Title: Matched by Ally Condie
Genre: Young Adult Dystopian
Rating: 4.5 Stars
In the Society, officials decide. Who you love. Where you work. When you die.
Cassia has always trusted their choices. It’s hardly any price to pay for a long life, the perfect job, the ideal mate. So when her best friend appears on the Matching screen, Cassia knows with complete certainty that he is the one…until she sees another face flash for an instant before the screen fades to black. Now Cassia is faced with impossible choices: between Xander and Ky, between the only life she’s known and a path no one else has ever dared follow—between perfection and passion.
First off I feel like I have to start this review stating ‘Where the heck have I been?’, I mean you’re all probably thinking it because this book was released in 2010. How haven’t I read it before? Well I actually heard about this series for the first time this month, when scrolling through Goodreads Lists! It’s definitely a darn shame I didn’t come across this when it first came out because I have been missing out. You’ll see a trend in my upcoming reviews – I’ve missed a ton of series.
I’ll start of this review properly by saying I absolutely loved Matched, I’m very much into Young Adult Dystopian novels so much so I’m doing my Undergraduate Dissertation on them (and maybe this book in-particular). One of the things I love about Dystopian’s is the fact I can fully lose myself into this new world, I like the government control being established by the characters, I like the strong female leads who turn rebellious and of course I like that splash of romance.Matched is a great example of this because theirs a bit of everything.
In terms of setting, I think Ally Condie does a fantastic job at describing this Dystopian world, I found myself easily lost within it and the world to me came across as being both extravagant and plain. There are matching banquets where the ‘matchees’ wear beautiful outfits in order to make a great first impression on their match aka their future husband. But then when they return back home you find they have the plainest of clothes, meals and very limited choices. Everything is decided by the Government to the point of such things as the amount of food you will need, if they want you to bulk up you get more, if they want to exhaust you – you’re gonna get less.
Government control is something I really liked in this book because this city is very much Government focused. Everything is controlled by the government and they are paying close attention which reminds me of George Orwell and ‘Big Brother is always watching’ (1984). Whereas in other Dystopian’s which I have read whilst the Government has a clear path they want for society, they only really control aspects of the citizens life in order to keep control whereas this is like control down to the minuscule details – one big example of this would be at the ending of the novel where they chop down the trees in the borough. A remainder to the reader that the Government here has ultimate power, nothing passes them.
In terms of characters, I had no major issues with any of them really. I definitely felt their was a tension between Ky and Cassia and I really liked that and to see how they started to open up to one another as the book progressed. From the beginning I already knew how I wanted the romantic element to go and it seems to be going in my favour. Of course there is 2 books to go so it could take a drastic turn!
The only character I had a slight issue with was Em – Cassia’s friend. I just found her a bit annoying, she is a character who is nervous a lot due to the system and at one point shes linked to everyone losing their artifacts and that sort of set it in stone for me that I wasn’t a fan of her. I just felt like their was so much going on, that I wanted someone to shake her like ‘Get it together girl’.
As previously pointed out in my ‘Setting’ section, this book is very much focused on Government control and the first aspect we see of this is how the Government chooses each citizens Match – who they will be married too or even if they are destined to be a single. This was something that was new for me, I haven’t read any books where the Government chooses your future partner based on a series of sorting tests.
Additionally each of the citizens have 3 tablets, blue, red and green. Each tablet has a different job for example the Green Tablet is to calm you, again this element of the book was very unique to me as the Tablets were a huge deal. If you lost them then you could be cited for it so they have to stay with the characters at all times. I was very much intrigued into the tablets especially in terms of the Red Tablet and trying to work out what it truly did. (Which you do find out at the end).
A lot of this book is the descriptive world building and the life of Cassia as she is matched until the middle of the book, where things start to take a turn. In terms of Rebellion the main rebellion within this first book is the simple acts of letter writing and reading banned poetry, rebellion is very much focused within Literary aspects in this book.I really enjoyed this as it is different from books such as Divergent and Hunger Games where their first rebellious acts are rooted in war, instead Cassia here is beginning to question her life as it is and these first acts of rebellion each are leading up to a big event – one we aren’t sure of just yet. As the ending is a cliffhanger of sorts I’m sure their will be even bigger rebellious acts within the next 2 books, which leads me onto my next point which is simply how I loved how many questions this book posed for me and how I felt lost in the secrets of this Government.
Overall I decided to rate Matched 4.5 stars, it lost a 0.5 point for me because I did find that nothing much happened in the beginning and the plot picked up towards the end. I wouldn’t say this is a bad thing though because a lot of the beginning is world building, pressing the doubts of society into the character and the readers minds but I wished it picked up a little bit faster for me. The ending is fast paced and it ends on a cliffhanger of sorts so I am now waiting for books 2 and 3 to arrive at my door so I can see what is in store for Cassia and how things will end. But overall I loved Matched and losing myself in this strong controlling and secretive world.
- Descriptive and Extensive World Building – easy to lose yourself into this dystopian world
- Romance element – Love Triangle but it isn’t really heavy it’s more establishing feelings and differentiating those from friendship and love
- Mysterious, Strong Government Control to every minuscule detail of these citizens lives
- Steady Pace up until the middle to ending of the book where it really picks up
- The book will pose numerous questions to you as the reader the ultimate one being what is outside of the city and what is going on.
- Cliffhanger Ending