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I have to say I was pretty excited to start reading Matched. I’ve found that I really love dystopian novels and I’d heard a lot about this book long before I got my hands on a copy.
The premise behind Matched was certainly enough to pique my interest. The summary from Goodreads is as follows:
“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.”
As is the case with many YA novels, Matched is written in first person from the POV of the protagonist Cassia. I’d heard a reviewer say that they didn’t feel the voice sounded very much like a teenager and I have to say I somewhat agree. However, considering the strict society that Matched takes place in and the way Cassia was raised, the voice—which wasn’t quite emotional enough to fully feel like a teenager to me—didn’t kill it for me.
Without spoiling anything, my biggest hurdle came in suspending my disbelief—not due to the dystopian society or some of the rather less-than-pleasant methods that the Society employs, however—but with the love triangle between Cassia, Ky and Xander. Xander has been Cassia’s best friend for most of her life, so it was easy to believe that she was ecstatic when it was decided that she would marry him. I found it a little more difficult to believe, however, that Cassia would so easily start to fall for Ky, who she even admits she barely thought about until the turning point in the novel. Again, it wasn’t a deal-breaker for me, but I did question it, especially at the beginning.
Despite that, Matched kept me interested. The strict rules imposed by the Society threw one obstacle after another and kept the tension pretty high throughout the novel, not to mention the conflict of forbidden love, which always makes for a pretty decent page turner. I thought the characters were well developed, interested and flawed enough to feel real.
Matched was an entertaining read—if not a little more slowly paced than I would have liked—and a good start to what should prove to be an interesting series. I certainly found the dystopian Society that Condie built to be interesting, if not a bit disturbing (a world where you’re only permitted to know 100 Stories, poems, histories and songs is one from any writer’s nightmares) and I still recommend it to fellow dystopian fans who enjoy a classic love triangle.
Have you read Matched? What were your thoughts?