Loved this book's universe and characters, and the graceful, gradual way we get to learn about the kingdom, its history and anthropology, and how the...moreLoved this book's universe and characters, and the graceful, gradual way we get to learn about the kingdom, its history and anthropology, and how the human invader/exiles made a treaty with the peace-loving, enchantingly graceful but frail pegasi to fight against the fierce monsters that also wanted the beautiful green country. In honor of their thousand year treaty, important humans and pegasi are ceremonially and magically bonded (not married!) to each other when they're young, in the hope that the two will learn to communicate with each other over the many barriers between their species. Twelve-year old Sylvi, since she's a princess, will be symbolically bonded to a pegasus from the royal family, but she doubts much will come of it, other than having a Pegasus partner to attend court functions with and "speak" with using a crude sign language.
I loved Sylvi, her curiosity about her kingdom's beginnings and skepticism of the court magicians, and her duty-bound but loving royal family. In the book she bonds--with surprising results--to Ebon, an equally rebellious royal, and the book follows them for the next 4-5 years as they grow, and find their places in their families and the future of their peoples.
This book would have been a 5-star, but I found the ending hurried and unsatisfying. I don't need eveything spelled out, with a bow on it, but somehow the resolution, with evil and good magicians (pretty well handled), and a revelation that asserted but did not show a new aspect of the the "science/magic" behind the human-pegasus bond. (less)
**spoiler alert** Beautifully written, chilling subject matter, in the style of Margaret Atwood's The Handmaiden's Tale. This is the story of two chil...more**spoiler alert** Beautifully written, chilling subject matter, in the style of Margaret Atwood's The Handmaiden's Tale. This is the story of two children, emotionally scarred by the repressive societies they've grown up in, finally attempting escape to a neighboring country. Strangers, from different ethnic groups within their country, neither can trust the other, and they can't even trust themselves and their own motives.
But it was ruined for me by an illogical plot twist towards the end. On pages 176-177 we learn that Grace, trained to be a suicide bomber by her oppressed People, has been set up for capture by the man who arranged her escape--he plans that her exposure as a People bomber will deflect interest in the boy escaping with her. But he also arranged for them to use a cover story where the two of them are brother and sister. So if the boy has been lieing about this ethnically different girl being his sister (not his actual sister being discovered as a traitor), then wouldn't he suffer as well? It's the kind of thing that just doesn't make sense, and you'd think someone should have picked it up, pre-galley. (less)
Only read one of Cassandra Clare's City of ... books a few years before, which I enjoyed, but don't really remember well. So I can't really compare th...moreOnly read one of Cassandra Clare's City of ... books a few years before, which I enjoyed, but don't really remember well. So I can't really compare this new series to the old one. But it was fun--likeable main character, two toothsome, tortured guys for her to get to know, an interesting demon/human struggle set in Victorian London, lots of battles and gore. What's not to like?
But I guess I really enjoy a slower buildup to the adventures, deeper, more enigmatic characters, more concentration on the magical/demonic setting and how it works. All of which I got in Robin McKinley's new Pegasus, which I read right after (see review) but then felt cheated by its abrupt, unsatisfying end. (less)
The Society and the Officials who shape Cassia's world are in many ways reminiscent of those in Lois Lowry's The Giver, but Matched is just a little b...moreThe Society and the Officials who shape Cassia's world are in many ways reminiscent of those in Lois Lowry's The Giver, but Matched is just a little bit more teenage, and therefore less lyrical and more urgent, than that very good book. Again like Lowry's, the ending is ambiguous, so much so that I'm unsure whether there's meant to be a sequel, or if the author just wanted to leave the end unresolved, and therefore realer. Definitely worth reading.
NEWS FLASH!! Just checked out Ally Condie's website-- www.allycondie.com-- and found out that Matched is the first book of a trilogy. So that answers that.(less)
Actually, just met this author at the Book Expo in NYC, and when she told me it was about a servant boy who gets into a special school where they teac...moreActually, just met this author at the Book Expo in NYC, and when she told me it was about a servant boy who gets into a special school where they teach fencing and languages and diplomacy (and when I learned that Diana Wynne Jones was also one of her favorite authors) I was hooked. It's the first of a trilogy, set in an alternate Victorian England, and beside the smart servant boy, there are 2 other commoners who manage to get into the elite school, and the headmaster's headstrong daughter, all about 14-15, funny and likeable. I figured out the bad guy about 3/4 of the way through (probably average), and I loved the fencing. Couldn't help but compare Knightley to Hogwarts (no magic, but the same array of eccentric professors.)(less)