From Tracie: Matched

Thursday, October 04, 2012


Matched Book Cover
I want to tell you about Matched without using the words Hunger Games. There are similarities. They are both YA novels with dystopian settings, they both have female lead characters caught up in love triangles, and Matched is the first book of a trilogy. Not typing Hunger Games might be hard. But I think every book deserves a chance to stand on its own at least once.

In Matched, Ally Condie has given us a fluffy read with moments of depth. I read it in one sitting. I cared about the characters (some more than others). I found it to be enjoyable (even the predictable parts).

The love triangle. Cassia is matched by the Society to marry her best friend, Xander. But the next day when she looks at the information the Society gave her about her match, she sees Ky's face on the screen. This is the catalyst for Cassia questioning the Society, and their infallibility. It also builds the love triangle. Cassia is immediately drawn to Ky. Poor Xander is left loving her, and wondering why she suddenly doesn't love him.

Xander is a good guy, and he takes risks for Cassia, even after learning that she loves Ky. The story would have worked just as well if Xander had been a loyal friend who was happy to see Cassia find love. He still could have helped her without being the sad side of a triangle.

The dystopian setting. Is it technically a dystopian world. The Society controls everything from who you marry, to what, and how much, each person eats at every meal, to when each person dies. They have eliminated creative pursuits, and destroyed all but 100 (of each) songs, poems, books, and paintings. Even with those things in place, I didn't really get a hardcore dystopian vibe until the end of the book.

Maybe this says more about me than it does about Condie's world - like things have to be really bad for me to feel that they are bad? But I think it was a combination of the slow reveal, and the comparisons to that other trilogy (the one I'm trying not to name) that are all over the endorsements on the book, that made me feel removed from some of the dystopian aspects.

Something I enjoyed very much - the poem Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night by Dylan Thomas. It was not one of the 100 poems, but Cassia's grandfather has a copy of it written down and gives it to her before he dies. It plays a big part in helping to change her thinking about the Society. I am not generally a poetry person, but I found that this poem really spoke to me and made me want to read more Dylan Thomas.

I would have loved to have been given a complete list of all the 100 things. It would be interesting to see what the Society would have kept. Or what Condie would have picked actually - I would love to hear the reasons behind the things she felt the Society would approve. That is the first thing I would ask about if I was interviewing her. I also want to know more of the history of the Society, and how they came to power.

My overall feelings about Matched. It took some effort to set aside comparisons to The Hunger Games and The Giver that popped up in my mind as I was reading it. I enjoyed the book, and I do want to finish the trilogy. I'm hoping that my questions will be answered. I also hope that Ally Condie will have given up on that whole triangle thing, but I'm not expecting it. One last thing; I love the book cover.

Have you read Matched? Do you like Dylan Thomas?
You can join in the conversation, and find out more about Matched at BlogHer.

*Legal Stuff: This was a paid review for the BlogHer Book Club, and I was provided a copy of the book by BlogHer. The opinions expressed are my own, and I was not required to say nice things.

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