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Matched by Ally Condie BWB Review

Matched by Ally Condie
Genre: YA Dystopian
Series: Matched #1
Paranormal: None, Dystopian
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Another Young Adult dystopian, Matched has some heavy competition and if you don't compare it to some of the greats it is a worthwhile read and entertaining. The problem is I couldn't help but compare it to other books.  Unfortunately I couldn't stop thinking this one was so very similar to Brave New World, but not as good.

In Cassia's world there are no choices. The Society decides everything, the clothes you wear, the jobs you take, the music you listen to and even the person you marry and how many children you have. There are hardly any decisions you can make that are your own.

On Cassia's Matched day she is excited and surprised when she is matched with her best friend Xander. Things like this rarely happen and Xander is known to her and she loves him as a friend. But for a split second another face flashes on her screen before Xander's and she knows him too and from the moment she see's Ky's face she begins to doubt the trust that she has had in the Society. She also begins to see the wholes in the Society that have always been there, but she's just chosen to ignore.

Cassia is one of the more naive characters of a dystopian that I've read. Most of the protags start out as naive but Cassia's progression was rather slow compared to others. It just seemed that everyone around her knew so much more than she did. Speaking of the characters, they were rather robust and well rounded, Condie did a good job in developing the subtle intricacies of each character. I had a special affinity for Cassia and the side-characters that interacted with her. Condie did a wonderful job of building the emotional connections with Cassia and the side characters. Even Cassia's connection with her Grandfather was exceptional and I felt a special affinity with him.

Where I found the novel lacking was in the world building. Where her characters were robust and developed I found the world Cassia lived in flat and 2D. Almost a cartoon representation of Aldous Huxley's Brave New World. The comparison between the two novels comes to play in with the overbearing society that regulates every day behavior. The introduction of a character from "outside" of that society, Ky being from the Outer Territories and an Aberration. And, finally the references to take a pill and be happy which were so prevalent in Matched. But where Brave New World introduced us to a monstrously complex society, well developed plot lines and immense amount of science fiction and futuristic elements that stimulated creativity and imagination, Matched did not.

One of the reasons I love science fiction are those small elements of futuristic creativity. Like the simulated grass carpeting in Brave New World. The authors imagining of the future gadgets that we might have. Matched had future elements but nothing that couldn't be created today. Incinerators, Ports, Coms, Genetically altered flowers...nothing that had me stretching my science fiction muscles, even though this was supposed to be a completely new Post-Warming generation of people, at least 100 years in the future from what I could garner. One hundred years is a long time and ripe for new gadgets and fun things...I love to read about that stuff.

For lovers of dystopian fiction, I don't know if this one will be up to par. But if you are looking for an entertaining read with a bit of message, this book is for you. Safe for young teens and mature enough for adult consumption.


MaryRedingWrites said...

I've been super excited about this one precisely because of the comparisons to Brave New World: thanks for an honest review, now I won't be disappointed!

Sheila (Bookjourney) said...

I think Matched may be more my taste than Brave New World. I have to admit I have never read it because I am not much for science fiction and the futuristic stuff usually doesnt work for me. I really like your thoughts on this one, thank you.

June G said...

I received a Nook for Christmas and the first book I downloaded was Matched. I've heard so much about it and the author was paid so much for the series, I have to see if it lives up to the hype. I've only read the first chapter, but it seems interesting so far.

I've never read A Brave New World. The soon-to-be-released book, Across the Universe, is being touted as a cross between that and Titanic. I'm going to have to check out A Brave New World too since it seems to be coming up a lot lately. Thanks for your thoughts!

Christine said...

What other Dystopian YA books besides Brave New World would you suggest to read? I´ve been searching for a good one after having read the Hunger Games trilogy, but I can´t decide yet!
Thanks for any recommendations!

ParaJunkee said...

To just kind of generally comment. For one BRAVE NEW WORLD is a classic. Written in 1931 by Aldous Huxley. I studied his writing along with the other greats like Ray Bradbury in some of my Lit classes. It is not a modern piece, but it is one of those books that if you were stranded on a deserted island and you could only have 5 books...well BNW would be one of them.

