Monday, May 26, 2014

Book Review: Matched by Ally Condie

Matched  Discussion
Title: Matched
Series: Matched, Book #1
Author: Ally Condie
Hardcover, 369 pages
Published November 30th 2010 by Dutton Juvenile
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Recommendation.  I would suggest this book to readers who enjoyed the Delirium trilogy by Lauren Oliver or the Uglies series by Scott Westerfield.  Also, if you read the Divergent or The Hunger Games for the romantic part, I think you’ll like Matched, but if you read them for the action and adventure, this probably isn’t the book for you.  If you like dystopian books where society has highly advanced technologies and lots of control over its people then try this one on for size.

Summary.
7735333The government known as “The Society” has a strong hold on Cassia’s life.  The Society decides who she marries, what her job will be, how she will spend her leisure time, and how much she is allotted at each meal.  Even though Cassia’s life has few freedoms, she is comfortable and content.  At the age of 17 all citizens who chose to marry are matched with their mate at the choosing ceremony.  Cassia is pleasantly surprised that she is matched with her childhood best friend, Xander Carrow.  All seems to be perfect in Cassia’s world until she tries to pull up the Match files of Xander, and someone else’s face appears for a split second—Ky Markham. Cassia is told seeing Ky’s face is just a glitch and nothing to be worried about, but Cassia mind now starts to wander away from Xander and a perfectly planned future to Ky and the unknown

Review.
I finished this book about a week ago.   The book was okay, not great.  At for about a week I hadn’t planned on picking up the next installment of this series.  But I’ve been wondering about what happened to Ky and Cassia—so I may have to read it.

Likes.
·        I really like Cassia’s grandfather and their relationship. The way that Cassia looks up to him is sweet.  I like how important it was to her to tell him about the Match Ceremony and the mixed-up.
·        I like that Cassia goes from one extreme to another, but then settles in the middle. She first thinks “The Society is flawless”, and then “The Society is pure evil”, but then realizes nothing is perfect or purely wrong. Those extreme feelings towards the society seem authentic for a teenager to have.
·        I like that even if you root for Ky Markham, your heart aches for Xander.  Xander is a good guy and I didn’t want him to be hurt by Cassia.  Ally Condie may not be the best at painting a dystopian world, but she knows how create a love triangle.
·        I like Cassia’s family dynamic.  She loves her brother even though he’s younger and annoying.  She also loves her parents even through their shortcomings, and it is evident they love each other too.
·        I like that her family and friends (mostly Em) also begin to question the Society throughout the book.  It makes them less one-dimensional.

Dislikes.
·        All the “dystopian” elements seem overused.  There’s nothing new about this book.  I like dystopian novels, but a great one brings something new to the table.  Everything about this book seems to be a rip-off of either The Giver by Lois Lowry or other dystopian books and movies. I’m not saying that authors shouldn’t be inspired by other books, but at least come up with one original thought.  There are many, many better dystopian books out there.
·        I feel like The Society would have never let Ky into Cassia’s community, because his old community is so different then community that Cassia lives in.  By letting Ky into this society they are essentially inviting chaos.  At any point he could tell others about his old community and how it is worse than his new community.
·        The idea of the pills is a little ridiculous.
o   The ominous red tablet seems a little silly, why would people be responsible of a tablet they can’t take without permission.  It seems a little dumb and farfetched.  The only time a citizen is allowed to take the pill is if you are instructed to by an Official.  Wouldn’t it make more since for the officers to be the only one with access to the red pill? 
o   The blue tablets are for survival; they have enough nutrients to live of off for a few days. Why is that necessary?  They live in a highly modern community when the Society takes care of everything.  There’s no reason why they would need a saving tablet. To me, it seems like having the blue tablet would make them think, “At some point the Society may not take care of me.”  This would cause the citizens to trust the Society less, and seems counterproductive. 
o   Green tablet is a downer, it calms the user down in much the same way Xanax would.  This is the only one that makes any sort of sense, why is this not the only pill?

·        Em seems a little obnoxious.  Em’s personality annoys me; she seems needy and overly apologetic.  If I was Cassia, I would have told Em to “shut up” a long time ago.
·        The fact that it took Cassia the entire book to realize that her grandfather’s food was poisoned was just stupid.  It took me all of .006 seconds to come to that conclusion.
·        I was never quite sure what a Sorter does.  I don’t think it was explained quite clearly.  It seems like it’s an unnecessary job with all the computers programs available.
·        I understand why the citizens aren’t allowed to write (it’s another way for the society to control and monitor them); they are only allowed to type.  I just feel like Cassia would be able to look at the words on a computer screen and be able to teach herself how to write if she wanted it.  I don’t think she actually needed Ky to teach her.

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