Monday, December 6, 2010

Review: Matched by Ally Condie

"Is falling in love with someone's story the same thing as falling in love with the person himself?" pg 196.

I found this quote summed up the entire story for me. Don't get me wrong, Matched is good. The writing is excellent, the world building above par, and Cassia is a unique character. This is just one of those books that, the entire time you read it, you cannot help but compare it to similar books. The port in the house (so the Officials monitor everything)? 1984. The memorization of banned literature? Fahrenheit 451. I felt this book was a lovesong to dystopian literature. That is fine, cause I love dystopian lit! But I will repeat here, as I have said before, dystopia lit only works if the society exists is SO awful it is worth rebelling against. For example, people are drugged, mindless cogs in a machine (Brave New World), people will be killed for going against the government and are watched 24/7 (1984), or the children in the society will be forced to fight to the death in a secure location (Hunger Games) while their parents work themselves to death.

What's the alternative here? Act up and you are sent to the Outer Providences to fight a war that no one seems to know about, or take a pill that wipes your memory?

Here is a society in which all of the mess of life has been removed: all of the drama of relationships, the mess of aging and dying, the drama of career choice. Everything is planned, including meals, all of the time. But Cassia discovers that the Officials make mistakes, and the society as a whole has some problems with it.

My only concern with the story was the lack of personality of Ky, the love interest. We only know what Cassia "thinks" of Ky. His entire personality is heaped on him by Cassia's perspective of his history and his actions in a group. Ky never really tells us anything about himself. I am just not sure he is the spark this story needs to set off a rebellion (that is where this is going, ya?) I wish Cassia was more concerned with the truth of her society. I wish that was her motivating factor, not some silly crush on a guy she has known her entire life but didn't notice until now.

My favorite part of the story was the reaction of Bram and Cassia to having their artifacts removed. Here is the perfect, equal society and these kids are devastated when the one thing they own that sets them apart from everyone else is removed. People become attached to things. I also loved the recurring theme of being a creator of something, art or even the creator of your own name written in the dirt. People need to create, it is one of the things that makes us human. Cassia is a born creator. Even when "sorting" things, Cassia takes pride in her work, and her family's work.

Overall, I look forward to seeing where this goes. It is no Hunger Games, and readers should be aware that the comparisons I keep coming across are incorrect (EW's review this week hinted at Hunger Games elements, and that is a better way to say it). This is a set up for something bigger. The story kind of meanders around, exploring Cassia's world. Again, I think this is great as long as it leads to something much bigger in the next book.


MRB said...

Thanks for the add! :)
And all the secret santa stuff. Loved it! :))