Friday, 14 February 2014

Book Review: Matched by Ally Condie

Watched by Society, Trapped by Rules, Freed by Love?

It might be that I have hit my limit of Dystopian fiction or that this story was just not my kind of book. Intrigued by the cover and the premise I wanted to give it a go. Matched is another romance driven story of a girl in an oppressed society discovering through forbidden love just how oppressive her society is and then as with many other Dystopian tales attempting to break free of the tyrannical rule. 
Cassia is the central character. She has many of the attributes we have come to know and in many cases love in our dystopian heroines.  However, she has a fatal flaw for me which is possible why this book has not gripped me in the way many others have. Cassia is so blah. No gumption whatsoever. I think Ally Condie wants us to see her as a character with serious backbone but her fickle heart betrays her. I hate this idea in young adult fiction that we can love so fast without really ever truly getting to know a person it is just so unrealistic and for me ruins the plot. Additionally this book has zero pace. I mean nada. It is one slowly unraveling tale that never really reaches a dramatic point it just rambles on until the end. 
The Society that Cassia lives in is not explained in much detail. This world decides everything for you. It matches you to your ideal partner, career and you carry around some pills for emergency use. Apparently there is a war on but we don't know who with or why.  We are not given much more information then that as the story begins to  unwind.  Cassia has been matched to Xander, her best friend. But the system has a supposed glitch and shows her the face of someone else she knows, Ky. From that moment on Cassia (to me) appears to almost be willing herself to fall in love with him. One moment she is over the moon to be matched to Xander then she is falling in love with Ky.  The only saving grace came in the last few chapters which redeemed the story some what by actually having something happen rather then teens wondering round on a hill learning to write. 
In truth I think that although a dystopian world this is essentially a teen romance book. The dystopian element is not explored in a way that makes it seem real.  Unlike Tris’s world in Divergent or Katniss's in The Hunger Games we do not see enough of The Society to make it understandable why it is so oppressive.  I don’t loathe romance fiction, in fact I read the very similar The Selection which is both dystopian and romance driven but was just a lot more believable and the characters and therefore more likeable. 
What I said to my husband when I finished reading sums it up quite thoroughly, I don’t think I want to read the other two.  If you like romance with a faint trace of dystopian society then give Matched a whirl, you could like it a lot more than I did.  On an extra note I  am taking a break from the dystopian worlds for a bit just in case my view has become a little jaded! 
More romance then dystopia, worth a read for love story fans!

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