Matched by Ally Condie
Series: Matched #1
Genre: Dystopia, YA
Length: 9 hours 54 minutes
Narrator: Kate Simses
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Cassia has always trusted the Society to make the right choices for her: what to read, what to watch, what to believe. So when Xander's face appears on-screen at her Matching ceremony, Cassia knows with complete certainty that he is her ideal mate... until she sees Ky Markham's face flash for an instant before the screen fades to black.
The Society tells her it's a glitch, a rare malfunction, and that she should focus on the happy life she's destined to lead with Xander. But Cassia can't stop thinking about Ky, and as they slowly fall in love, Cassia begins to doubt the Society's infallibility and is faced with an impossible choice: between Xander and Ky, between the only life she's known and a path that no one else has dared to follow.
I have very mild feelings about this book. I didn't love it and I didn't hate it. I'm not even tempted to continue this series. This is a rather quiet read that can be easily overlooked in a genre that tends to be more in your face, violent, and full of adventure. Yet it is well-developed and has a good premise. I think the concept of being matched and something going wrong is an intriguing one but the plot didn't go much more into it than what is in the synopsis. The rest was a prolonged love triangle and a smattering of world building that developed mostly at the end. So that's where my ambivalent feelings come from. I didn't get enough of what drew me to this book and I got "more of the same" of what is found in every other YA book.
I knew I was in trouble when I found myself thinking the book should end when Cassia was matched with her best friend Xander. This was probably Chapter Two. I married my best friend so I can't think of anything being better than that (No. Really. We were just friends first. Really. No one believes us but this is very true.). And I think I would have been more invested if Cassia hadn't become interested in Ky only after the mistake. They had known each other before but she never paid any attention to him. Then she was in love. I also felt this love developed with very little help from Ky. They didn't see or interact with each other often and when they were around each other, the interactions left much to be desired. The Society is a great one to hate but it didn't help that much of the development happened later. So Cassia seemed to change much too dramatically, too soon. But that being said, the formula is there and it came out earlier than some of the other dystopias. I think if you read this one first, you'll enjoy it. Having read it toward the end, nothing stands out or seems new. I can compare every part of this book to another that did that particular part better. That's just unfortunate because it came out earlier.
Overall, this book is okay. For me it was simply a case of bad timing.
UPDATE!! I forgot to talk about the narrator! On the narrator...
Ms. Simses actually narrated Shatter Me which I also listened to on audio. I said in that review that I didn't like her voices for the main female character but since there were no other female characters, I didn't know whether it was just that character or all female voices. After hearing her narrate this one, I've figured it out. Ms. Simses should narrate children's books (and she usually does). Her voices are too babyish and young for these characters and it makes the female characters sound whiny. She does the best with the younger characters in the book. It is difficult to tell the difference between the older characters. There are subtle differences, which isn't good enough for an audiobook.
P.S. This goes toward that Dystopia challenge that I committed to. I wasn't kidding when I said there were more to come. It'll start winding down soon though.