Matched by Ally Condie

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I am a HUGE Hunger Games fan. I admit it freely. One of my friends introduced it to me; I finished it within 2 days, couldn’t wait for Catching Fire, devoured it, agonized over waiting for Mockingjay, proceeded to read it voraciously, saw the movie opening weekend, did a three-finger salute when Rue died, bawled like a baby, saw it again 3 more times, and I’m now impatiently waiting for November 23rd when Catching Fire comes out.

Matched is one of those books that came out after Hunger Games to feed off of its popularity and is for the Hunger Games crowd still having withdrawal symptoms from finishing Suzanne Collins trilogy. It has the same basic love triangle, dystopian society, rebellion, “She must choose” plot so I started reading it.

But I couldn’t stand it.

Call it pining for the true Hunger Games, call it inability to accept that it was over, call it whatever you want, but I just couldn’t continue reading Matched.

It’s about a girl named Cassia (see any resemblance to Katniss?) who lives in a society where the government has optimized everything: health, produce, food, genetics, and marriage. The society chooses your ideal Match for you to wed and then later have children with. Turns out Cassia is matched with her handsome best friend, Xander, and is ecstatic, at least until a computer glitch reveals that she was also compatible with Ky, another boy she knows who is an outcast (but still handsome). She ends up falling in love with Ky in the end. So who should she choose? The one that society has deemed perfect for her? Or the one that she has deemed perfect? Choosing Ky leads to going against the government but she still follows her heart.

Oh, I finished the first book; there are two others that I didn’t even try to read (it’s a trilogy too), Crossed and Reached. But I couldn’t get over how….corny it was. I felt like I was reading a version of Twilight. It was so overly emotional and mind-numbingly sappy as if Condie was trying to stuff as much meaning and symbolism and emotion into one paragraph. And Cassia, the main character, seemed so weak to me. Maybe if I got to the other books I would have seen a stronger side to her, but it seemed as though the love-triangle was the main focus of the book. If you’re going to promise rebellion, give me rebellion. If there’s a love triangle in the plot, don’t rev it up so much that you forget that the book is supposed to be condemning the society in it. Don’t take so long to build it up (granted, for Hunger Games it took about half the book to actually get to the Hunger Games).

The only thing I remotely liked about this book were its many references to Dylan Thomas’ poem “Do not go gentle into that good night”. It’s one of my favorite poems and it fit the message of the book (fighting against society). But even the references to good poetry couldn’t save Matched.

So I had to stop reading Matched. I’m sure there are people who have read the series and love it. I’m sure it satiated their Hunger Games desire. But this girl will stick to the original Hunger Games and read it again for the umpteenth time.

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