Author: Ally Condie
Genre: Young adult, romance, dystopian
Publication date: November 2010
Source: Bought it
Rating: 2 stars out of 5 stars
The first book of the Matched trilogy, tells the story of Cassia Reyes who lives in a world set in the future, where people are told what job position they will have, what to believe, and who they will marry. At the age 17, teenagers undergo a “matching” ceremony in which a boy and girl get matched for marriage who are selected by the authorities. They generally do not know their Match ahead of time, but are shown their face over a television screen and subsequently provided with a picture and information about the match on a “microcard” – kind of like floppy disk. During the ceremony, Cassia is matched with her best friend Xander, who she believes is the perfect and ideal soul mate for her. However, before the the screen fades to black another face flashes on the screen- Ky Markham. As a result she is faced with two choices: follow the path that Society has chosen for her which is to be with Xander or follow her heart and be with Ky.
Please don’t hate me for those who loved this book, but this book was utterly boring.
When I read the premise of the story I was really intrigued and so excited to read it. After reading The Hunger Games, Divergent, and Legend, I was expecting Matched to be as great as these series, but it disappointed. I will say the setting is interesting– a dystopic city in the future, where everything is controlled by the Society – what you wear, what you eat, what you do, when you die – and who you are “Matched”. However, Allie Condie failed to tell a good story. A huge portion of the story focused too much on the romance aspect of the story between Ky, Cassia, and Xander. Don’t get me wrong, I do love the idea of their romance-the love triangle and all because it’s necessary for this book; however, it took too much of the plot structure and any other parts of the book that could have been used for characterization and world-building. We never get the back story of how the society was established. There has to be a reason, but we don’t get any of that in the book. At least that’s how I felt, while reading. Apparently it just happened. I don’t about anyone else, but I would like an explanation because it makes the story more believable and thought provoking.
The pace of the story was really slow and nothing was really happening, to the point where I wanted to just put the book down and stop reading.
With the exception of Cassia’s grandfather (his parts in the story are probably the only good thing in the book) and Xander all the characters were bland and I honestly could care less about them. Cassia, is a dull character and her indecisiveness irked me to no end. She starts to question Society’s rules, yet at the same time really does nothing about it. She is frustratingly passive, rarely taking action for herself and instead preferring to hang back and wait for life to happen to her. For example she uses the words “Not yet” a lot in her internal monologue— even when she wants something, she takes a step back, thinking it’s not the right time and just waits. I somewhat understand why she is like that, but honestly I just had it. Don’t even get me started on the romance. Insta-love is probably one of my least favorite things when I’m reading a book. I was not at all drawn in by the romance between Ky and Cassia and it wasn’t really believable. I was expecting to swoon and keep looking forward to their interactions, but even that was boring. Their love felt so forced. She tells us that she’s in love with Ky, but I didn’t see it. I think that was the main issue with Condie. Her writing was more of telling than showing. I get it, they fell in love, but you have to sell it and not just have something like this—-“I saw his picture and now I can’t stop thinking about him; I must find out more about him.” Okay, there is nothing compelling about that. In addition there’s barely any action that happened. I expect my dystopian novels to be action-packed and some other crazy things but we don’t even get that until about probably 300 pages in and it’s not even in that exciting. There were too many details and very little action. I like details, but it got to the point where it was just overwhelming.
Okay don’t let my review prevent you from reading the book because you might find it interesting. I guess I expected too much prior to reading the series. And as for my rating, I gave it a 2 stars because I did like the concept and Condie’s writing is good (but the execution was not) and the cover was nice. And now, I’m contemplating if I should even bother reading the rest of the books.