Feb 18, 2011

Matched by Ally Condie


I was nervous starting Matched.  A dystopian young adult novel by a local author does put a little pressure on me.  Though, I didn't like The Maze Runner very much and I don't make too much of a secret about that. When you know you will have a chance to meet the author, look them in the eye, and tell them how you liked their book it can be a little daunting.

 

From the moment I first saw the cover for Matched I completely fell in love.  I heard about Matched originally when it was sold and I was really excited, but then I sort of forgot about it.  A lot of people were getting Matched at BEA and it just didn't sound that good to me. I know you think I sound crazy right now, but without knowing the concept I thought it was a book about arson or something.  But the moment I first saw the cover I absolutely fell in love with it.

 

I find it increasingly hard to put into words all the things that I love about Matched.  I guess the most overwhelming part of the book was the world building.  I appreciated how much I knew about the world that Cassia lived in.  I have talked about this a lot in the past, but to me, dystopian fiction is more about the WORLD than anything else.  Without a good base a story can be told in any time period or setting and have the same effect.  A truly successful dystopian novel fuses together the world and the story so that one element cannot live without the other.  Matched completes this fusion to perfection.

 

PA303105When I met Ally Condie face to face it was an honor to tell her how much I loved the book.  Over the past few years I have read a lot of young adult dystopian novels, and I was starting to feel a little disheartened by my experience.  Especially the newer ones were not providing the kind of world building that I have already expressed is essential to a successful dystopia.  As a fan, this was very frustrating to me.  I was excited that so many books were being released but disappointed with the quality of the books.  Ally’s book was so different and so deliberate.  I liked how her words and her story really meshed together for me, the plot and the craft were important to each other.

 

I am struggling to push through this review. I don’t know what I want to say. I keep bouncing my thoughts off of people on Twitter trying to understand the difference between the people who have enjoyed Matched and the people who have found it lacking.  And then in a moment the exact words for how I feel about Matched came to me.  I found it subtle and perfect in a quiet way. To me the style and the characters and the slowness of action all connected with the quality and sluggishness of the brainwashed society.  What is so terrifying about Matched is that people know that they are censored, and they are thankful for it. It is this thought process that is beyond double think. Beyond knowing the world is wrong but convincing yourself that it isn’t. This is one of the many elements that makes Matched work for me, and definitely one of the most significant.

 

I have really enjoyed being able to share with various different people all the things I enjoyed about the book.  I love hearing with other people have to say about it, though I can’t always see where they are coming from.  It is very rare that a book gives me blinders and Matched definitely has.  I am very eager for the second book Crossed, especially since 2nd books in series have not held strong favor with me.  I also heard that like Matched, Crossed will have a poem that is strongly connected with it.  I loved the way that Ally dealt with literature in this novel, I like how my knowledge was connected with this future society.

 

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

And you, my father, there on the sad height,
Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

-Dylan Thomas

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