July 28, 2016

Series Spotlight: Matched trilogy, by Ally Condie

I actually read this young adult series almost 2 months ago, and am finally getting around to reviewing it. I have tried not to spoil anything in my reviews, which is why the summaries for #2 and #3 are so short.
By the way, whoever came up with the covers deserves a gold star! They are so intriguingly beautiful!


3 stars: Cassia begins to see in all kinds of new ways, putting her at odds with The Society.

Cassia lives in the Society, where everything is decided by far-off officials, including what your occupation will be, what you eat, who you marry, and even when you will die. There's a match system set up for young adults, with the results announced at fancy banquets. Cassia can hardly wait for her Match Banquet. She and her best friend Xander go together.

When it comes time for her Match to be announced, the screen stays dark. That can mean only one thing: her Match is present at the same Banquet. Then the name is announced: Xander Carrow. She is relieved and delighted. So is he.

Later on, as she opens up the specially-made microcard for her Match, there's a different boy whose name and face appears. Wait, what?! Then he disappears and Xander's information comes back. Now she is seriously confused, but also curious. She knows the other boy, also--Ky Markham. Could the Society have made some kind of bizarre mistake? Or is it possible that she has a choice in love?

In this world where every little thing is monitored, Cassia feels compelled to find a way to have a sliver of independence, if only to figure out for herself which boy she's supposed to be with--but at what cost?

* * * * * *

There were many things I liked about this book. I loved the references to poetry and writing, and the way a poem became a symbol of independent thinking. I found the world itself interesting, with enough room to explore further. Cassia was a bit immature, but not annoyingly so.

I was lukewarm on the love triangle bit. It seemed like she threw over a lifelong friendship with Xander pretty quickly for this other boy--possibly out of pity, or just because he was more mysterious...? But then, maybe that's just me showing my age. I'm trying to think back to high school--would "known and safe" have appealed more than "mysterious and wounded?" Hard to tell.

Anyway, definitely written for the high school crowd, but enjoyable for me as well.

Content: Clean. (Thank you, Ally Condie, for writing a clean YA romance!)

(Finished reading June 2.)


3 stars: The star-crossed lovers work pretty hard to find each other.

Ky has been taken away, and Cassia and her family Relocated to another Borough. She is determined to find Ky, even though it will be risky. Even though it will mean she must travel to the unsafe borders, the Outer Provinces. What she hasn't planned on is getting there, only to find him already gone. How will she ever find him now?

* * * * * *

This one had several unexpected twists and turns. I enjoyed both Cassia and Ky's growing friendships with others. I thought the world-building was well integrated in this one--little bits woven in here and there, without taking you out of the story too much. While the first book focused on the love triangle, this one was the "epic journey" installment, so expect quite a bit of wasteland wandering.

I finished it, then zoomed onto the next in the same day! (Um, no. I did not accomplish anything else that day.)

Content: Some violent death, but clean otherwise.

(Finished reading June 9.)


4 stars: Events and people collide in sometimes surprising ways.

Cassia and Ky are now officially part of The Rising, but it splits them up once again, as they have different assignments. There's something else they don't know: there's a plague, and it's overtaking the Society on all levels. Who started it, who has the cure, and what will come of it?

Meanwhile, Xander is a medic at Ground Zero of the plague, doing his best with the hopeless odds and long, long hours. Even so, he may find a sliver of happiness of his own.

* * * * * * *

This was my favorite book of the trilogy. I was ready for it all to come together, and it did. There were still some unanswered questions I had, particularly in regards to the border war, but for the most part things were resolved in a satisfactory way. If you were like me, and thought Xander had gotten the shaft this whole time, you'll probably like his part of the story.

Also, I just loved the idea of the Cassia's art & poetry walls, as a community expression of hope and connection. Then again, I was a Humanities major, so no surprise there!

Content: Some gross Plague-related scenes and a bit of violence, but clean otherwise.

* * * * * * * *

Overall, I enjoyed this series. I was especially happy with the mostly clean content--no sex, no swearing, and relatively little violence. Nice! My mother-in-law found the first one at a garage sale and passed it on to me, which is what got me reading them in the first place. I find that I have to be in a certain mood to read YA dystopian novels, and after a few of them I'm done for several more weeks. (Maybe that's why it took me so long to review them!)

When I finally got around to reading the first one, I liked it, and I wanted to read the next ones right away, but it's not a trilogy I've been talking to everyone about. Then again, I'm not the target audience either. I would hand them to teens that have read The Hunger Games.

Have you read these? What did you think?

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