Review: Matched by Ally Condie



Title: Matched
Author: Ally Condie
Publisher: Penguin/Dutton
Pub. Date: 11.30.2010
Genre: Dystopian YA
Keywords: Love, Arranged Marriage, Rebellion, Family, Secrets
Pages: 366
Description (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.

MATCHED has me perplexed. There were elements that definitely didn’t click for me, which caused the novel to drag in parts, yet I still find it popping into my head weeks after reading.

Part of me thought that some of my disappointment was due to the hype surrounding Condie’s novel, but, after reflection, I don’t believe that was the main reason I found it lacking. I think I expected it to be bigger… bigger romance, bigger action, bigger mystery. I wanted it to have an epic quality. For me, it didn’t.

BUT, that’s not to say it wasn’t a wonderful debut. It has a quiet beauty about it… a beauty that seems to have lodged itself in some corner of my subconscious and comes out and reminds me when I least expect it. Part of this is due to the use of Dylan Thomas’ poem “Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night” and its importance to the novel. 

I’ve always loved this poem and was excited to see how it was woven into the plot of the novel. Now, every time I think about the poem, especially the line “Rage, rage against the dying of the light,” I’m reminded of the detailed world Condie has created. Despite the parts of MATCHED I found disappointing, I was thoroughly intrigued by the world Cassia lives in. Cassia’s cultural and historical knowledge base is severely limited by the government, but, to me, most notably in regard to poetry and literature. How can a government possibly choose 100 of everything (poems, novels, etc) and disregard the rest? It makes me shudder to imagine a world like this. Eventually, Cassia begins to realize the truth behind her world’s beautiful facade and I’m ready for her to rage against this reality in Condie’s second MATCHED novel.

I’m looking forward to CROSSED, slated for release sometime in 2011… Plus, I’m more than a little excited to see how this second cover compares to the gorgeous one on MATCHED!
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8 thoughts on “Review: Matched by Ally Condie

  1. I enjoyed it fully and was able to experience it for what it was, i think the reason being due to the fact that i didn't lead myself to think to much into it or the hype. I try to do that with all novels surrounded by hype otherwise i would criticise and have massive high expectations for everything. Yes it could have been improved on the romance aspect, one thing we can not deny is that it is beautifully written. Lovely honest review.

  2. I'm almsot exactly half-way through reading this book and so far your review is point on. I can't wait to see what the second half contains and already I'm excited about the second book.Great review!

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