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Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Matched by Ally Condie

Posted by Irish in Uncategorized6 Comments

Publisher: Dutton

Source: Received from Publisher for Review
Publication Date: 01 November 2010
Series or Standalone: Series
ISBN: 0525423648
Format: Paperback (ARC)
Place(s) Traveled to: Mapletree Borough in the Province of Oria
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

First Line: Now that I’ve found the way to fly, which direction should I go into the night?

Related Posts: NA

Series Order
Book 1 – Matched
Book 2 – Crossed (01 Nov 2011)
Book 3 – Untitled (Fall 2012)

I often see Matched by Ally Condie classified as a dystopian novel but that isn’t exactly true. Matched is more of a utopian with elements of dystopia. I’ve even heard a few people refer to Matched as anti-utopian and I think that fits as well. Here’s my reasoning, a utopian novel is one that involves the creation of an ideal world for its setting and a dystopian is the opposite where a nightmare world is created. In Matched, the world as we known it has fallen. We don’t learn why only that it happened and that Cassia’s great-grandmother was part of the creation of the Society – the world that Cassia grew up in. In the Society, everything is controlled and everything is decided based on its most probable outcome in the hopes of keeping everything equal among everyone. Cassia is fine with this. She doesn’t question the rules of the Society as she was raised to follow without thinking.  The Society wants to ban creativity and focus only on what is probable.

 One thing I didn’t like was how there was this assumption made where The Society had been around for what seemed like ever. But in listening to Cassia’s narrative her great-grandmother was on one of the committees when the Society was first forming. So the Society really isn’t all that old. Which just makes it super scary just how quickly this mindless drone-like way of life occurred. As I said above creativity is banned and most people have forgotten how to write. This is scary because you can see the beginnings of this today where more and more schools are eliminating teaching cursive. In fact, there are even some schools here in my home state that are getting ride of text books in favor of tablets like the ipad – tablets like what Cassia and her friends use in school. So I can see how such a Society that Cassia lives in could occur. I can see how our world can easily turn into hers and in some ways that’s where the dystopian aspects of the book comes into play.

What I didn’t like was how Condie kept cheating at narration by making everyone in the book have the ability to read minds. Ok…they weren’t really mind readers but Cassia would think something during a conversation and the person she was with would know without her saying anything just what she was thinking an answer her. Similarly sometimes she just knew something. These moments of telepathy just sort of killed the ability for me as a reader to discover things as everything was just told. There were no secrets. And what few secrets their were I figured out in the first few chapters but then had to wait until the ‘big reveals’ of the climax in order to be proven right. The love triangle between Cassia, Xander and Ky was so bland….much like most of the book. There was no tension and nothing that made me think that any of the characters were in love.

Cassia seemed more curious about the glitch in the system, without which I don’t think she’d have ever started to rebel against her society. That coupled with a conversation she has with an Official makes me wonder just who is really behind Cassia’s awareness. Because I highly doubt she would have been curious about other possibilities if it wasn’t for that glitch that showed her Ky’s face on her match card. Cassia wasn’t much of free thinker – which would bring disappointment to her grandfather and father – but its how she was raised to be. Cassia and her generation are the vision of the ones who decided to make the society. I feel bad blaming Cassia for her actions when her actions are exaction what is expected based on what I know of the Society.

Another thing that bothered me slightly was when Cassia mentioned how most people had blue eyes. Blue is a recessive gene and so I wouldn’t think that it would have survived all the specific breeding that is done. I would have thought that since brown is the dominant eye color that it would win out. Although, artistically speaking brown eyes aren’t as pretty or considered to be an ideal when compared to blue. One rarely sees the swoon worthy male lead in a story with brown eyes – they are usually blue or green of some piercing or sparkling variety. In the case of selective breeding I think that Beth Revis did a good job in Across the Universe in mentioning how those on the ship all ended up with brown hair, brown eyes, and brown  skin (or was it olive? I dunno it was dark than Caucasian) as brown is the dominant gene. But this is the science nerd in me coming out so I shall shut up now.

I know there were other things that I wanted to say but my brain is just not thinking of them right now. In fact, even though I just finished this book a few days ago I’m finding it all a bit forgettable. Usually I am very good at remembering book details but the events of Matched are quickly slipping away. Overall, Matched wasn’t a horrible read. I just found it to be slow and just a wee bit predictable. I think I would have preferred this one to be a standalone because to have another two books just seems like its really going to drag this story out. I’m currently on the fence on if I’ll be reading the others or not. Will have wait to see what the synopses are before deciding…and since I hardly ever read a book synopsis these days that’s kind of a big deal for me.

6 Responses to “Matched by Ally Condie”

  1. Pam

    I think instead of writing a review for this I wrote more of a mantra for the differences in genre. Matched is not a dystopian novel, the next two may very well be but Matched was a Negative Utopia.

  2. Michelle

    I’m right there with you on this one. It was just kinda *meh*. I didn’t find the romatic elements romantic and the story was just so slow. I’m still going to give book two a try because the very end piqued my interest but it won’t be a priority.

  3. Cathy

    It’s always interesting to read a negative review about a book everyone is raving about. I didn’t love it but I didn’t hate it either. Great review by the way. Instead of saying “read this book” or “love it”, you really shared your thoughts. Great job!