Matched book review

You know I write dystopian society novels. You know I read dystopian soviety novels. And you know I love them. I love the espionage, the revolutions, the romanticism of “what if?”. So naturally, when a package of books arrived for my birthday and I read the sleeve of Ally Condie’s Matched, I was excited.

In the society, officials decide. Who you LOVE. Where you WORK. When you DIE. Cassia has always trusted their choices. It’s hardly any price to pay for a long life, the perfect job, the ideal mate. So when her best friend appears on the Matching screen, Cassia knows with complete certainty that he is the one… until she sees another face flash for an instant before the screen fades black. Now Cassia is faced with impossible choices: between Xander and Ky, between the only life she’s known and a path no one else has ever dared follow- between perfection and passion.

I have to say, Matched sort of transcended my expectations. When I think about dystopia, I think of the Hunger Games, or Eugenia (wink wink). You know, explosions, war, torture, betrayal, that sort of thing.

But Matched wasn’t like that at all. There was little to no actual violence in the story, and the plot focused more on romantic civil disobedience and self discovery amidst a society where discovery has all but been eradicated.

And I find this fascinating, because it’s totally unexpected, but at the same time, oddly satisfying. By the end of the boo, you realize that it doesn’t matter who Cassia chooses, Xander or Ky. The point is that she recognizes the horror of what her world has become.

Some of the reviews on Amazon were critical of this more subtle approach, citing that it was too much lovey dovey and not enough STICK IT TO THE MAN! But I disagree. I think it’s refreshing to read a book that doesn’t require a revolution of more than two people falling in love because they want to, not because they have to.

I think this book is a fantastic mix of YA romance and YA social science fiction, and it’s something that sort of bridges the gap between those two genres. The Hunger Games has its moments of romance, but it’s a social science fiction at the core.

Also, I have always loved the Dylan Thomas poem that starts all the doubt in this book, and I thought I’d leave you with it. As you can imagine, this poem was supposedly destroyed, and I’m sure you’ll see why the “perfect” government wouldn’t want this bouncing around the citizenry.

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

And you, my father, there on the sad height,
Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

-Dylan Thomas

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