Thursday, 22 September 2011

Matched by Ally Condie book review.

Matched by Ally Condie

Publisher: Dutton Juvenile (November 30th, 2010)
Reading Level: Young Adult
Hardcover: 366 pages
Series: Matched, book #1
Source: Won
Rating: 3 of 5 stars
Cassia has always trusted the Society to make the right choices for her: what to read, what to watch, what to believe. So when Xander's face appears on-screen at her Matching ceremony, Cassia knows with complete certainty that he is her ideal mate . . . until she sees Ky Markham's face flash for an instant before the screen fades to black.
The Society tells her it's a glitch, a rare malfunction, and that she should focus on the happy life she's destined to lead with Xander. But Cassia can't stop thinking about Ky, and as they slowly fall in love, Cassia begins to doubt the Society's infallibility and is faced with an impossible choice: between Xander and Ky, between the only life she's known and a path that no one else has dared to follow.

I read this book about two weeks ago and did not make me get goosbumps, create a spine tingling sensation or most importantly made the ‘eeik’ sound. It’s a decent book but not something that would be in my top actually say top 50...........screw that top 100 book list for 2011.
The book is a slow paced plot based around the protagonist’s life, Cassia, where the world she lives in ‘Matched’, is one where citizens have little or no control over every aspect in their lives. This ranges from their job, how many children they can have at a certain age limit, to their spouses and even what age they are to die. This is all controlled in the hands of the ‘Society’.  Everyone seems to like this control, there are no hassles or hard decisions for them to make and the characters in the books seem to accept the fact that they have little choices to make for themselves and what is given for this system is that they get to enjoy an ill-free healthy life, where no diseases, illnesses or poverty are experienced or even unheard of. Everything is easy for them. Their life is planned out to be a smooth easy ride, unlike a fast paced roller coaster, with bumps and surprises.  However, unlike a roller coaster, their life is pretty predictable and dull, but they accept the fact that this is the best way to live from past experiences and events.

Cassia is at a crucial point in her life where she is being matched to her life partner in an event called the ‘Match Banquet’. Her partner is picked for her and as you can imagine she is feeling extremely nervous, yet excited at the same time. She is thrilled once she finds out that she is matched with her best friend, Xander. However, later at home when she is reading her chosen partner’s life card (although she thinks this is a total waste of time, since she knows mostly everything about Xander) she sees another guy’s face on the screen, telling her that he is her chosen partner. As you could imagine she is deeply confused and frustrated, since she does not understand who is matched to her. The ‘Society’ does not make how could this be?

Ally pulled on a brilliant idea when writing her young adult dystopian book. She touched onto the fact that there is a fear that some people have at not being able to control their life. The moral of the story is whether you would conform and follow the expectations of everyone else or would you fight the system and decide who you want to be. Cassia is faced with this problem with epic proportions as she begins to question the ‘Society’.
Nevertheless I only gave the book three stars, because despite explaining a lot about the world that these characters were living in and how the system worked, it lacked the much needed action and passion. As I said before it was a very slow paced book and the only time that I was hooked was the beginning when Cassia is being matched at the ‘Match Banquet’. The first chapter did create an eruption of anticipation from me as I was desperate in knowing who she was going to be with and I was just getting familiar with this new crazy layout that the ‘Society’ created. However, that feeling evaporated once I carried on with the book.

Cassia is a...................nice character (sorry for the lack of adjectives however, if I use anything else it would make her seem a ‘great’ character, which in my opinion is clearly not). I would of liked to see a little more emotion from her, rather than acting like a total robot (but hey at least she did not act like clingy, mentally unstable Belle from ‘Twilight’ XD). Nevertheless, I guess since she is living in a world where different intense emotions are not shown, or even known, it is hard for her to express herself. She is conformed to every little detail that the ‘Society’ wants her to be, even her emotions, and this is something that Cassia wants to run away from. Both Ky and Xander are fantastic characters (used a different, more colourful adjective, so you can guess I think fondly of them). However, I liked Xander much better. He seemed to be such a cool guy, bringing life to the very still story with his fun personality and someone who truly admires Cassia and willing to protect her. He believed them to be childhood sweethearts’ and extremely lucky for them to be matched, since being matched with someone in your town is practically unheard of. Hence the fact that I felt extremely upset for Xander when Cassia was starting to fall in love with Ky. I liked Ky’s character for his sense of adventure and him breaking rules but he seemed too serious. I do understand that because of his circumstances he is like that and it’s nice to have a contrast between the two boys, but I could not help but think he is such an idiot for taking Cassia away from Xander. I could not help but also think that Cassia was falling for Ky only because she was told he was never to be matched. Talk about not having a mind of your own!

Honestly, and not to seem brutal, but the only thing that actually made me carry on and finish the book was the fact that the story was set in a dystopian society (something that I find myself to like and reading more books in that theme) and also because this book was listed as one of the books similar in the category of ‘Hunger Games’, but I think it’s safe to say it’s not! However, I did crave for descriptive details of how life was like before and what actually caused the change in ‘Matched’. There were vague snippets about having too much technology and for the fact that people were not to know too much of everything, such as knowing how to write by hand and only specialising in one expertise. For example the people living in this matched world were only restricted to know 100 songs, 100 films, 100 painting, 100 poems and 100 books. When I learned of that fact I was shocked. Can you really imagine living in a world with a restriction on how many films or books to read, especially on books, I think I would go crazy! What also got me interested is that they have to carry three pills and also have to wear monitors when they sleep so the ‘Society’ can monitor their dreams. Talk about lack of privacy. It’s like an extreme version of ‘Big Brother’!

One of the parts in the book that tugged my heart was the forced death of Cassia’s grandfather. I’m sure, for those who have read the book, will also experience the same feeling. He was rebel, even when he reached his end of the road.

Overall, ‘Matched’ shows readers how despite life being controlled at every aspect possible, love can break these chains that people are tied to.

I do want to see what happens to the next book ‘Crossed’ and I am told that there is too be more action coming up. It should also answer a lot of the unanswered questions that ‘Matched’ left with. But for the trilogy to be a winner, is really needs to pick up on the pace!

Vlog review (check out ThePageTurners1 link for more):

Book Trailer:

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