Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Review: Matched by Ally Condie

Ever since she was a little girl, Cassia has looked forward to her seventeenth birthday - the day she will be Matched to her future husband. In the Society, people are Matched for ideal compatibility and genetics, not for love - and Cassia has never questioned this. Not until two faces appear on her Match card. Suddenly, the pre-planned life she's always wanted seems less than picture perfect, and she begins to wonder if her wise and structured Society is capable of a mistake. The answer to this question could mean life or death for some, and Cassia soon finds herself faced with the choice between what is safe and familiar, and what is foreign and forbidden - a choice no one has made in hundreds of years.

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.

Rating: 


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

9 comments:

Aylee said...

Amazing review! I can't believe today is the day. I've been reading so many positive reviews these past few months, this book has a lot to live up to in my mind. I can't wait to read it for myself!

Skyetikei said...

I can't wait to get my hands on a copy of Matched. I've seen so many great reviews of it.

Kat said...

I'm ordering this book later tonight! The rave reviews just keep coming. Great review-- a little hard to read because of the dark text color, but I'm sure part of that is because this computer lab is so dark.

GMR said...

Great review! Your mention of the "sterile narrative" is appropriate since it is but as it is narrated by Cassia in for what it's worth, a sterile world....it fits beautifully. She didn't have the chance to learn all the creative/descriptive terms and images one can conjure with words...it's all still unknown. Your passion for the title is certainly shown in your review....glad you enjoyed it! Happy reading....

Coffee and a Book Chick said...

I don't normally read YA novels, but the dystopian ones are so intriguing! This is one that I've been excited to read!

Fabulous review!

Aisle B said...

I ordered my copy and am dying for it to arrive! Can't wait to get it now after reading your review :)

Aisle B said...

I ordered my copy and am dying for it to arrive! Can't wait to get it now after reading your review :)

Lisa said...

I've heard so many good things about this book. Thanks for adding to them!

www.gardenofbooks.blogspot.com

Casey (The Bookish Type) said...

Thank you all for taking the time to read and comment! I'm so glad to hear that everyone has been hearing great things about this debut! You won't be disappointed! Enjoy!

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