Book 36: Matched by Ally Condie
Cassia lives in the Society, where there are no real choices. The Society chooses what job you’ll have, which person you’ll marry, how many kids you have, what food you eat, and when you’ll die. There are 100 poems to read, 100 movies to watch, 100 paintings to look at, 100 history lessons to learn. And none of that bothers Cassia…until she goes to look at her Match, the person she will marry, and sees two faces. Now she must finally make a choice for herself: does she marry Xander and follow the life that the Society has chosen for her, the one that will keep her and everyone she loves safe, or does she give up everything for Ky, the boy with the troubled past who was never meant to marry anyone?
Despite what other reviews I’ve read have said, I think Condie does a decent job of introducing us to her world. In the beginning, I can understand why Cassia doesn’t question anything. That’s just the way things are. I’m slightly ashamed to admit that I was a bit jealous of her. I hate making decisions, and everyone seemed so happy that it actually seemed like a nice place to live. As the novel progresses, though, you realize that everything’s not what it seems. Sadly, it’s not until the last quarter of the book that we really begin to see what’s wrong with this society, and that’s when the plot really starts picking up.
That’s not to say that I didn’t enjoy the beginning of the book, because I did. I liked the beginning. I liked the end to an extent. The middle just sort of fell flat. It was interesting, and I still enjoyed the book overall, but somewhere in the middle I kind of lost interest a little. I never considered not finishing the book (like I did with Starters), but if someone had stolen it from me, I wouldn’t really have cared, either.
I will say that the love story mostly worked. I could understand why Cassia was torn between Ky and Xander in the beginning. She’s grown up with both of them, but Xander is her best friend. This is the only real part of the book that reminded me of The Hunger Games, when she has to choose between her best friend and a guy she sort of knows but doesn’t really. Like Gale, Xander is strong and reliable, and he looks out for her and loves her, and you can’t help but feel sorry for him, even though you’re reading the book knowing (or at least hoping) that she’s going to end up with the other guy. So I did like that that part felt mostly realistic. She didn’t just bump into Ky and immediately fall in love with him for no reason. There was a build up. It still felt a bit off at times, but I can go with and assume that anyone would feel that way when they discovered that they might have been Matched with someone else.
This was far from my favorite book, and I don’t think it comes close to living up to the hype from The Hunger Games, but it was a decent story that entertained me for a few hours. I’ll probably go on to read the next two in the series, if only because I’m curious to see how it ends.