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 he 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.
Mmmm…ok. So, Matched was one of my most anticipated releases of 2010. Dystopia is my genre of choice, and I was loving the description for this book (not to mention the cover!). There had been some great hype and buzz revolving around it, and I just knew I had to get my hands on it. I was downed with a massive cold early January and finally had time to read a good chunk of my TBR pile…Matched was one of the first books I grabbed off the shelf to read, so excited to finally dive in to this dystopian world where the Officials decide everything, including your partner. I made it through the book fairly quickly and to my surprise, didn’t love it. I liked it ok, but for one of my most anticipated it reads, it was a bit of a let down.
Let me try and clarify.
I have very mixed feelings about the plot. I can appreciate where the story was going, and the idea behind The Society and Officials. I enjoyed the world building; even though it was quite reminiscent of one of my favourite dystopias, The Giver (assigned partners, jobs, activities, death, etc.), it was only a small reason I was unsure about the plot. In a completely other vein, I was a little disappointed at the lack of explanation for the Society, and how no one seems to know exactly what’s going on in the outer edges of it. This, however, is something I am assuming (and hoping) the reader will get to discover as Cassia does in the next books. Also, I was a little disappointed that there was no mention of same-sex couples. For a book that revolves around the idea of a Match, I thought for sure it would be touched on at least briefly.
I did enjoy the idea of the pills that Society uses to make citizens forget. It is an idea that has scary connotations, and makes the reader wonder what else may have been forgotten by the people of The Society, and what they may be hiding. There is definitely some intrigue to the overall plot of Cassia disobeying Society conventions and following her heart, and the revelations about the fringes of the Society were a surprise, and something I look forward to reading more about in the second book.
Cassia is difficult for me. I don’t quite understand her confusion between Xander and Ky. Xander has been her best friend forever, and Cassia supposedly believes in the Society and the Officials. So why, when she sees Ky’s face, does she begin to question the Society, and her Match? She has barely spoken with Ky, so why would she feel the need to pursue him? I suppose it could be brought down to curiousity, really. I mean, she’s not rebellious (in the beginning), so it has to be that she is curious as to who Ky is and why his face would show up briefly during her Match video. On the other hand, I thought Cassia was brave for continuing to explore her connections with Ky, and rebelling against the Society in the small ways that she does. By the end, she realizes things are not all as they seem and she’s determined to “not go gentle”, and will follow where life takes her. Cassia wants to remember, and to discover the truth.
Xander and Ky I both really liked. Xander is that loyal, kind hearted friend who always has your back, and a fierce streak in him when he needs it. Ky is the mysterious unknown, who wants things to change. He has a huge heart and is very determined in everything he does. Though we only see them through Cassia’s eyes, you can really get a sense of who they are.
While I can’t claim Matched as a favourite, I did enjoy it and will definitely be picking up the sequel when it’s released. I’m interested enough in the characters and the developing plot to see where Ally Condie takes this world. And, of course, I want to know who Cassia ultimately picks – Xander or Ky!