Sunday, 21 November 2010

Review: Matched by Ally Condie

  Matched by Ally Condie

Series: Book 1 of  3
Genre: Sci-Fi > Dystopian
Age Group:12+ (Young Adult)
Publisher: Penguin
Release Date: 3rd of December, 2010
Format: Paperback , 384 pages
ISBN: 9780525423645
Source: Incredible thanks to Erin at Penguin for my cherished review copy.
Cover love? Futuristically simple and gorgeous, definitely one of the best covers out there.

Matched by Ally Carter, the book that publishers fought over, the book that landed an awesome seven figure deal, the book that has the blogosphere buzzing, is coming soon.

Needless to say, Matched is one of the most anticipated YA books of the year. For the last couple of months, there have been whispers and rumours about a new dystopian novel that promises to blow your mind. Five star reviews have been awarded by early readers, Youtube videos have been circulated, and top secret photos of Matched ARCs have been fawned over, gasping at, and Matched is holding first place at the top of many wishlists. Get ready, because…

Paranormal is out.
Dystopia is in.
And Matched is finally here.

In the Society, Officials decide. Who you love. Where you work. When you die.

Cassia has always trusted their choices. It’s barely 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.

Matched is a story for right now and storytelling with the resonance of a classic.


When an upcoming series has received as much attention as Matched has, the expectations are extremely high. Nowhere near as sky high as the expectations were for Harry Potter 7, or Mockingjay or Last Sacrifice, but still somewhere skywards. But see, the book would never have received so much buzz if the publishers had not thought it worthy of the praise. But did the book deliver for me?

Matched is a dystopian novel, set in a future where the Society has absolute control over their people, and determine their lives - "Who you love. Where you work. When you die." It's a chilling vision of the future, where there's no freedom to love, and posessions are rare. but at it's heart, Matched is a story about the power and courage within each individual to fight for the freedom to be with loved ones.

I love Ally Condie's writing. It's so simple and truthful, and conveys this story perfectly. When you read Ally Condie, you can almost imagine what the Society would be like - stark and white, sinisterly meticulous. Cassia's voice is so, so convincing, and the word imagery is beautiful. The way Cassia's curiosity and desire for more poetry makes me appreciate the written word so much more. Inspiring stuff.

Matched approaches dystopia in a different way. Instead of focusing on rebellion, chaos and restriction (which was astoundingly effective in The Hunger Games), she placed emphasis on the symbolic meaning behind simple things such as poetry, artifacts passed through generations, and the power of love.

Speaking of love, this book centralises on the love triangle between Cassia, her 'perfect Match' and best friend Xander, and Ky, the mysterious boy she begins to love instead. The romance painted here is like a peaceful breeze in the stormy passion we usually read in young adult novels. And while it is refreshing to read a book where the romance is kid-friendly, it is difficult to connect with. The love story is intended to be central to Matched, but so little happens that it just didn't draw me in. I didn't get lost in the whirlwind of emotions, because while Matched was sweet, I didn't feel the relationships.

However, I'm a lover of dystopia and anything sci-fi, so I wanted a dystopia that was rich in history, society, political hierarchy, science and technology. Instead, Matched is more about culture, the arts and poetry. It's not highly futuristic science fiction, or a full-scale rebellion against an oppressive government, but about the power of a girl to resist restrictions and find the courage to be free.

Unexpectedly soulful and beautiful, Matched inspires in me the hope and courage to pursue my dreams, and gives me belief that I can get there.

P.S. Matched is a planned trilogy. All seriousness aside...OH YEAH!!