Published: December 2nd 2010, Puffin
Pages: 366 pages, paperback
Series?: Yes, the second installment (Crossed) is due out at the end of 2011
Acquired: Through UK Book Tours and a review copy sent from Puffin
Summary (from Goodreads): 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.
My review: Now I know that dystopian YA is beginning to saturate the YA market and I have to admit that my interest in the genre is beginning to wane, simply because I've read so many similar stories lately. While Matched is a great read (and was one of the earlier dystopian novels I read - apologies for the delay with this review) I don't think it's quite up there with Delirium and The Hunger Games (to name a couple of my favourites).
Initially Cassia did grate on me slightly - she seemed a little one dimensional but it quickly became clear there was a lot more to her than I first thought. Once Cassia realised she had been lied to by the society and that free will exists things really got interesting. Her character flourished as the story unwound and I can't wait to see the rest of her journey unfold across the next books in the series.
As you may well have been able to predict from the summary of the book there is a love triangle in Matched. Of course there is - it's becoming a YA standard, isn't it? Is it something I like? No, not really. It just always seems so obvious who the heroine is going to choose from the outset that there's no tension - I should point out that's obviously not the case in all YA (Unearthly springs to mind as a great example) and although I know who I think Cassia should be with, I'm not convinced that's the way things are going to pan out.
Matched did make me sit back and think about the situation the characters are in - I can't even imagine how it would feel to make no choices of my own; to have my husband picked for me, my job, the number of kids I'll have. Awful. I was so glad when Cassia began to question things and make her own decisions - girl power, hooray!
The first few chapters of Matched are really brilliant and I became absolutely absorbed in Cassia's world. The Matching Banquet scene is so well written, I fell in love with Condie's writing. Her prose is lyrical and beautiful - great stuff. However, I did think the story lagged a little in the middle and I think a couple of chapters could have been cut out to really make the story the best it could be. The action did pick up again towards the end of the novel and I did really like the ending - a great set up for Crossed, which I'll definitely be checking out.
Matched is a good book but it's not one I'd choose above other YA dytopian out there - the romance is heavy and it was just a little fluffy for me. If you like your love triangles though I'm sure you'll love this one. It's definitely worth a read but it's not one that you necessarily need to bump up to the top of your TBR list.
First line: 'Now that I've found the way to fly, which direction should I go into the night?'
Read if you liked…: Delirium - Lauren Oliver, Uglies - Scott Westerfeld
Total: 15/20 (B)