Tuesday, February 15, 2011


MatchedMatched Ally Condie

In the Society everything is regulated and controlled. In their 17th year, teenagers are matched-- assigned their spouse. Cassia is lucky in that she's matched with her best friend, Xander. Not only is it extremely rare to be matched with someone from your town-- someone you actually know, but Xander's a great guy and Cassia couldn't be happier, even if she is a bit nervous about how this changes their friendship and relationship.

But, after the matching banquet, Cassia sticks in the microcard to learn more about Xander (not that there's anything else to know, but... well... you would too), but it's not Xander's face, it's Ky's. An Official comes to her that night, already knowing what's happened, saying someone played a cruel joke and to forget it. Ky can never be Matched-- his father was an Anomaly (and Anomalies are dangerous), making Ky an Aberration. Cassia's known Ky for most of her life, but now she starts to really see him and starts to fall in love.

Cassia's never questioned Society, but she can't choose Ky, and as she learns more of his backstory, and sees the actions of her parents and Grandfather, she starts to see cracks in the perfection.

In their review of Delirium, Forever Young Adult said "Y’all, I’ve been growing a bit weary of dystopia, esp. since it’s the new vampire." And you know what, IT'S TRUE.

So much dystopia lately. And I'm not anti-dystopia, I actually love it, but there's just been a lot lately. I can't read it all.

Then YALSA-BK had a conversation last month about books we didn't like and a lot of commentators said that Matched had been over-hyped and didn't live up to the hype. I already had it checked out and it was overdue, which I see more as a challenge to READ IT NOW rather than a "just return it and get it later" because apparently I have a messed-up brain (but you regular readers knew that already, didn't you?)

ANYWAY! Between the claims of it being over-hyped and dystopia burnout, I was a little trepidatious but so many people I tend to have similar tastes with loved it and...

I did, too. It doesn't break a lot of new ground-- there's a reason I keep seeing it compared to The Giver-- their societies are very, very similar. But I liked Cassia's awakening, and I liked the tension. I liked that neither Ky nor Xander were perfect, but they also weren't bad boys. Both were excellent choices, which made the tension that much more awesome. I liked the underground economy in deleted material and I liked the ending.

I also liked that, yes, there will be a sequel (it's a trilogy) but this book stands by itself perfectly well. I'll read the next one because I liked this one, but I don't need another one.

Also, I like this trend towards planned trilogies instead of loooooooooooong series. We get a few books to revisit favorite characters and worlds, but aren't strung along For.Ever.

Book Provided by... my local library

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Anonymous said...

I'm not sure I really like the current emphasis on trilogies. It might be better than drawn-out series, like you said, but deciding what to read feels more like a commitment when you know you have to wait a while for the next books. I worry that the merits of a good stand-alone book are getting lost. I also wonder what it must be like for budding writers, to feel they need to produce enough of a plan for three books all at once, without even knowing if the first will be successful.
I do like getting to see enjoyable characters again, but like you said, it shouldn't feel like there needs to be more.

Anonymous said...

What a coincidence, I was just thinking about why there are so many dystopian stories lately, and why I keep reading them. I will probably end up "burning-out" as you said. Also, I agree with you about the whole series vs. trilogies. But, I'm still wishing each book in the trilogy could be more of a stand-alone and not so agonizing.

Sherrie Petersen said...

I loved this book. I read an ARC before hearing any hype and just fell in love with the story. I was so impressed with how she subtly amped up the tension in every chapter. I couldn't stop turning pages until I got to the end. And thank goodness it wasn't one of those horrible cliff hanger non-endings. This part of the story had it's conclusion, but I'm still eager to read the next one.