Matched by Ally Condie is the first book in Matched Trilogy by a former English teacher. It was first published on 30th of November, 2010 and since then has been translated and published and is widely popular. Now, all the books in the trilogy are out, but I’m only starting with the first one.
Matched is set in future where the Society controls everything in you life, starting with your occupation and ending with your meals. Every person in Society is always watched and is framed and then matched with perfect activities, perfect job, perfect… love of his/her life…
Matching ceremony happens to everyone who is in the higher caste (they are not called castes per say, but I think this word explains the situation well) and has agreed to be Matched and just like in that episode of How I Met Your Mother, the computer shows your perfect Match. You get help to meet and talk and after all a choice to spend your life together with the person you’ve been Matched to.
The story begins with Cassie being Matched with two persons, by mistake, by a glitch or an evil matchmaker who has decided to play God, nobody knows… The mystery is real and struggling through her relationships and feelings, Cassie starts to doubt her Society and wonders, if having no choice is the right choice to make.
This book had both good sides and bad sides, I should start with that. It wasn’t what I expected to be (read: young adult love romance set in future) and because of that it surprised me a lot. But at the same time, the story was slow and uniform for my taste.
The main story line for me wasn’t clear even when I was half way into the book and it seemed that it didn’t even have any and that made it slightly hard to read as I as a reader didn’t really have a goal or anticipation for settlement of the events. Later though I started to get the plot – main story line was the love story and the story of their country being in trouble. That gave me some sort of feeling of having a goal, but it was too late.
In my opinion Cassie’s relationships with everyone were evolving too slow, it made it boring and hard to pick the book up again. I understand that the writer wanted the feelings to sink in, but she definitely overdid it a bit (at least for me).
I was really interested in the country and government and would have liked some more information on it. I read in one review that the setting was basically taken from another book, but as I haven’t read ‘the other book’ I don’t care about that much. As I said the politics seemed interesting and I would have appreciated to have more attention on that and less on the hand touching and fear of being seen.
I’m little tired of all the future society’s that have destroyed the cultural heritage, though. I see how it makes sense, but at the same time, can someone be different?
And speaking of the books it reminded me of Brave New World. I don’t know why, perhaps the tablets and the air transportation and some other details made me think about this book and dystopias in general…
Honestly I actually see so much difference between this book and The Selection which are both claimed to be dystopian books. This book is not as much about love, romantics, as it is about way of thinking and feeling of what is right and what is wrong, but at the same time, main part of the book is about love. It has philosophy in it and deeper though to the actions, which makes me think of the fact that author is English teacher and actually knows classics. It seems almost as she tried to lull the young minds into reading this book by saying that she will give romance and hoping that they will see past it.
Although I am saying that the story was flat, I though that the characters were awesome. Yes, they were all smart and strong, but at the same time, even, if they were smart and strong, the author did develop them very well, based on each one’s back story. And it was just amazing, because you could see their struggles, you could feel what seems right to you and you think that Cassie or her mother should do the same, but then they do complete opposite, because that keeps them safe, because even though they are smart, the are also afraid. At those moments one can look at himself and think that you might know the right proceeding, but would you do that, if you would be in the exactly the same situation?
I’m a bit disappointed that Officials were described so plainly, there were few that returned in Cassie’s life over time, but I couldn’t remember them, because there weren’t any distinct quality’s that would remind me that – ‘Oh, that’s the one!’
The book ended on a kind of cliffhanger, I didn’t really feel like it was a real cliffhanger as in the last chapter we were prepared for what will happen. I don’t really know what will happen in next book, but I am not dying to read it. At the same time, although I enjoyed the first Selection book more than this book, I am sure that this book left more traces of it in my life and I will be thinking about it time after time.
This book received three stars from five on my goodreads page and I would recommend it to adults, I guess or to those who are planning to get into serious stories of this type like Fahrenheit 451, Brave New World, 1984, but feel like those are too heavy to start with. As well as some romance fans might like it, as the relationships are built so slow, that you can practically feel all the touches and thoughts.
Why has no one before thought about a different model of world in this book and there are no clear rebels? That’s something no one ever answers, I guess it all has to start somewhere.
Even in modern world not all have the chance to choose their workplace, wife or destiny, there are rebels, but there’s still the system.