Friday, November 18, 2016

Matched - Ally Condie

Title: Matched
Author: Ally Condie
Version: Paperback

In the Society, officials decide. Who you love. Where you work. When you die.

Cassia has always trusted their choices. It’s hardly any price to pay for a long life, the perfect job, the ideal mate. So when her best friend appears on the Matching screen, Cassia knows with complete certainty that he is the one…until she sees another face flash for an instant before the screen fades to black. Now Cassia is faced with impossible choices: between Xander and Ky, between the only life she’s known and a path no one else has ever dared follow—between perfection and passion.

Matched is a story for right now and storytelling with the resonance of a classic.

Matched, by Ally Condie, is like many other dystopian novels.  Weird totalitarian government controlling the lives of its people.  After reading the summary, I thought it sounded pretty familiar.  After reading the actual book, I am convinced that the author was just going along with the plot of The Giver, making only a few changes as necessary.

In The Giver, as in Matched, people have been sort of altered to feel only a small range of emotions.  Matches between two people are made by the government - you don't actually get to choose your spouse.  Your emotions in the Society are altered by pills, or tablets, which each person can take at will.  (Of course, which tablets you are allowed to carry depends on your age.  You get a blue tablet, a green tablet, and a red tablet.  The age at which you are allowed to carry each tablet depends on which tablet it is.  The whole thing seems weird.  Anyway, each tablet does something.  The red one, for example, erases the memory of whatever event happened directly prior to taking the tablet.)  The Society controls how much food each person is given based on their activity level.  The government even chooses which leisure activities you are allowed to do and for how long. 

 As with any book about a dystopian society, this book has the weird government down.  The idea of a government that chooses your love life for you seems slightly appealing, if a little creepy.  Unfortunately, this book kind of fell flat.  The plot was pretty standard as far as dystopian novels go. There wasn't anything I read in Matched that I hadn't read in dozens of other dystopian novels.  The author seemed like she had a hard time creating a story that was wholly unique.

Not only was the story not nearly as well developed as it could have been, but the characters were underdeveloped as well. The personalities of all the characters sort of blended into each other until I almost had to re-read sentences and paragraphs just to see which character was talking, etc.

When all is said and done, this book is not worth the read unless you like copycat books with no plot.  Save your time and energy for a book that's actually worth the effort.

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