Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Review: Matched by Ally Condie

Title: Matched
Author: Ally Condie
Series: Matched #1
Rating: 3 out of 5 Stars

366 pages
Published 2010 by Razorbill

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Another of the young adult "must read" dystopian list, Matched left me disappointed by the potential that wasn't fulfilled.

In Matched everyone follows the rules of Society. The Society calculates what gives most people a happy life. For example, you die at eighty, no matter what. You get Matched to your life partner by statistics and probabilities. Calorie intake is measured so everyone is healthy and strong. But then something goes wrong, and a mistake is made during Cassia's Matching. Should she trust Society, or think for herself?

I absolutely adored the world building in this one. It was amazing. In contrast to the extremely weird world that was created in DeStefano's Wither, this world is actually likely. I liked the fact that they use science to create boundaries for personal life. The first half of the book, where pretty much all the world building is was extremely well done.

When I started this book I was completely blown away. I thought, this is going to be epic! And then the love triangle happened.

And the worst thing about the love triangle is that Cassia is NOT in love. Let's recap what happened (it's in the blurb, so not a spoiler). The night of her Matching, when she's at home and staring at her screen thingy, she is supposed to see the face of her match, Xander. Xander has been her best friend since forever. But then, another face lights up! And it's Ky, a guy she has known since forever but never thought was interesting!

And from that moment all she can think about is Ky, Ky, Ky. O wait, I shouldn't think about Ky but Xander! Ky. Ky.

She NEVER had ANY interest in the guy, and then she sees his picture and she's head over heels for him. If Cassia was one of my friends I'd smack her. Seriously.

Even though Ms Condie is amazing in the world building department, she isn't that strong in the character building. Almost every single character is rather bland and just a "filler". The worst thing for me is that Ky was an extremely bland character. How can we fall in love with him if he's nothing but someone with a pretty bad past? Boo hoo, your parents were killed. That's not a reason to fall in love with someone.

I'm so for Xander. At least he's smart and brave, something Ky doesn't have going for him. But, Cassia treats Xander like shit for the whole book. Since they're Matched, they're boyfriend and girlfriend, but Cassia only wants to spend time with Ky, hold his hand, whisper poetry in his ear. And the whole while she thinks "oh yeah, I know what I'm doing is bad. I should tell Xander, but to be honest I don't feel like it now. I'll tell him in a few weeks when I've cheated on him several times". Where is their big friendship? How could you ever treat your best friend this way?

First half of this book was amazing, the second half a chore. There are so many faults in this book (people can read, but can't write) that I could go on and on. Overall, it was a big meh. I don't think I'll read the second book in the series, since I see where this is going and it's not a direction I'll like. My secret hope is that Ky dies because of the Society and Cassia remembers that Xander was her love all along. But since no such thing will probably happen, I'll stick to other books.

If you can tolerate stupid love triangles, I'd recommend Matched. The world is to die for.


Cassia has always trusted the Society to make the right choices for her: what to read, what to watch, what to believe. So when Xander's face appears on-screen at her Matching ceremony, Cassia knows with complete certainty that he is her ideal mate... until she sees Ky Markham's face flash for an instant before the screen fades to black.

The Society tells her it's a glitch, a rare malfunction, and that she should focus on the happy life she's destined to lead with Xander. But Cassia can't stop thinking about Ky, and as they slowly fall in love, Cassia begins to doubt the Society's infallibility and is faced with an impossible choice: between Xander and Ky, between the only life she's known and a path that no one else has dared to follow.

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Kelsey said...

I got the same kind of feeling for the first book as well, it was a great world but could have been more with the rest of the book.
If you felt this way for the first, you probably won't like the second any more. It wasn't bad, but just kind of "this is happening now, ok".

Celine said...

Yeah, I read some more reviews of the second one, especially those containing spoilers, but it looks like I won't like it. So I'm staying clear of it (: I am interested in how this series is going to end though... So if you maybe read Reached, let me know!

pooja_sat said...

Too bad you didn't love this one, Celine. I really liked Matched... especially loved the world building as much as you did! And Crossed was a rollercoaster of a ride. The love triangle didn't bother me but I can see how it might. Lovely review, Celine!

Ashley Prince said...

Hmmm. Yep. I don't think I would be able to handle this one.

Ellie Warren said...

I'm starting to think I have to avoid the really buzzy YA books. I seem to like the ones that do OK but aren't the must read of the moment and then when there's one everyone is reading, and I give in pressure, I'm usually disappointed.

Celine said...

It's such a pity I couldn't get around the love triangle, because the world building was one of the best I've ever seen. Oh well. Glad you liked it, and thanks for the kind words (:

Celine said...

I really feel like saying to people "just read the first half! that one's really good!"

Celine said...

Yeah, I'm starting to think the same thing. Especially with the dystopian must read YA books; so far I only liked one hyped series, the one by Veronica Roth. The others like Matched or Wither were just meh. I got Delirium on my TBR, and I'm quite scared to be disappointed once again

Andrea Modolo said...

I'm trying to get out of the whole dystopian genre right now, they all seem to go the same way. I completely agree with you, I would kick my friend if they started to be interested in someone just because their picture showed up. This was one series that I just have not been interested in, glad to hear that Condie has great world building though. Thanks for the review!

Celine said...

Thanks for stopping by Andrea (: Yes, it seems like dystopian books are the new vampire books. Quite some writers are just chucking them out there, and to be very honest quite a few of them needed some more work. There are a few really good ones though, like For Darkness Shows the Stars & Divergent. But yeah, most of them are just the same.

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