Author: Ally Condie
Series: Matched #1
Published: November 30, 2010
Opening Sentence: “Now that I’ve found the way to fly, which direction should I go into the night?”
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IN THE SOCIETY, OFFICIALS DECIDE.
WHO YOU LOVE. WHERE YOU WORK. WHEN YOU DIE.
Cassia has always trusted their choices. It’s hardly any price to pay for a long life, the perfect job, the ideal mate. So when her best friend appears on the Matching screen, Cassia knows with complete certainty that he is the one…until she sees another face flash for an instant before the screen fades to black. Now Cassia is faced with impossible choices: between Xander and Ky, between the only life she’s known and a path no one else has ever dared follow–between perfection and passion.
I’ve been putting off writing my review for Matched for quite some time. Usually I don’t know what to say when a book is in-between for me, but I really liked this one, so it’s absurd that I’m unsure what I think.
Usually when I read dystopian books I start with the mindset that it wouldn’t be that bad for a society to assign you to a job you’d like and would be good at. Or it wouldn’t be that bad for a society to match you for marriage with someone you’d probably be with at your own conviction should you two cross paths. And then I read the books and wonder what, on Earth, I was thinking.
The Society is so gloriously disturbing because it’s basically repressing people and the people don’t even realize it. The things they have are tossed toward them in just the right way to keep them from asking questions and continue thinking everything is all right. It sucks when a society is plainly fascist, but it’s even worse when it’s a fascist society right under your nose. I didn’t come here to talk politics, though.
I’ll tell you, I was wincing every time I read about the Society incinerating any literature, music, film, et cetera that wasn’t in the 100 whatevers. In fact, this particular aspect of Matched really screamed Fahrenheit 451 at me. (Great book, you should read it.) It’s scary to think about a society that doesn’t have the culture we have now. Who’s to say one poem is more important than another? We’d lose a lot more than just books and movies if our society ever decided to cut down. There’s so much history and knowledge the people of the Society don’t have anymore and I’m sure it’s a big reason they never fight back… because they don’t know they can. (Well, that and the pills they’re given.)
I pretty much loved all aspects of the story of the Society and Cassia’s life. Speaking of Cassia… Okay, fine. I don’t really want to talk about Cassia, but I do want to talk about Ky, because out of all the characters he is absolutely my favorite. (I love Bram and Em too, but in a different way.) Ky is deep and very wise, but he’s quiet and prefers to stay blended in. Ky’s story is a sad one and I couldn’t help feeling connected to him. I’m so excited to read more about his and Cassia’s lives.
For the most part all the characters in this book are deep and complicated and very human. I don’t feel like any of them were dehumanized by the Society, which was wonderful. They still had a full range of emotions and thoughts and, even when it didn’t seem like it, they were thinking about what life would be like without the Society. Even the smallest of characters were dynamic, like the student who never took an order or an answer without asking a question in return. (The Society does not like questions.)
All in all Matched was a very worthwhile book to read and a very good dystopian novel at that. I’m excited that there are two more books and am looking forward to reading them. I’m anxious to find out what happens next. If you’ve never read this series I definitely recommend it… especially if you’re a fan of dystopian literature. You won’t regret it.