Wednesday, 20 October 2010
Review: Matched by Ally Condie
Series: ? although it is a trilogy (thank goodness)
Author: Ally Condie
Publication Date: 2nd December 2010
Thank you so much to UK Book Tours for the chance to read it
Synopsis: From Amazon
On her seventeenth birthday, Cassia meets her Match. Society dictates he is her perfect partner for life. Except he’s not. In Cassia’s society, Officials decide who people love. How many children they have. Where they work. When they die. But, as Cassia finds herself falling in love with another boy, she is determined to make some choices of her own. And that’s when her whole world begins to unravel....
Wow, just wow. This one really lingers in your memory long after you turn that last page. That's all I can say is thank goodness this is a trilogy as I have so many unanswered questions and feel as if I am personally invested in the futures of the main characters that I just don't want to let them go.
Shades of George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four. A society that controls every aspect of daily life. Watching all aspects of 'normal' human behaviour. Monitoring everything from interactions to dreams. Controlling what is grown, what is eaten and how much is eaten; what jobs people do and even who we are allowed to love. All this was just so frighteningly easy to picture in the imagination, even relate to on some fundamental level.
People's behaviour and actions are predicted; what would happen if we were given a choice. The power the 'officials' possess makes them think that they are 'gods' playing with peoples lives as if it were some kind of sadistic experiment. The monotony of 'the society' and the drabness of their lives probably provides the reasoning behind this behaviour. As I read my mind kept questioning the entire foundation of 'the society', like a domino effect one question lead to another; how did it start, why did it start, who controls it, I could go on.
I found myself rebelling mentally against the idea of living in a world where nothing is created. There are only 100 poems/books/paintings that have been chosen for the population by an appointed panel. I just could not live like that. I wondered if this lifestyle would turn people into automatons, not really living but just going through the motions until the 'society' sanctioned euthanasia at 80. It would be like living in an ant colony only there to serve and provide a reproductive service in order to maintain 'the society'. The inspired use of Dylan Thomas's Do Not Go Gentle into that Good Night added impact to the imagery; being welsh Dylan Thomas is one of my favourite poets. Plus the use of a Harry Potter reference for sarcastic purposes made me feel that Ally Condie is a kindred spirit. The tone is at times delightfully sarcastic which I totally adore.
All the characters are tremendously well rounded; their interactions and behaviour are revealed slowly throughout the narrative. The main point, I felt, was that we may not know the people close to us as well as we think we do.
The three main protagonist work beautifully together.
Cassia: initially a drone desperate to be a model citizen. Slowly realises appearances aren't always what they seem mainly due to her Grandfather's influence. Her personality and creativity goes from strength to strength as the plot develops.
Ky: wow my heart just ached for him. Such a wonderful character to imagine. Always the outsider on the fringes watching and learning as he is in turn being watched. Hiding who he really is in order to blend in. The weight of so many secrets weighs him down.
Xander: another multi-dimensional character. it seemed as if he was too different people, one in public and one in private. He too has his secrets.
This was one very difficult love triangle in which to pick a side. Normally I have no trouble deciding which male protagonist I would pick but this one left me baffled, both Ky and Xander are wonderful. I really didn't want to see anyone get hurt.
The whole idea of being Matched by a set of criteria and then the developing love triangle really brought to mind the whole question of how do we fall in love. If matching wasn't involved who would they chose to fall in love with.
A truly fantastic book with a fresh dystopian theme. I am just so happy that this is a trilogy but obviously not at all happy that I have to wait for the next installment. I just hope that at least some of my questions get answered.
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