Author: Ally Condie
Rating: E for Exceeds Expectations
Review: The future holds many things. We never exactly know what it will bring us next. Only that it will help us. And destroy us. Matched by Ally Condie is a world set in the future where the government chooses who you marry, where you live, what you eat, what you do and when you die. You have no control over your life and they will not take no for an answer. Cassia, the main character, has finally gotten matched with her best friend Xander, but when she sees another person’s face on the screen for a split second, she learns that perhaps the government is wrong. That they should not have total control.
With a novel like this, anything is possible. Ally Condie could have made the fiercest main character that ranked up with many others of her age. Cassia could have been the one who would have fought for what was right. She could have been the one who brought the whole system down and destroyed everything, leading everyone into a revolution and chaos. She could have been the one where she would fight to the death for her love. But she does not.
When Cassia sees Ky’s face in the screen for that split second, it is as if she just realized that one of her friends is actually there. An interest sparks up inside of her and in no time she is in love. Most of the novel is generally about her feelings towards Ky and towards Xander. There are certain events thrown into the mix but nothing that goes BOOM! Everything is masked by these feelings she has for Ky that were only brought up because of curiosity. While her best friend, who she has loved for years and years, is thrown to the side.
Between the lovey-dovey scenes with Ky, the government seems to threaten her from staying away from him. But she never takes any actions to fight against them. She just goes behind their backs and does it all over again. It is as if she does not really want it, but the curiosity she has for him drives her forward. With the way she explains her love for him, you would figure that she would do anything to get it. But that is all she does. Speak of her love for him. It could have been so much more.
The words and plot were powerful enough to show the threat that the government had against the people. But with only a few instances, it fell flat by having a forced love cover it. The emotions I felt as a certain mother screamed for her son as they took him away were wild. To see her need reassurance, reaching for her husbands hand one last time, and failing, set me on a ride of loss, panic and pity. This event was the most powerful scene in the novel and it was in the last thirty pages. It was also between two minor characters. Only in these last thirty pages do we see the government take control over everyone and use it to destroy them.
It is sad that the most hardcore scene came from a minor character. But Cassia promised some hopeful events that would happen in the second book that might make up for the lovey-dovey scenes. And of course, I have no problem with the lovey-dovey scenes and I’m not saying that it is wrong. I just thought this would be a novel where fighting for what you wanted would be more visible instead of just standing there like a waiting duck.
I am also not saying that Ally Condie is not a good writer. It is quite the opposite. For an author to make me feel what I felt by using minor characters, shows how much of an amazing talent they had. Even if it was mostly about the love, I still felt the words and took everything and ate it down and kept it there. I just wished that Cassia had a couple of scenes where she was just as raw and powerful as those other characters.