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Book Review

Book Cover



Author: Ally Condie
Razorbill Penguin
RRP: £9.99
ISBN: 978 1 4133 305 2
Available 02 December 2010

On her seventeenth birthday Cassia travels to her town hall to meet her match, the partner picked for her by society for optimal happiness and healthy children. In a rare occurrence she is matched with someone she already knows, her friend, Xander, but when she opens the microchip to view his information an error occurs and the face of Ky Markham appears instead. Although the error is rectified by an agent of the Society, she cannot get Ky’s face out of her mind...

Matched is the first of a trilogy of books written by Ally Condie. The book runs to three hundred and sixty-six pages with three pages of Q&A at the back. Condie writes confidently, with enough description to bring her world and characters to life.

Condie sets up a society which, on the surface, should be a utopia, people are matched to a perfect job and a perfect partner, happiness and fulfilment are the stated aims of the Society. But the sugar coated veneer hides a dystopian underbelly, where the world's art has been reduced to one hundred of the supposed best and every aspects of the citizens lives are controlled, dreams monitored and creativity has been stifled.

Condie’s heroine, Cassia, is led by an accident to seek out Ky. This has the unfortunate, but inevitable, consequences of her falling in love. As he is deemed to be an outsider, it is a relationship which her society cannot allow to happen. It’s an interesting concept, to consider whether Cassia has the right to demand her society change just to suit her romantic longings. Most of the other members of her society seem to be happy with the restrictions placed on their lives in return for a life lived free of most ills.

Cassia starts as a contented member of her society and as such starts as quite a soft character, but Condie handles her transition to questioning rebellion well. Obviously, being part one of a trilogy the book doesn’t have a resolution.

Although set in the future, Condie is a better romance writer than she is a science fiction writer, I didn’t believe that the transition into the Society could have taken place and Condie does not give enough background information to justify the populations compliance, though I suspect that Condie was not going for a great sci-fi novel.


Charles Packer

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