Comparing Matched to BNW is like comparing Twilight to Romeo and Juliet. Certain principals are the same...but where BNW is the Cristal, Matched is the Natural Light. Really BNW is ranked by Modern Library as number 5 of the 100 best English-language novels of the 20th Century. There really is no comparison.

As far as dystopian literature goes, these new flavorful dystopian YAs that are popping up here and there might aspire to hold candles to the greats...but some of the best in this genre were penned fifty years ago.

That statement sound very overblown and it really is great to see all these new books coming out in the YA genres. I just feel that a lot of the time a lot of things are glossed over and the world building is put to the back burner to focus more on the "love". Yes, we all love some love - but the reality of situation around them is what makes a great dystopian. The world that oppresses our protag. That's why I love books like Uglies and Hunger Games so much, because the focus is that world, and the love interest or emotional connections are merely side thoughts.

As for recommendations, some of the more modern dystopian that I can recommend:

Uglies (2005) by Scott Westerfeld
The Hunger Games (2008) by Suzanne Collins
The Forest of Hands and Teeth (2009) by Carrie Ryan
The Maze Runner (2009) by James Dashner

The Happy Booker said...

I'm actually reading this right now and at about 1/3 of the way into it. I'm really enjoying it but now you've got me interested in reading "Brave New World"! I usually stay away from sci-fi, preferring fantasy to science, but the concept of Matched really caught my attention. Great review!!

BLHmistress said...

I haven't read Brave New World, honestly haven't read any Dystopian so would this be a good one to get my feet wet in this genre or would you suggest something else?

Emily said...

Ugh I am SO NERVOUS to read Matched because I have a sneaking suspicion that it's not going to measure up for me.

For other dystopian recs, I definitely recommend Veracity by Laura Bynum- it's no YA novel by any strech but it's definitely an intense read. I loved Incarceron and Sapphique by Catherine Fisher as well. Another good book was Salt by Maurice Gee, although that's part of a trilogy and since I've only read that first one, I can't vouch for the other two.

Ahhhh so nervous about Matched! Maybe I shouldn't reread The Hunger Games first like I was going to, that would probably be unfair.

Carissa said...

I have a new found love of Dystopian novels thanks to The Hunger Games. I saw Matched in book stores, but I was a little hesitant to buy it. Thanks for giving an honest review. I think I can wait a little longer for this one.

ParaJunkee said...

@BLH - I would get my feet wet with something else. Depending on if you like more science fiction, try out Scott Westerfeld's Uglies. More into that gritty political scene, Veracity by Laura Bynum is good, that Emily mentioned. Another good political/gritty/violent one is Hunger Games...all good to sink your teeth into.

@Emily - It really is a matter of taste. Putting the Hunger Games and Matched in the same genre is really not a good comparison. Two different beast. Matched is polished and sparkly, HG is all gritty and real. I prefer gritty, but you know, reading sparkly stuff every now and again is fine.

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Chapter Chicks said...

That's so weird! I felt the exact opposite. I felt that Cassia was completely underdeveloped and her world was sensational. The world was the only thing I liked about the book! Nice to see a different perspective though!

cj'alhafiz said...

I'm so excited to read this book!! I don't like the cover though. Haha!! But hey, I'm sure I don't want to live in such a world where I don't have the right to make my own desicions. Great Review!!

CJ @ Coffee N Crackers
Latest Review: My Sister's Keeper

Anonymous said...

Good review. I certainly agreed about the world building. I couldn't really see how a lot of the things would work or how it related to our present.

I was disappointed with this book because I'd read a lot that made me think it was really good. I found it a painful world to immerse myself in too and a rather miserable ending.

Juju at Tales of said...

It didn't feel flat for me. I think it's because I just figured her world was small and her view was narrow. I think we will get to see more of the world view in Crossed. Great honest review :)

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