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.
Note: I received a copy to review from the publisher. Publishing date: Nov 30, 2010
This book is a lot like it's cover: Simple, elegant, thought provoking, sad at times, hopeful, haunting, beautiful and layered.
Matched is a wonderful coming of age story that would not have been half so haunting if handled by a less skillful story teller that weaved less evocative prose and relatable characters, even some of the ones you don't like.
I think this story will mean different things to different people. For me, a big part of it is the importance of the successful survival of our species and society balanced against the needs and happiness of individuals. It's a delicate balance that is easily lost and as was asked by one of the characters in the story, where does it end? Where's the line?
Beyond this, it is also a beautiful tale of love in all it's faces and guises. Familial love, friendship love, content love, passionate love, forbidden love, love of a society. It's also about loyalty balanced against personal desires. What we're willing to do for love of others and love of self. It's a story of growing up and becoming awake, aware of the world around us and seeing it and maybe ourselves for what it and we truly are for maybe the first time. Struggling with our place in the world and what's expected of us as well as what we want from the world and ourselves.
Under all that is also a mystery. I'm very curious about this world. The inhabitants don't know a lot about their history or even really what is going on around them in the present. They know only what they are told by the Society, so I'm very curious about what is going on in the rest of the world and even about the possibility of a rebellion and an underground. All these possibilities as well as the questions left at the end and the intriguing characters that I want to see more of kept me wanting more long after the last page of this book was finished. I hope we get to go back and visit this place. I feel a storm coming and I want to see what will happen. So many times it's easy to tell where a story is going and in this case I'm just along for the ride. I don't know where this story will go from here, but I really want to find out.
I want to take a moment and just mention the beautiful writing. It is truly evocative and sensual in that when Ms Condie described the rain I could see the approaching storm clouds, feel the electricity and excitement of the impending storm dance on my skin and watch as the drops fell from the sky. I could feel the moisture and taste it. That is the gift of a truly talented story teller and that is what Ms Condie is.
Overall I highly recommend this book. It is haunting and sad as well as beautiful and hopeful by turns. It is scary and stifling and comforting and loving and funny. Cassia is a truly great narrator and character and I enjoyed her voice immensely.
My grade: A. It was a little slow at some parts, but still lovely and when it picks up I really had no idea how the author was going to handle things and where she was going to take me, but I trusted her to get me there.