'Girl rebels society, finds love' - cliché
In the society officials decide. Who you love, where you work, when you die. Cassia has always trusted their choices, it’s hardly any price to pay for a long life, the perfect job, the ideal mate. So when her best friend appears on the matching screen, Cassia knows with complete certainty that he is the one… until she sees another face flash for an instant before the screen fades to black. Now Cassia is faced with impossible choices: between Xander and Ky, between the only life she’s known, and a path no one else has ever dared to follow – between perfection and passion.
This 2010 novel written by Ally Condie is based around the themes of freedom of choice and identity. When protagonist Cassia has to decide whether to go against society or stay within the safety of the rules she is faced with consequences of either action.
I know what you’re thinking – doesn’t this sound like every other dystopian YA romance ever made? Then yes, you’ve hit the nail on the head – it is like every other dystopian YA romance ever made. However, the difference in this novel is that poetry is used in a very inspiring way, to encourage the freedom fighters of this story. Poems used include, Do Not Go Gentle Into That Goodnight and Poem in October by Dylan Thomas and Crossing the Bar by Alfred Lord Tennyson.
But the level of interesting-ness ends there. Yes, there’s poems. That’s the only original point of difference. But wait, who write those poems? Condie sure didn’t. Okay then. Yes, there’s poems. That’s the only
original point of difference.
The style of this novel is modern and much like others of the YA genre such as Divergent and The Hunger Games, but is worse as it lacks creative world building. The limited description of the setting hindered my imagination and therefore interest in this story. Condie does however end her chapter with strong statements that do persuade you to keep reading on to the next chapter.
The plot was alright – it did have more characters then others of this genre but the overarching ideas of the story were predictable. Was she to end up with normal Xander? Or exciting rebellious Ky who she dreams about and stares into his eyes for what seems like 20 hours… what do you think?
Of course she would chose normal Xander. Didn’t see that coming did ya?
Nah I’m kidding your gut-feeling was right, I’m going to break it to you – she chooses Ky.
The plot, much like other books includes the 16 – 19 year old girl breaking the ordinary and finding love along the way cliché. The addition of the colored pills was a unique aspect of this novel as the purpose was obscured until the final stages of the book. Wow. That sentence sounds so… wrong. Colored pills… Ugh. But if you’ve read the book you would understand.
The characters, (I’m sorry Condie, I feel like I’m ripping your beloved work apart here) seem shallow and I couldn’t find a deeper perspective of why they made the choices they did (I don’t call ‘breaking the boundaries’ a deeper motive for a decision). Xander and Ky, in the end, do have some interesting backstories but this is not revealed until later in the series. Cassia and her sidekicks (which don’t do much but, yes, you guessed it – stand around and look pretty) are shallow and seem to be only after one thing – to be rebellious for the sake of it.
Cassia is intrigued by Ky’s story and all the things he knows (fair enough – as he can
make a card tower as tall as the Eiffel tower, song writer and record his own music, speak fifty languages, cook an amazing three course dinner, and scrawl a few words into dirt with a stick. Let’s not judge. I guess Cassia likes a guy who can write.)
But poor Xander over here, life-long friend and match, is left in the dirt (that’s not to get confused with the dirt Ky scrawls in, okay). However, she won’t break it too him. Nope… She will keep stringing him along, using him to her advantage, and hoping in the end that he still cares for her.
Cassia, in my view, just tries to be perfect for Ky – what happened to being yourself and having an identity Cassia! She tries to fit in by being rebellious.
By the way, these insights can only been found on reflection but during reading the book Matched is actually ‘averagely’ enjoyable. I gave it two stars because in comparison to other amazing books out there it simply falls flat (C flat to be exact, for Cassia’s shallow character. Ba dum tss!) and soon becomes forgettable. It becomes very ‘same old, same old’.
The lack of creative world building also contributed to this rating and made cringe moments more cringe… (Cringe Moment #179 – Cassia giving Ky a piece of green silk from her matching ceremony dress with Xander… Just, why? Why give a random person you barely know something that at the beginning of the book you found so special and wanted to keep as a memory?). The book was also a bit disjointed.
I would recommend this book for ages 14+ because of some mature themes. I would also recommend this book to people who don’t mind a bit of budget cheese… I prefer Camembert myself. Matched is part of a trilogy with Crossed and Reached which I will review at a later date… but trust me, it just gets worse.
By the way, we know that this is only my opinion and my opinion is flawed, right? Good. Just wanted to clear that up.
Release Date: 30 November 2010
Do not go gentle into that goodnightDylan Thomas
Rage, rage at the dying of the light.
I know that might not count as it is actually a famous poem, but most of the other quotes were just so cringe.
Xander – he needs some appreciation, but yes, he also annoyed me at some moments. Bram as well, does any one actually remember who he is? He is Cassia’s little bro, who really didn’t have much to do with her or the story. But was probably the least annoying. Fine, yes, you got me. Partly because he only featured in, what, like, one paragraph.
What’s in a Name?
I think the title, Matched, represents the fact that she was… Matched. Done. Sweet. Has anyone had any other ideas of what else the title means?
QFTR (Questions for the Readers)
- Are you Team Xander or Ky or neither as that is always as option?
- What do you think are the themes of this novel?
- Do you think Cassia is just trying to break boundaries for the sake of it?
- In comparison, what do you think was better: The Hunger Games, Divergent or Matched?