Readers are immediately drawn into the world of the Society by Ally Condie's precise and methodical narration, which is wonderfully appropriate for the alarmingly controlled world. At first, everything in the Society is light, bright and sparkling - yet still somehow unnerving - but it becomes increasingly horrifying as the story progresses. The Officials are subtly terrifying - a light narrative touch by Condie that demonstrates her artistic mastery. Though the narration is very sterile, the language is darkly beautiful, with surprising metaphors that bring the story vividly to life. Matched will make readers experience a rollercoaster of raw emotions, a truly potent example of the power of words.
Even though love triangles are a bit overdone lately, Condie finds a fascinating and clever way of setting up the complex relationships that dominate Matched. Condie also carefully prevents the novel from becoming cheesy - the teenage emotions are believable without being overly angst-ridden, which is refreshing. This is perhaps because the triangle stands for something greater than them all, a choice that will affect not only Cassia but her entire world - a choice between safety and free will. Cassia is a very believable blend of fear and daring, a character to whom readers will not only easily relate, but admire as well. Ky is also brilliantly done - mysterious and damaged, yet incredibly brave and surprisingly romantic. His mixture of strength and vulnerability make him a three-dimensional character that will capture readers hearts and imaginations. However, though Xander is sweet, he is almost too perfect. I hope to see more of his secrets and more development of his character in future installments to make the triangle a true competition.
Perhaps the best aspect of Matched is that there are no black and white answers; it is unclear which choice is right and what action is wrong. This complexity is sometimes lacking in dystopian YA, and its inclusion in Matched raises the intellectual acuity of the novel to incredible heights. Condie has written a complex and heartbreaking tale that doesn't make the choice easy, and readers will be anxious to see which path Cassia ultimately takes.
This novel hits shelves today! Click here to purchase Matched by Ally Condie.
I won an ARC of this novel from author Michelle Hodkin. This did not affect my review in any way.
This novel is part of the 2010 Debut Author Challenge.