Friday, January 28, 2011

Book Review: Matched (Matched #1) by Ally Condie

Title: Matched (Matched #1)
Author: Ally Condie
Publisher: Dutton Juvenile
Publishing Date: November 2010
Length: 384 pages
Genre: YA, romance, dystopian novel 

3/5 *** Matched – A good selection of classical and new dystopian elements! 

~ The Author ~

Ally Condie is a former high school English teacher who lives with her husband and three sons outside of Salt Lake City, Utah. She loves reading, running, eating, and listening to her husband play guitar.

For further information visit

~ The Novel ~

Matched, published November 2010, is the first novel in the Matched series. Its sequel Crossed will be released November 2011 and the third novel in this series in November 2012. 

You can visit the official Matched site to find out who would be your perfect partner:

~ The Story ~

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.

Summary by Goodreads 

~ The Review ~

Everyone around the blogosphere seemed to be enthusiastic about Matched so I was really looking forward to read it. Unfortunately I didn’t get to like this novel as much as all the Cassie & Ky or Xander fans out there.

At first glance Condie created a very interesting setting of a dystopian novel, featuring classical elements and new ones, inhuman and sterile. Citizens are not allowed to show deeper sentimental reactions in public and rarely at home, that they care for someone or something beyond a superficial level.  The individual stands back to the society’s benefits, and that I can call a successful adaption of a dystopian background to our story around heroine Cassia. What I found most disturbing is the exact controlling of the death date of each citizen.

Cassia, the obedient citizen in the beginning, starts questioning the system when a picture of Ky instead of her promised match appears on her monitor. After the mistake, she starts noticing him and tries to understand the true Ky. They spend time together, learn about each other and who they really are.
A relation between Cassia, Ky and Xander is obvious, but not really a love triangle as I couldn’t see feelings beyond friendship between Cassia and Xander in the beginning.

I wish the love story would be a more dominant part of Matched. I am a hopeless romantic and expected this novel to be more specific and detailed when it comes to the rarely featured love scenes. As other novels describe the scene of the lover’s meeting vividly, Condie describes a kiss or a hug as a fact and not the act of many different emotions, tastes, smells and feelings coming together.
This lack of emotional details and description of romantic scenes, might be attribute to the dystopian character of minimalism when it comes to deeper feelings and meanings or a major sign of Condie’s average writing style.

The society of Matched is divided into different groups of workers and their complexity of thoughts and actions are reduced to guarantee a simple but secure standard.
Condie’s writing style is as simple as her created society, it is not my favourite but at least supports the story’s character well.

One aspect I really liked about Matched is that Ky and Cassia find and interpret old symbols and art in a world that doesn’t know their meaning anymore. People have forgotten what a compass or handwriting is and now it is on both of them to turn something so uncommon into their weapon against a meaningless and indifferent government. 

Surprises are rare as we follow a steady rhythm and the first three hundred pages replay a certain routine. The tide of this novel is low, and I drifted on it slowly from moment to moment. I got an appropriate impression of Cassia’s life and her district, but almost felt annoyed by this novel’s slow pace always expecting something more spectacular happen on the next page.

In the last eighty or so pages speed picked up and I found myself in the middle of action, thinking: “Dear action, there you are, but why haven’t you showed up two hundred pages earlier!?”
~ We love this book because… ~

1) the beauty of a past world will never be forgotten as long as there is someone who cares about it
2) we feel the urgent need to examine our powder compact  
3) we care for both boys on the serviette
4) we all want to have a unique banquette dress
5) of a son who only wants to protect his father

~ The Verdict ~

Matched can be described as a light romance with main interest on dystopian setting, so this novel definitely is a recommendable read for fans of dystopian tellings of all stripes. I am going to read the sequel when it comes out, but with much less pre- enthusiasm than I felt toward  Matched

~ As my thanks for the review copy of Matched go to the German publisher FJB Fischer I am going to publish a German version of my review aswell.


  1. I really liked Match and I agree I want the dress!

  2. I like what you wrote about the descriptions of hugs and kisses. I didn't notice that while reading, I think it just fit into the dystopian setting Cassia grew up in for me.

  3. Great honest review :)

    I must admit I liked it a little more then you :) Just finished it :)

    Please feel free to check out my review:

  4. I was wondering when you were going to read this book. I bought it the week it came out but it's been on my shelf ever since. I just haven't gotten the urge to read it like I have other books. Like you, I was intrigued by all the hype by that was about it. I haven't read enough 4 and 5 star reviews to make me want to rush to read it.
    Great review as always!

  5. Interesting... I thought the love story between Ky and Cassia was too much. Not that there were 100 million scenes, but once Cassia meets Ky for real, every single choice that she makes revolves around him and every single decision she makes is directly related to him. Which, I don't like.

    There were a lot of really serious flaws within the society. BUT I don't think Cassia would have cared if they had let her end up with Ky. Which is a bad thing. It's fine for Ky to have been the catalyst, but I felt like he was the only reason she had for disliking the society.

    Other than that, I agree with a lot of what you said in your review! Liked this one, but didn't love it the way I'd expected to.

  6. I haven't read this yet...I'm not sure I want to. It sounds a lot like Delirium (I just commented on your review of that delicious book) - but without the zing that Delirium so naturally has. I ordered it at the library but am not sure I'll actually read it...still deciding... Your review is helping me make my decision, however, because I don't have all the time in the world to read all these books, and if one just looks "ok" I probably shouldn't read it.

    Great review, again! :)