Sunday, January 16, 2011

Thoughts on Matched

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I was completely unprepared for this book.

How many of us have had the hype surrounding a book colour our expectations? All of us, pretty much? Since this book had so much buzz, my expectations were two-fold.

The first set of expectations I had were, since this book sold for such an astronomical amount (can't remember the exact amount, but it was a seven-figure advance at auction), it must be amazing.

The second set was... but since dystopian is the hot thing in YA right now, what if publishers just found something they knew would sell a billion copies and cracked it out, not caring about the quality?

Since I'd read so many incredibly mixed reviews, I really didn't know which side of the expectation scale Matched would swing to until I actually read it.

My verdict?

Holy crap, it's amazing, guys.

There will inevitably be comparisons to The Hunger Games, since that's the biggest dystopian out there right now, but I'm serious when I say that, for me, Matched blew THG out of the water. I was lukewarm at best towards Katniss; I love Cassia. She's sympathetic in a way that Katniss never was. Cassia is the everygirl. She isn't an extraordinary hunter/gatherer, she isn't even rebellious and revolution-minded until the last quarter or so of the book. She's average in every way, until a perfect storm of events happen to turn her into a heroine. I loved this.

The love triangle is even fantastic, and I'm not a fan of them in general. But here it's really believable. We can easily see that Cassia loves Guy #1 as a friend, and because of that wouldn't mind spending the rest of her life with him. But Guy #2 really sets her on fire. There is no dilly-dallying between the two of them, agonizing and angsting and carrying on.

I was also caught off-guard by the sheer poetics of Ally Condie's writing. The writing in Twilight is overwrought, the writing in THG is nondescript, but Condie's writing is lyrical, experimental. I never thought literary style would work so well in a sci-fi.

Long story short... I'm really, really excited for the sequel, Crossed, due in November 2011 I believe. Ahh. It's going to be torture to wait.



  1. I think this might be one of the most positive reviews for this book I've seen. =) It actually makes me really want to read it all the more now. I've seen so many lukewarm reviews that I was really not looking forward to finally tackling it. I'm really hoping it lives up to all the hype for me. ;D

  2. Interesting to read your review, because I was not very impressed! It's crazy how many different views of this book there are!

    I like the things you said, and my favorite part of it was the lyrical writing for sure. But two things I could not stand were the plot and Cassia. I like what you said about her, but for me, she was too blah. Too selfish. Too let-things-happen. She kind of drove me nuts. But hey, that's me.

    And as for the dragged on and on. I kept waiting for her to DO something. GO GO GO get Ky!!! Like, I got that they couldn't and it was impossible for them to be together...but come on! I thought there'd be a big saving at the end, but even that just dragged. I feel like it was way too drawn out and it doesn't need a sequel (or third). One book of everything woulda been good for me if it had everything that happened.

    Funny how one book can be so back and forth for people! (And sorry for my rant...) Love seeing the perspective of your review!

  3. This book seems to depend totally on the reader! xD I didn't have a problem with the plot. There were some really original details, I found most of it very refreshing. I was never rolling my eyes, thinking "I've seen this a million times."

    Ally Condie's writing is very beautiful. I'm looking forward to the sequel, both to see what happens with Ky and to experience her writing again.

  4. This was a surprising book wasn't it! I actually just put up a review on my blog too (so I was interested to see what someone else said). I definitely did not see her as a weak character. I think sometimes readers get too used to all the battle-maidens we see running around in books, proving their chops with swords and guns and Cassia is a little more like real life. She has to learn to feel passionately about something, and even then, she is one small person, who can't just storm the barricades and kill an ambush of guards etc. So, she does what she can, step by step. I rather enjoyed that, like you.

  5. Great to see another review of this-- I just read it too. I loved it. I enjoyed it more than HG. I had no expectations when I got it (I thought it was SF/F, not dystopian, when I saw the cover). I found the writing stellar. You hit the nail on the head when you say lyrical.
    I adore Cassia. I still think about her talking with her grandfather. Katniss totally drives me nuts for some reason.
    That's what's great about books: different people can have completely different takes on things. It's all good.

  6. Yeah, I think the thing that was awesome about Cassia was how she was balanced. She cared about her family and friends, she cared about her society's wellbeing, but all in moderation. She wasn't fanatical and obsessive like Katniss, and she had the oh-so-human trait of being torn between what's easy and what's right.