Series: Matched #1
Also in this series: Crossed, Reached
Published by Dutton Books on November 30th 2010
Genres: Dystopia, Romance, Science fiction, Young Adult
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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.
I LOVED this book. I wasn’t sure I was going to. I half-heartedly considered it for a long time. It wasn’t even on my TBR. But I saw that my library had the full trilogy, so I thought, why not. My friend wasn’t a fan. This book had mixed reviews. But in the end, SO WORTH IT.
I am always a fan of dystopians. This book actually reminded me a lot of The Giver, but a more YA version. It did have a love triangle, but the good part was that it shifted from that into forbidden love pretty quickly. In a lot of books there’s the best-friend-turned-boyfriend vs. the mysterious-attractive-stranger, but sometimes the best friend just stays a best friend, and that feels right. (The opposite happened in Wicked Lovely, though, so either works. It just depends on the feelings you get.) Pretty much from the beginning I got the feeling that I wanted Xander to stay best friend material. And it seemed to me from the way that Cassia felt about him that she didn’t have strong feelings for him either. So that took away the usual love-triangle frustration. Still, forbidden love is excruciating…but in a good, promising, hopeful way.
I wasn’t really sure what drew her to Ky in the beginning- and she wasn’t either. It took a bit to figure that out. But I know myself, and it was simple- good looks, sensitivity, a tortured past. That’s pretty much all I need. And Cassia fell for his story as well. No matter how they noticed each other- as long as they recognized what they had was true. I also liked that she didn’t feel like she had to lie and say, ‘oh I loved you at first sight’ or anything like that. All that romantic cliché stuff. Sometimes the truth is just better.
One of the things I like about dystopians is that they usually have great messages that we wouldn’t think about with contemporary issues. Generally, it’s about choice. I wrote about this in my review of The Giver, so I won’t go too much into detail here, but as usual it’s a big deal in this novel. Here, though, it’s really more about choice of partner than anything else. Whether people truly fall in love with their Matches and if they would fall for each other if they haven’t been Matched and all that. How much control affects choice and if it’s really control or simply a suggestion, a possibility, a probability, or inevitability. That’s something that plagues Cassia, at least for a while. She wanted it to be genuine. It took her a bit to realize that how it started didn’t matter as much, as long as they felt it was genuine.
The actual dystopian world is not all that unusual (as far as dystopians go), except for a few things. Like the fact that they couldn’t hand-write and they only kept 100 of each elements of the past- history, songs, paintings, poems, stories, etc. And that they were strangely obsessed with equality- or at least, that’s what they said. They did not like to emphasize the past. But aside from that, things were pretty expected. Society had all kinds of strange rules like no running outside and no being late (both resulted in a citation). People had to carry 3 tablets with them, all with different purposes. The Society controlled Matches, vocations, death, food, pretty much everything. For the average citizen, there was no way to create things, only sort them or destroy them. No creativity.
In this book there is much less focus on war or rebellion, but since there is a hint I expect more in the rest of the series. This book is mostly about Cassia and Ky and the discovery that the Society’s control is bad. Cassia kinda wants to end it, but first, she wants a way to make sure she and Ky are safe.
All in all, this book is a great setup. Great (if not spectacular) world-building. Good characterization. I know who Cassia is, and I could see her changing a bit. Ky too, if not as much. Even Xander. Even her parents. Good plot- even if it’s predictable, mostly, there’s no doubt in my mind that I want to see where it’s going and I want to see it through to a happy ending. Sometimes it’s the journey that’s the best part.
“I am not used to seeing someone suffer. I turn away.”
This is Before Cassie. Before she starts questioning things. This line just really struck me. It’s the opposite of what I would do. I can’t stand to see suffering, but it’s in my nature to comfort.
“Did the poet know how lucky he was, to have such beautiful words and a place to put them and keep them?”
Honestly, the writing in this book was generally lovely. There were all kinds of quotes and nice wording and things that were beautiful. I had to pick only the ones that stood out to me most.
reaction upon finishing
Ah! Beautiful ending! (well, it’s not happy, per se, but it’s a great setup)
this book in one word