Friday, July 13, 2012

Review: Matched by Ally Condie

Title: Matched (Matched #1)
Author: Ally Condie
Release Date: November 30, 2010
Publisher: Dutton Juvenile
Buy: Amazon / Barnes & Noble
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.
Absolutely Fascinating!!
I knew I wanted to jump into the Matched series when it first came out in 2010, but I made a conscious decision to wait until the final installment was close to being released before diving into this dystopic adventure. See, speaking from experience, I tend to get impatient having to wait for book releases when I dive into a series that involves intricate world-building, characters I tend to get attached to, and plots that keep me awake at night. Oh and let’s not forget cliffhangers that feel like I was punched in the gut when I turn the last page. It becomes difficult waiting for the next fix and my dramatics are not pretty… let me tell you. So I’d rather be blissfully ignorant in what I’m missing out on and wait to enjoy the series in its entirety, or close to it. Well, I’m patting myself on the back as we speak because I was exactly right in my decision. I am hooked and I’m so glad I don’t have to wait out TWO years to see this series unfold. 

I just finished the first installment and to say this has jumped to the top of my YA Dystopic faves is pretty spot on. I loved the writing, the flow, the characters, and the steady pull into this world that makes me question the fine line between Utopia and Dystopia.

I mean let’s consider what Ally Condie delivers in Matched. She creates a world where everyday decisions are handled by “The Society.” Men and women are given pills at varying stages of their life for specific purposes, they are matched at the age of 17 to “their perfect partner” that will yield optimal results, their meals are delivered to them to ensure proper nutrition and health, even the age when they can bear children and die is decided for them.

Even more grappling is that “The Society” has taken it upon themselves to create a “controlled environment” where a person’s occupation is determined for them and all external stimuli is measured in conscious efforts. To achieve this, they’ve destroyed books, paintings, songs, etc and chosen to keep 100 of each based on “The Society’s” opinion of what they feel is appropriate for their citizens’ well being.

Well all this controlled perfectness comes crumbling down slowly but surely when Cassia is matched to her perfect partner and long time friend Xander. When she views her match card to learn more about the decision, another citizen’s face appears. Ky’s image is displayed on her screen for the briefest of moments. Knowing it’s a mistake, The Society and Cassia become involved in a dangerous dance of manipulation where you begin to wonder who really has control in this game.

Several classics came to mind when I was reading this story, but where Fahrenheit 451, The Giver, and 1984 scared me to pieces with their daunting possibilities, Condie masterfully enthralled me with her graceful storytelling, while keeping her harsh realities well hidden beneath layers or beautiful prose.

Condie has achieved for me what several authors have failed recently due to over use and lack of originality. She created a love triangle that in the end, I’m rooting for both Xander and Ky. They were both so likeable and convincing in their sincerity and actions, and continued to be so until the end, so now I have no clue how I want this to unfold. As much as I liked both Ky and Xander’s character, I appreciated the tension that was created in this well constructed triangle.

Cassia is a perfect narrator in this first installment because as Condie builds her world, she uses a character that has bought into The Society’s charter, but is manipulated and ultimately stripped of the trust she once had leaving her to question how she can break free from this hold they have on her.

Well, it’s probably no surprise that I’m quickly and eagerly jumping into the next installment because this has truly captured my attention. I’m excited to hear that I’ll experience some different perspectives from another character in the next book Crossed. Well done!

5 Snowflakes

Here is just a peak of what I’m starting next and what I’ll be pining for when I’m done with book two. So, if you haven’t checked out Ally Condie’s Matched Series, take a look at what you’re missing out on! A definite hit for fans of YA Dystopia.

Currently Available

Title: Crossed (Matched #2)
Author: Ally Condie
Release Date: November 1, 2011
Publisher: Dutton Juvenile
Buy: Amazon / Barnes & Noble

Chasing down an uncertain future, Cassia makes her way to the Outer Provinces in pursuit of Ky--taken by the Society to his sure death--only to find that he has escaped into the majestic, but treacherous, canyons. On this wild frontier are glimmers of a different life and the enthralling promise of a rebellion. But even as Cassia sacrifices everything to reunite with Ky, ingenious surprises from Xander may change the game once again.
Narrated from both Cassia's and Ky's point of view, this hotly anticipated sequel to Matched will take them both to the edge of Society, where nothing is as expected and crosses and double crosses make their path more twisted than ever.

Final Installment Coming November 13, 2012!

Title: Reached (Matched #3)
Author: Ally Condie
Release Date: November 13, 2012
Publisher: Dutton Juvenile
Pre-order: Amazon / Barnes & Noble

Cassia faces the ultimate choices in the long-anticipated conclusion to the New York Times bestselling Matched Trilogy

After leaving Society and desperately searching for the Rising—and each other—Cassia and Ky have found what they were looking for, but at the cost of losing each other yet again: Cassia has been assigned to work for the Rising from within Society, while Ky has been stationed outside its borders. But nothing is as predicted, and all too soon the veil lifts and things shift once again.

In this gripping conclusion to the #1 New York Times bestselling Matched Trilogy, Cassia will reconcile the difficulties of challenging a life too confining, seeking a freedom she never dreamed possible, and honoring a love she cannot live without.
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  1. Awesome review - thank you! I have this book sitting on my shelf waiting to be read. I've heard some mixed things about it so it's totally awesome to see such a rave review!

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