Tuesday, March 29, 2011
Matched by Ally Condie
I had been in a local bookstore for an hour and a half, looking for a new treasure to bring home, when my eyes fell on a certain book that was on display. The hardcover was rather attractive looking, on the front was a girl in a green gown who appeared to be trapped in some type of bubble or glass ball. It was pretty. I had seen Facebook ads for it before, and had previewed it online, and it looked good. The next thing I know, I'm handing over money, and poof! Matched was all mine.
So here's what happens:
Cassia, a 17 year old girl, lives in a future where your whole life is planned out for you. The Society chooses who you marry, what your job is, and even when you die. Cassia believes her world is perfect, especially when she is matched with her best friend Xander. When you are matched, it means that the Society selects the ideal mate for you, the person you will love and eventually marry. But then another face appears on the Matching Screen, just for an instant. The face belongs to a mysterious and handsome local boy named Ky.
The Society tells her it was only a mistake that she saw Ky's face, and she should go back to loving Xander. But Cassia finds herself drawn to the boy anyways. And meanwhile, life in her city is growing more and more uncomfortable. Personal space is being invaded, and precious objects are being taken away from families. Before her grandfather died, he told Cassia to fight against the rules the Society is set. Cassia is shocked at this, but then she begins to learn that her world isn't nearly as perfect as she was led to believe.
Pretty soon, she's doing dangerous things that could destroy her and the people she's close to. She falls in love with the forbidden Ky, and feels trapped in her strict world. Now she's going to have to risk it all and eventually make big sacrifices while the world around her begins to fall apart.
You can tell right from the first chapter that it was definitely written by a poet. It's lyrical, descriptive style is fluent, and makes the story float right along.
At first, the story was so fluffy and light though, I almost got annoyed. Cassia, the main character turned me off at first, but then she grew stronger in her character throughout the book, and it was much appreciated by me. Hence, I enjoyed the exposition because it was so interesting learning about her world. And the whole Xander vs. Ky thing created the nice little love triangle conflict I've been seeing more and more in YA sci-fi. I found Ky to be a beautifully illustrated character, I think he was my favorite. And Cassia's narrations were always so poetic and descriptive, it was another lovely element.
But a problem I had was once Cassia started to see her world for what it really was, it got quite depressing. Everything starts to go wrong, the people she loves are taken away, and she can't be with Ky...it got a bit sad. The whole rhythm of the story shifted from an interesting futuristic culture into a sad struggle to gain control of one's life. And this continues for the rest of the book, forcing us to wait for the promised sequel, Crossed.
So I guess you can say I had mixed feelings over this book. Apparently, it's been highly successful so far, a New York Times Best Seller, and it has had a lot of praise and good reviews. I will say that Matched was a good story, despite it's saddening plot, and tragic love story. It was written in a lovely way, and it was certainly interesting.
THE BOTTOM LINE:
A dystopian romance novel that can grasp itself on to you, making you curious, and it's characters will work their way into you, making you feel plenty of sympathy.