and questioning is frowned upon, the society controls everything so much so that they decided previously the culture was too cluttered so they chose the 100 of the best of everything from the 100 best poems to the 100 best songs and destroyed the rest. It is fitting perhaps that Cassia’s real questioning starts after she receives a poem that is not on the 100 poems list from her grandfather which states ‘Do not go gentle into that good night. Rage, rage against the dying of the light.’ With these powerful words Cassia is transformed, her eyes are now open to the society and its injustice. Things that Cassia may have never given a second thought to are suddenly analysed and questioned, clearly Cassia’s ‘perfect’ world has been shattered however her world was never perfect she just thought it was.
Whilst Matched goes into great detail about the repressive society it is also a love story where Cassia must choose between taking the seemingly easier path to be with Xander her ‘real’ match (as deemed by the society) or choose the difficult path to be with Ky the aberration who according to the society cannot be her match. This is an extremely difficult decision for Cassia who has always trusted in the society, she’s never had a reason not to trust them but now it seems she does. Cassia’s and Ky’s relationship is what one would call slow burning, because the society is watching their every move the time Cassia spends with Ky is limited.
The ending left me wanting more and definitely leaves room for a continuation of Cassia’s story. It was insinuated throughout Matched that all was not well for the society, there was a war going on between the society and its citizens somewhere but it was never elaborated on in any great detail, it was always on the periphery. It is clear that this will definitely be explored in the second book which will be very interesting given the amazing world building Ally Condie executed when describing the society.
Ultimately for me Matched is a novel about a controlling government, its naive citizens who go about their business and a questioning teenager whose eyes are opened to the exhaustive control and injustice the society exerts. It is a novel about questioning, questioning about what is right and what is wrong. Whilst the society left no room for questioning, leaving its citizens in a permanent state of ignorance, Cassia is questioning everything.