Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Matched by Ally Condie

Cassia lives in a Society where all life decisions are not yours to make: your job, what you eat, and even who you marry are all carefully constructed for the Greater Good.

When her best friend Xander is chosen as the person she will marry, she is initially thrilled. But when her other friend Ky's face shows up momentarily on the video screen after her Matching ceremony, Officials tell her it was a mistake and that she should plan for a happy life with Xander.

At first she follows the Officials' advice and begins planning for her life with Xander. But slowly and naggingly, Cassia finds herself falling for Ky and questioning all she's ever believed about her Society. Do they really know what's best for her life and the life of its people? 

Matched is a vivid and luscious work of dystopian fiction. Ally Condie's writing stands out as some of the most beautiful and captivating I've ever read. Some have criticized that the plot lags in the middle, but I felt like Condie was giving proper time for world building and for the relationship to develop. So many authors thrust the main character onto a love interest, disguise their lustful interactions as love, and rush the characters through a superficial relationship. I found the leisurely pace of the novel perfect for getting to know characters and feeling their love develop.

Fans of the classic dystopian novel The Giver will undoubtedly notice many similarities in the plot and theme of this book, which was really my only annoyance and that was mild. Despite the similarities, Condie's vivid and pleasant writing style gives this book a different tone than Lois Lowry's seminal novel which is stark and dreary. Which is to say, this is the most pleasant dystopian novel I've ever read or listened to. Even though the world is clearly not something one would ever want to live in, I never felt threatened or uncomfortable by the world Condie created. Yes, Cassia's desire to question everything her Society stands for is necessary and only natural. But this novel had a much more quiet power to it than the typical grand, sweeping dystopian plots of today.

So if you're like me and you're a fan of quieter books that focus more on character development than fast-paced plots, you are in for a treat with Matched. I will happily and eagerly read the next book in the series.

Matched by Ally Condie
Published: November 30, 2010 by Dutton
Series: Matched #1
Pages: 366
Genre: Dystopian
Audience: Young Adult


  1. It's interesting how many of the dystopias are alike and yet different. It's fun to see one sort of dominating trope developed so many different ways! I'll be interested in your reaction to Crossed!

  2. I'm not very fond of dystopian novels - the only one I've really liked recently was Justin Cronin's The Passage. I enjoyed the hope and optimism in that book, and after reading your review, I think Matched might be another dystopian I'd enjoy.

  3. Oh I'm so glad you enjoyed this! :) Crossed is another great read as well!!

  4. I liked this review more than the others I've read. Like when you mentioned thrusting and rushing through, I feel like a lot of bloggers wrote their reviews that way and I wasn't entirely convinced to read the book. I think I'm going to at least give it a go as soon as I find an opportunity.