You may have noticed I'm trying something different...
Yes, I am being a poser and posing next to the book that I am reviewing. Something new ;)
Here's the controlled and society written blurby-blurb!
'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.'
Yes, another YA novel about being in a Utopian/Dystopian world and about love triangles and being the cataclysm for freedom and rebellion (No, this book is not the Hunger Games/Divergent/Twilight/Maze Runner/Mortal Instruments/Anything else in the YA adult genre for a while now) I'm a sucker for YA novels! I also really like Dystopian/Apocalyptic, so I frequently search that genre :P Can't blame me for digging through the bad ones to find the greats.
So let's not avoid it anymore!
- The Society wants you to know that venturing beyond this point will put you at risk of spoiling this book for yourself, and making it so that your happiness will be fleeting. Passing beyond this point will risk treason and punishment by knowing what happens in it. The Society wants you to know that there are spoilers in this review -
I had been staring at this book series after hearing that Ally Condie was a mormon. It's always interesting to see famous mormons and their work.
So one day, when that time of the month came around when I had enough money to buy a trilogy set (Or multiple stand alone books), this time it was the Matched Trilogy. I bought it online, from The Book Depository, which a website which sells books at a cheap price (If I went to Dymocks, it's normally $20+ for a book that I'm after, whereas on the Book Depository it's somewhere between $10-15 and free shipping worldwide) but none of my friends have read it...so I was really going in blind into this trilogy :)
Young Adult novel covers are not normally my favourite - They're awkward, badly CGIed copy/pasted, with a dramatically posed teen on the front (If it's a girl, normally in a long dress, if it's a guy, normally standing with his back towards us and destruction further off in the distance)
While I'm not too fond of the Matched covers, I do like the symbolism (If you go through the books, the girl on the cover breaks out of the glass ball. Symbolic of her breaking out and rebelliously uprising from the Society) and the minimalistic colour scheme.
But that doesn't discredit the fact that it's still a pretty average book series cover. It doesn't really grab at you, and compared to some other books that you can find, it will be brushed over.
It's definitely something that can blend into the rest of the genre, but it does what its job is - to tell what the story is about while still remaining mysterious/intriguing. It definitely reaches out for teenagers who like the idea of love triangles though!
Cassia lives in a Dystopian society which controls nearly every aspect of life - What you eat, when you eat, what your activities are during the day, what you wear, and even what career you will inevitably have.
When Cassia's seventeenth passes, the society hosts a matching ceremony where girls and boys become paired to the one who they are most compatible and best paired with. Most don't know their Match, usually being from different provinces or towns, and spend time getting to know each other until 21, where they decide whether to get married to their Match, or remain single. Cassia is matched to Xander, her best friend from her own town which is rare.
But when Cassia learns more about Xander through Society's microcard, it glitches and reveals another boy's face named Ky who lives in her province, but is an aberration, someone who has been revoked of citizen status and cannot marry. Cassia is understandably confused, but when a Society Official visits Cassia and tries to clear the glitch, her suspicions further.
Cassia begins to spend more time with Ky as both of their summer recreation activity is hiking. They begin to share poems with each other, which can be a dangerous infraction in the Society, but they promise to keep each other's secret. As they begin to develop a blossoming friendship, her sharing her poems and him teaching her how to write her name and other words in the dirty, they start to fall in love. Cassia questions the Society's system, and if they're truly correct in their ways.
First of all, I can't stand every single character. Call it what you will, either I'm getting older and sick of all the teen angst, or I just expect more from these characters, but I couldn't stand them. I've been noticing a lot more recently that I'm having a harder time liking YA novels, and very rarely finding the good amidst all the poorly written ones. Maybe my style of genre has just changed, or maybe the quality has gone down after the YA genre sparked with John Green's The Fault In Our Stars. I don't know what it is, but it's. so. angsty.
The plot reminds me a lot of The Giver by Louis Lowry, with a Dystopian Society that controls people to every minor detail. I love when plots like these are done well, but rarely are they. You have this main character that is so boring, so vapid, and very clearly meant to be a blank place for the reader to self insert. The world that Ally Condie created was fascinating; A world where they wanted to scientifically have the best population of humans possible, destroying certain sicknesses and limiting the amount of children each family could have to control population levels. Plants are only planted if they have a purpose, otherwise they are seen as defective and destroyed. Society picks the Top 100 of everything - art, music, movies, written word, and destroys the rest. It's a beautifully logical but tragic plot.
And yet...it just became a love triangle in the end. Cassia constantly talking about Ky, and what Ky is like, and wondering if Ky likes her, and if she'll end up with Ky, but at the same time she loves Xander but knows it's not the same kind of passionate love it is with Ky. It simply became too predictable. And I wanted to love this book so much, I truly did. Something about it allured me, and made me eager to see what was within the hardcovers. But it came down to the same algorithm of writing a YA novel with a female protagonist and more than one love interest -
A young female, with a best friend guy that she gets along with great and even considers a bit of a catch, meets a new guy who is absolutely perfect and who is instantly taken with her and their love is passionate but she still feels loyalty and a love for her best friend, who is seemingly the underdog. Throw in the backdrop of a world which she lived in but never took a step back and looked at with an analytic view for once, that has a society which controls its people and everything else it does. A rebellion is on the verge, but it takes one young female with the guy she loves to set it all off and to bring society as they know it crumbling. Now interchange that with any recent YA novel.
Cassia Reyes: Why is it so hard to write a female protagonist that is not so two dimensional?! REALLY? There were many times where I just didn't want to read from Cassia' perspective, because it only ever talked about guys or it would become whiny. I get whiny, but whiny needs to stop after a while. The world she knew is crumbling apart and tearing at the seams, but yet all she can focus on is just the guys? Ugh. UGH.
Xander Carrow: The typical perfect, amazing, entirely dreamy guy. Every girl in the province is in love with him, and he can do no wrong. Absolutely. He's one of those guys written to be the perfect match so he can seem the greatest option ever. I found him to have a really sad story, to be honest. He was really written to be a plot device, in a way, and it was kind of boring? Xander really did get screwed over by Cassia.
Ky Markham: If you ever twisted series like Twilight around, where the underdog actually has a chance with the female protagonist and doesn't completely get pushed aside because of the gorgeous brunette (The best friend is USUALLY the blonde), you'd get Ky Markham. He was probably the only character that I could probably handle a bit. Ky is one of those characters that was quite dimensional. He had a past, a story to tell, a secret to keep, and a girl to love but wasn't allowed.
- The Dystopian city. It's so intriguing to see what a world would look like when Society wants everything scientifically perfect.
- Ky Markham is a pretty well written character, I believe. I actually liked him a lot.
- The idea of a matching ceremony; Who would be my perfect match? What would he be like?
Things I Didn't Like:
- Why is that I don't ever really like main characters? They always feel so vapid, so shallow and never fully developed.
- Love. Triangles. I cannot stand them and why are they even a thing and why do they exist and who even likes them?!
- The constant love talk or lovey doveyness. Like, oh my gosh, shuttup. Society is crumbling and a rebellion is beginning and you're talking about PUPPY LOVE?! *screeches and slams fists on table*
I'm rating Matched a 5.5 out of 10. I can't say that I absolutely hate it, but I can't love it either. It's a complicated mess of goods and bads. That's generally how I feel about every YA novel though at this point in time :\
“Every minute you spend with someone gives them a part of your life and takes part of theirs.”
― Ally Condie, Matched
“Do not go gentle.”
― Ally Condie, Matched