Friday, May 13, 2011

Matched by Ally Condie

Cassia has always trusted the Society to make the right choices for her: what to read, what to watch, what to believe. So when Xander's face appears on-screen at her Matching ceremony, Cassia knows with complete certainty that he is her ideal mate . . . until she sees Ky Markham's face flash for an instant before the screen fades to black.

The Society tells her it's a glitch, a rare malfunction, and that she should focus on the happy life she's destined to lead with Xander. But Cassia can't stop thinking about Ky, and as they slowly fall in love, Cassia begins to doubt the Society's infallibility and is faced with an impossible choice: between Xander and Ky, between the only life she's known and a path that no one else has dared to follow.

Cassia has a choice. In a culture where the decisions are made for you and doing as you are told leads to happiness, choices are a rarity. However, the choice Cassia has to make happened accidentally and is practically improbable.

Somehow Cassia gets matched with two boys who are from the same province as she is, both of whom she knows personally. This is a mistake that the society never makes. So what’s going on?

The most fascinating thing about this book is the Society. Ally Condie builds a dystopian society that has full control over the decisions of its citizens. The Society tells them what to eat, where to live, where to work and who they should marry. It’s important that they regulate the lives of their citizens so that they could live a healthy life in harmony with each other. Cassia, after being given two matches, begins to see the hold that the society has on her and the citizens. She begins to experience the dangers and excitement of making her own decisions and doing things the way she wants to - she wants to take control of her own life.

Matched focuses a lot on Cassia and Ky, and though I understand that this seems to be a Ky arc, I wanted to see more of Xander. Xander seemed to be the down to earth and sensible choice, however, Cassia is a teenager caught up in the danger that is being with Ky (now I’m sounding a bit like the society). In focusing on Ky and Cassia’s relationship, it left the world building and Xander’s character - though seemingly nice - a little flat. Putting these things aside though, it was quite enjoyable. I’m really looking forward to seeing what happens to Cassia and Xander as well as the Society. This might be the first dystopian book in which I’m rooting for the government’s choice as opposed to the protagonist’s.

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