Author: Ally Condie
In the Society, Officials decide. Who you love. Where you work. When you die. Cassia has always trusted their choices. It’s barely 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 to 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.Matched is an avid, subtly intense dystopian novel with three-dimensional characters, accentuated by the descriptive, oppressed world Condie has created. The constricted, and caged atmosphere present all throughout Matched is deceptive and unsettling with the plethora of rules, systems, and restrictions. The cover of Matched holds a symbolic significance wherein Cassia, is confined in a bubble of ignorance and negligence, yearning for an escape for freedom. The vivid depictions of the world with the Society are contemplative, it triggers thought-provoking questions about issues that plague the real world today.
Cassia is mostly confused and doubtful for the most of the novel. Cassia's metamorphosis is gradual and subtly creeping, but drastic and discernible when looked at as a whole. Trustful and submissive towards the Society, Cassia changes and matures as a character amidst the psychologically-unsettling world that Condie has created. The scene where she sees Ky's face on the computer screen is the catalyst that triggers her change, and her interactions with Ky emphasize that change in character. Her mindset is altered into being perplexed and doubtful of the mysteries that surround the society. But all throughout Matched, Cassia stays consistent to her character.
Ky and Xander are clashing opposites with contrasting personalities. Although Xander is competitive, he embodies a strong presence of understanding, loyalty, and strength. And at the same time, he remains supportive towards Cassia, despite her actions. Ky, on the other hand is brave and adventurous, willing to try new things. His past affects him, and the hardships he has gone through, is evident in the way he carries himself. Both love interests are different and good for Cassia in different ways.
Condie's prose in Matched has a subtle lyrical undertone with a rich, mysterious undercurrent. The culture in the Society is intensely developed and established flawlessly through nuances and other specifics. The subtleties such as the lack of choices, no matter how insignificant, are what builds the Condie's world and strengthens it. And the interplay of interactions, the atmosphere, and the characters all pull together to create a stunning, concrete plot.
Matched is a powerful, compelling read, amplified by the themes and inner messages in the story. It parallels itself both to the real world in a futuristic sense. Oppression and lack of freedom is common in Matched, and in reality; but here, it is presented in different ways. Matched is a perfect match for every reader (pun intended!).
The Bottom Line: Matched is probably my favorite in dystopian lit! It's friggin' amazing!
My reaction/enjoyment: 9/10
Total Score: 92/100 (A)