Review of Matched by Ally Condie (Spoilers)
1/5 stars- Matched. Where to begin with this book? Oh I know, let’s start with a boy named Jonas. Now I know what you’re thinking, “Jonas? Who’s Jonas? I don’t remember a Jonas in this book.” Well that’s because there is no Jonas in this book.
Jonas is the main character in a book called The Giver. An interesting read that was simple, but it entertained me. The character Jonas lives in a society that is (Cough) exactly (Cough) like the society in Matched. Jonas slowly begins to realize the world around him is far from perfect. This realization is brought on by his apprenticeship with The Giver, an old man who holds all the memories and emotions of the old world. This book does what it needs to do, it gets Jonas from point (A) to point (B) in a way that makes sense. On top of that it’s only 179 pages, so the writer didn’t put much filler in it.
Matched is basically The Giver with a Female teen protagonist, and 187 more pages filled with pointless angst. People are told who to marry, when to marry, where to work, when to stop working, and when to die. I don’t know how anyone can read this book and not think “Is this the first fan girl fanfiction from The Giver fandom?”, but I’m sure it can be done.
The characters are dry and uninteresting, and we’re stuck in Cassia’s pov (Pronounced Ca$ha), who’s dullness can only be matched by her love interest Ky. Ky is a boy with blue eyes (Trust me I know they’re blue, they were described to me in a number of strange ways), and knows how to write. Then there’s Xander, the third and destined to lose point of the love triangle. You know how I know that? Simple. Pick up any YA book with a love triangle. The boy who is described the most over and over again will most certainly win over the boy whose eye color I can’t even remember. Cassia will end up with Ky, even though their relationship lacks the substance to be anymore then a simple friendship.
I will give the book credit where it’s due, the characters do change. Granted this change is like being slapped in the face by an invisible hand, but there is some character development. I think this author was trying to focus on character building, because the plot lacks, well, a plot. I read roughly four-hundred pages of Cassia’s boring life, and that was painful. Cassia doesn’t have the character to hold a story up on her own, and her romance drama only brings the cheesiness to the table.
The society isn’t really that menacing. “Oh you better not do anything bad! We might cut down a tree from your front yard.”
Yes, I am serious. Yard work is warning one. What next? Are they going to go around fixing our dishwashers? I’m shaking in my boots here.
The most insulting attack on my intelligence is the villain of the story, a woman who I can’t even name because her name was only mentioned once. However, I do remember she said something along the lines of, “Oh yeah, we were in control the whole time. This whole love triangle thing was a science experiment, just to see if you would fall for it.”
So you’re telling me that you had this brilliant idea to conduct this experiment that could ruin people’s lives and change their perspective of the society and the people who run it (People who already never question you and completely trust you). Not only that but this experiment is being conducted while people are starting to rebel outside the city, and you want to bring this rebellious thought process into this cocoon of safety for your order. Are you that stupid woman!?
Alright I know this woman didn’t have complete control, but think about it, why did she show the picture to Ky? Why did she let Cassia see Ky? Why would she plant the seed of doubt? Why not just fix the glitch without anyone knowing it happened? I noticed this book was compared to the Hunger Games. If this was the Hunger Games, President Snow would have this woman killed.
Finally I have to say something about the pills. Here is how the pill system works, green calms you down, blue is kept for emergency nutrition and red makes you forget. The thing is some people are immune to the pills effect. Why? They just are.
I want to accept this and get over it, but I can’t. The purpose of the matched program is to ensure that the offspring are the healthiest outcome. One might think that the society would have it so the offspring would no doubt NOT be immune to the pills. You know who’s immune to the pills, Xander and Ky are. This is either really convenient, or this is a fairly common thing. I mean think about it, out of all the people who could be immune it happened to be both of Cassia’s love interest. I can’t see how the society wouldn’t know about this issue. Then again they did allow that woman to conduct her experiment, so maybe I’m overestimating their intelligence.
Overall Matched just reminded me how much better The Giver is. The love triangle isn’t interesting enough to make it stand out from The Giver’s shadow, neither are the extra pages. I know originality is hard to come by, but this book was worse then City of
Bones for me. I can’t look at it without thinking about The Giver. I can say that the pretty cover is relevant to the story, but you still only get one star from me Matched.