Monday, 29 November 2010

Review: Matched by Ally Condie


Publisher: Razorbill
Format: Trade paperback
Released: December 2nd, 2010
Grade rating: A


Amazon summary:

On her seventeenth birthday, Cassia meets her Match. Society dictates he is her perfect partner for life. Except he’s not. In Cassia’s society, Officials decide who people love. How many children they have. Where they work. When they die. But, as Cassia finds herself falling in love with another boy, she is determined to make some choices of her own. And that’s when her whole world begins to unravel...

Review:

Matched is without a doubt one of my favourite books of 2010. I loved every single page, and could have quite easily read the sequel straight away. Unfortunately there's a bit of a wait for that so, as always, I'll have to be patient. I started Matched at about 1am in the morning, and read right through to 7am. I didn't sleep at all that day, and spent my day trip to London (to meet John Green) looking like a zombie out of one of Carrie Ryan's books. It was so worth it though, because there's no way I could have slept without knowing how the first part of Cassia's story ended.

The first thing that struck me about Matched was Ally Condie's writing. I know some people will probably disagree with me, but I thought it was brilliant. Certain passages were so beautifully written that they almost read like poetry, and I couldn't tear my eyes away. It's such a strong start to the series, and you wouldn't guess it was Condie's first dystopian novel. It's SO GOOD.

Condie's world building was also fantastic. The society was mysterious and suffocating, and the idea that choice and free will no longer exists was a scary thought. I think I speak for everyone when I say that a world where you couldn't choose who to marry or how many children to have would be a nightmare. Not to mention the fact that, in Cassia's world, even your death is preordained. Nothing is left to chance, and to me that's the worst thing that could ever happen to individuals in a society. It would lead to mundane existences and a neverending routine filled with rules and regulations. No thanks. I have no idea how Cassia coped with it, though when it's all you've ever known, I guess it's easy to.

At first, I thought Cassia was quite a bland, nondescript character. She didn't seem to have any stand out qualities or memorable traits, though that was before she fell in love with a boy who wasn't her match. I was happy with Cassia's best friend Xander as her match -- they were compatible, they fit well and they knew each other inside out. It wasn't until Ky first appeared that I thought there could be any other person for Cassia. Wow, was I wrong! Matched uses a dangerous, epic love triangle to emphasise the society's role in Cassia's life, and it's beyond anything I was expecting. I couldn't have predicted some of the plot twists if I'd tried, and instead they hit me like a fork of lightning.

Cassia had some ridiculously hard choices to make in Matched; had I been in her shoes I would have crumbled under the pressure and emotional weight of it all. There's no way I could have lived like that and been afraid for my life at the same time. She deals with everything thrown at her, which shows incredible strength of character. By the end of the book I absolutely loved her, as well as the boys and her lovely family. I haven't read a book with such a well-rounded, diverse set of characters for a long time, but in Matched there was no-one I didn't like.

Well, I think that's just about enough gushing from me. Go and get yourself a copy of this as soon as possible if you haven't already. Hopefully you'll love it, and won't forfeit a night's sleep like I did. Until then, here's a tip for you: don't start Matched late at night. You'll thank me in the morning, I promise!

23 comments:

The Slowest Bookworm said...

I'm so glad I have this on my bookshelf now. Great review. Hope you slept better last night!

Emma said...

I was undecided whether to read this one, but I think you've tipped me over to reading it now.

Luisa at Chicklish said...

It's wonderful to hear how much you enjoyed it! Thanks for a great review!
(I hope you don't mind me mentioning, though, that it's not Ally Condie's first book - there's a back catalogue of her teen books out there somewhere!)

prophecygirl said...

Amended, thanks Luisa! I thought her others were MG... no idea why!

SusanKMann said...

This sound great. I'm definetly adding it to my to buy list. x

Luisa at Chicklish said...

Oh hey, maybe they *are* MG! I'm not very good at telling the difference! Eek, sorry!
Anyway, brilliant review. :)

ComaCalm said...

I am really jealous! I want to read this so badly... I'm off to beg for a copy... seriously...

Savannah said...

This book was great. Glad to see you like it. Nice review :)

girlsinthestacks.com said...

I'm giving this one another go this week.

So Many Books, So Little Time said...

Fantastic review, Jenny! I really am going to have to start this soon. And not late at night!

Jesse Owen said...

Fab review - I really can't wait to read this one now :D

Anonymous said...

This sounds really good, can't wait to read it!

Anna said...

Has anyone read this yet and not raved about it? I haven't come across a negative review. I cannot wait to give it a try myself! Glad you loved it.

Willa said...

I have to read this, everybody out there seems to be loving this novel! Thanks for your review

Lauren said...

Brilliant review Jenny, and I totally agree with you about Matched. It's beautifully written, and I was surprised by how lush the writing is compared to other dystopias, which are often quite stark (if that makes sense). Loved it.

Nikoline said...

Wonderful review. Hopefully I'll buy the book around january where I get some money.

Anonymous said...

I am reading this book now and I am having a hard time picking it up. It might have something to do with the fact that I didn't realize that it was a "sci-fi" book when I purchased it. Some of the writing throws me off, and I catch myself wondering why it was written that way. Only about 1/4 of the way through the book..so we will see.

Anonymous said...

LOVED IT! But their should be a warning on it, "Do not read until the next book it out"
It was such a cliffhanger! Do not go gentle

Karen (: said...

I'm so excited to read this book. It sounded really good when I first heard about and even better now. The idea is so unique that you want to see how it plays out.
Unfortunately, lots of other people think that and they're all seemingly ahead of me in my library waiting list for that book. So it will be a long while before I get my hands on this book.

Stacey - The Rainy Day Reviews said...

I loved this book so much.
I read it really quickly, just couldn't put it down.
Personally, I cannot wait until the next book comes out, and it's still a little while away.
But I can't help comparing it to Delirium by Lauren Oliver and thinking it may have lacked a little in comparison.
But I do love this book. I've been plugging it to anyone even remotely interested.

Grace said...

This was such a good book! I loved it! If u liked it u should read The Giver by Louis Lowry

treehugger said...

I loved Matched! the cover is gorgeous, can't wait for Crossed to come out!
Check out my review of Matched:
readingwhiledreaming.blogspot.com

Audra said...

If you're looking forward to reading Crossed, we're giving a signed copy away on our website! http://the-society.net/2011/07/26/win-a-signed-copy-of-crossed-by-allycondie/