Angela's Reviews > Matched

Matched by Ally Condie
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's review
Nov 20, 2010

it was amazing
bookshelves: young-adult, favorites, arc, apocalyptic-or-dystopian, 4-5-stars, read-in-2010

Nearly perfect dystopian romance with a slow burn, 4.5 stars

In Ally Condie’s MATCHED, Cassia lives in an apparently utopian world where the Society determines everything for its citizens in order to assure optimum results: job placement, food intake, spouses, and even time of death. When Cassia is paired with her best friend Xander at her Match ceremony, everyone is happy and relieved. However, when Cassia gets home, she sees a different face flash across her Match screen: that of the quiet and elusive Ky. Even though she’s told it’s a mistake, Cassia begins to want to learn more and more about Ky, and in the process, she begins to question the carefully controlled world the Society has created. Soon, Cassia finds herself battling against the Society’s rules to love the boy she chooses and to keep hold of the words and freedoms she’s discovered.

MATCHED lives up to the hype that has surrounded its release and then some. One of the strongest aspects of the novel is its world building. The book uses clear, well-written, descriptive language to create a future that seems natural with its Matching, elimination of “unnecessary” items, and close control of its citizens. When Cassia begins to realize that the Society has been giving its people just enough to keep them complacent, you feel angry on her behalf for all of the human experiences they’ve been carefully denied. In this way, the novel deftly examines what constitutes utopia versus dystopia. Consistent pacing moves the plot forward, but it’s a slow burn, similar to Maggie Stiefvater’s SHIVER or LINGER. Instead of being action-packed like THE HUNGER GAMES, this narrative focuses on the compelling power of words, choices, and love. Character development occurs through actions and flashbacks, instead of telling, and family members, like Cassia’s parents and grandfather, are given important supporting roles. Although there is a love triangle, Cassia is presented with two different but appealing (and nice!) options. The romantic relationship that results builds slowly and achingly over time and for realistic reasons.

While I enjoyed almost every moment of MATCHED, the book could have benefited from more character development for Cassia and a less obvious direction for the love triangle. I would have expected more conflict given her history with one of the boys. Also, while the novel has a finished feel, I wish the sequel’s plot arc didn’t seem so obvious.

Despite my initial wariness due to the immense hype, MATCHED exceeded my expectations with its carefully crafted world and slow-burning romance. This book will be perfect for those who enjoy a thought-provoking but less action-driven dystopian read. I enjoyed it so much that I’m already looking forward to the next installment to see where Condie leads Cassia, Ky, and Xander.

Note: This review refers to an advance reader's copy.
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Comments (showing 1-10 of 10) (10 new)

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I am Bastet Is there a sequel?

message 2: by Angela (last edited Nov 29, 2010 12:28PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Angela Yep, it's part of a planned trilogy per the author interviews I've seen.

Though I'm in the minority among my online bookish friends, including you, I *really* liked this book, even when I wasn't expecting to. Maybe when I'm back from Thanksgiving travels (on the way out to catch a flight right now) we can discuss. :)

I am Bastet We shall discuss!

I know that trilogies (or things that start as trilogies and grow a lot larger) are really popular, but I'm kind of aching for a novel that I KNOW will be a stand-alone, and will end in an ending place without room for a sequel :-P

Angela Sending you a private message with some standalone title ideas and some points for discussion fodder. If any of it doesn't make sense, please forgive me in advance since I'm working on only an hour of sleep right now. ;)

I am Bastet Even though we've established that we mostly disagree, I still think your review is really well done!

Angela Thanks, Isis! I think it's great that we can appreciate the quality of each others' reviews, even when we disagree about the overall impression re: the book.

I am Bastet Me too. I love a well-written review, even if I disagree with the sentiment expressed in the review. I like to be forced to look at things more objectively :)

Angela Yep! I agree wholeheartedly. :)

Sandy Beautiful review! My review for Matched is "What Angela said."

Angela @Sandy: Aww, thanks! I appreciate your compliment about my review. :)

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