PJVs QUICKIE POV:
Another Young Adult dystopian, Matched has some heavy competition and if you don’t compare it to some of the greats it is a worthwhile read and entertaining. The problem is I couldn’t help but compare it to other books. Unfortunately I couldn’t stop thinking this one was so very similar to Brave New World, but not as good.
In Cassia’s world there are no choices. The Society decides everything, the clothes you wear, the jobs you take, the music you listen to and even the person you marry and how many children you have. There are hardly any decisions you can make that are your own.
On Cassia’s Matched day she is excited and surprised when she is matched with her best friend Xander. Things like this rarely happen and Xander is known to her and she loves him as a friend. But for a split second another face flashes on her screen before Xander’s and she knows him too and from the moment she see’s Ky’s face she begins to doubt the trust that she has had in the Society. She also begins to see the wholes in the Society that have always been there, but she’s just chosen to ignore.
Cassia is one of the more naive characters of a dystopian that I’ve read. Most of the protags start out as naive but Cassia’s progression was rather slow compared to others. It just seemed that everyone around her knew so much more than she did. Speaking of the characters, they were rather robust and well rounded, Condie did a good job in developing the subtle intricacies of each character. I had a special affinity for Cassia and the side-characters that interacted with her. Condie did a wonderful job of building the emotional connections with Cassia and the side characters. Even Cassia’s connection with her Grandfather was exceptional and I felt a special affinity with him.
Where I found the novel lacking was in the world building. Where her characters were robust and developed I found the world Cassia lived in flat and 2D. Almost a cartoon representation of Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World. The comparison between the two novels comes to play in with the overbearing society that regulates every day behavior. The introduction of a character from “outside” of that society, Ky being from the Outer Territories and an Aberration. And, finally the references to take a pill and be happy which were so prevalent in Matched. But where Brave New World introduced us to a monstrously complex society, well developed plot lines and immense amount of science fiction and futuristic elements that stimulated creativity and imagination, Matched did not.
One of the reasons I love science fiction are those small elements of futuristic creativity. Like the simulated grass carpeting in Brave New World. The authors imagining of the future gadgets that we might have. Matched had future elements but nothing that couldn’t be created today. Incinerators, Ports, Coms, Genetically altered flowers…nothing that had me stretching my science fiction muscles, even though this was supposed to be a completely new Post-Warming generation of people, at least 100 years in the future from what I could garner. One hundred years is a long time and ripe for new gadgets and fun things…I love to read about that stuff.
For lovers of dystopian fiction, I don’t know if this one will be up to par. But if you are looking for an entertaining read with a bit of message, this book is for you. Safe for young teens and mature enough for adult consumption.