Book 6: Matched by Ally Condie
Guys, I was totally surprised by this book. I bought it on Audible on a whim, and I ended up really enjoying it. I liked the premise—a girl who’s accidently shown two love matches, instead of one. I expected it to be a much tamer version of DIVERGENT, as far as the world-building went. In some ways, there were similarities. As with most dystopian novels, in Cassia Reyes' world, there is an oppressive government, masked as peacekeepers. Everything seems a euphoric utopia, but of course there are mysteries and intrigue. It actually reminded me a lot of THE GIVER.
Despite the somewhat predictability of the governmental structure, I was very taken with the narrative. And there were some things unique to Cassia’s world that I really enjoyed. Overall, the world-building was intriguing enough, but the eyes in which Cassia saw her world was often breathtaking. I thought Ms. Condie did a wonderful job of pacing her world-building-- dropping in one piece of puzzle at a time.
The first few chapters were my favorite. The Match ceremony, the grandpa’s last banquet (all citizens die on their 80th birthday). But once there was a shift to the romantic plot threads, I wasn’t quite as interested. I just wasn’t a fan of the romance between Cassia and Ky. It didn’t seem plausible. I might’ve believed it, had it happened over a longer period of time. But a few weeks, and she’s in love? Really? How could she be so quick to look away from Xander, her supposed lifelong best friend? He was hardly in the middle of the story at all, and for a 17 year old, I thought Cassia should have considered Xander far more than she did. I found this frustrating. Ky was handsome and mysterious, which apparently was enough reason for Cassia to risk everything to be with him. Ugh. I liked Ky fine, but I feel like this love-triangle is soooo overdone, and I was hoping for something different.
Still, I enjoyed the book overall. And even though I grew frustrated with Cassia at times, I really did like her as a main character. She's clever, and creative, and she loves her family. Though I wasn't exactly rooting for Ky, his and Cassia's was a sweet (and totes PG!) relationship. Their focus on art and poetry was cute.
There were some surprises at the end of the story that were enough to get me to read the next book in the series—plus the writing is just so lovely! So, at some point, I'll be giving CROSSED a chance.