Diana (Offbeat Vagabond)'s Reviews > Matched

Matched by Ally Condie
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's review
Sep 01, 2011

liked it
bookshelves: dystopian, fantasy, science-fiction, ya

Review posted here: http://offbeatvagabond.blogspot.com/2011/09/author-ally-condie-series-matched.html

The hype surrounding this book has been huge, I mean HUGE! So, of course, I had to see what the fuss was all about. After reading it, well listening to it, I still don’t see what the fuss was about. I love the Dystopian genre. In my opinion, it is one of the best genres you can come across. There’s action, drama, turmoil. It forces us to see all the grittiness in human society, forces us to face the good and the bad all for the sake of survival. I am usually moved by Dystopians. With that being said however, I didn’t see or feel any of that in this book. I am quite disappointed.

In Matched, everything is controlled in society, by who you spend your life with to when you die. No one can live past 80. So at her Matching banquet, the banquet when 17 year old Cassia meets the person she will be with forever, she was lucky it was her best friend Xander. She was lucky because it was someone she knew all her life, some aren’t that lucky. They end up matched with people they have never known. But she starts to wonder what her trusted society is doing when she sees the face of another guy, Ky, who has evidently been chosen for her also. This sends Cassia into a world of emotions and to make it worse, her grandfather is about to turn 80. But before his time is up, he gives Cassia a gift that forces her to open her eyes and truly see the world she lives in.

Oh boy. I really want to know why this book has been so hyped up. Don’t get me wrong, the premise of the world was quite amazing. Like I said, Dystopians are a favorite. The problem with Matched is that the world isn’t the main focus. The focus of this book is the romance. It is about Cassia debating who her real match is. In all honesty, I think if it weren’t for Cassia’s grandfather passing his secret on to her before he died, she wouldn’t have gone as far as she did. I think she would have stayed in her bubble, still curious, but she wouldn’t have fought. And even with that, she isn’t fighting to get out of the messed up world she loves, she is doing it to be with a guy she’s falling for because he is different.

We get little bits and pieces of conflict in Matched that were the best parts for me. I liked the conflict between the people and the society. We see them fight for things that are rightfully theirs, but the society wants them because it is against the rules to have them. But the book seems to fall just short of really wowing us. This was probably my second biggest issue with the book. It had soooooo much potential to show us some fight, some something, but it held back. I think this has a lot to do with the characters. They needed more development. It was almost like they were robots, but they had actual emotions which also were controlled at some point. But they needed to worry less about their love lives and more about the seemingly “perfect” world around them.

My biggest problem with this book was the pace. It was so slow. But the book redeemed itself a bit with how much we slowly learn about the world. But what gave this book an extra point for me was the ending. It was the best part of the whole book. Thank God! We learn Cassia role in all of this and it really shook the plot up a bit. It needed it.

This wasn’t the worst I have read, but it was far from the greatest. It needed a heartbeat and we got some beats near the end. I am hoping this is that kind of debut where it is just building the world for us and will really get into the meat of it all the next book around. This just lacked real substance which is surprising for a Dystopian. But since this is a YA book, I would recommend it teens, female teens, but teens all the same. Nonetheless, I am just curious enough to want Crossed (book 2). So if not for the ending, this would have been 2 stars.
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