13 March, 2011

Book Review: Matched (And The Answers To More Of Your Questions)

Last week, I got a few more questions on the post that was part of my blogoversary:

Petty Witter asked:

What is the one thing guaranteed to put you off a book?

A bad plot. I cannot stand weak plots, ones with holes, or endings that can be seen from afar. I love twists, turns, turnarounds, and anything else you can throw at me.

N. R. Williams asked:

How do you choose the books you read? Do you have an e-reader?

First: blurb. Second: any reviews that are on the cover/jacket. Third: author. Fourth: cover. And, in some cases, if I've heard of the book before. I don't usually care about genre--if I've read a good review, or if something about the book intrigues me, I'll pick it up. :)

Nope. And, at the moment, I prefer it that way. I like reading paper and ink rather than an electric screen.


Title: Matched
Author: Ally Condie
Publisher: Dutton Books
Genre: Dystopian
Page Count: 366
Rating: 3.5 out of 5
Cover Rating: 4 out of 5. I like the green, and I like the way they put the girl in the orb. Plus, the font is very Dystopian-ish.

Inside flap:
In The Society, the Officlas decide. 
Who you love. Where you work. When you die. 
Cassia has always trusted their choices. It's hardly any price to pay for a long life, the perfect job, the ideal mate. So when her best friend is appears on the Matching screen, Cassia knowsn with complete certainty that he is the one . . . until she sees another face flash for an instant before the screen fades to black. Now Cassia is faced with impossible choices: between Xander and Ky, between the only life she's known and a path no one else has ever dared follow--between perfection and passion.

My expectations: Mixed. I had read positive reviews saying "This is a great book!" and meh reviews saying "This book was a take-off of [insert title here]" and negative reviews saying "This book isn't very good".

About the book: One thing I read several times is that this book is a lot like The Giver by Lois Lowry.

My opinion? This book really was not like The Giver. Mainly because Cassia, the main character, was very different from Jonas, as were the others the book focused on. The Society is similar in many ways, but it never made it into my head that "Yes! This book is like The Giver!"

The writing style I just couldn't get attached to. I felt like the author was trying to keep some distance between the reader and the character, which I don't usually mind, but in this case I found kind of flat. The scenes were not particularly detailed--I would get information on one thing, but not other factors that I really would have preferred to know about. It wasn't a bad style, but it isn't my favorite.

  • Plot:
I could guess what happened. In what's probably every single YA book I've read the character goes after--taking from the blurb--"passion". Heck with "perfection". It's always passion, and this was no exception. Some details of the plot kept me going, like what the Society Officials were doing and if there would be revolution. I do love a good revolution.

  • Characters:
Let me say this now: I did not like Cassia. At all, really. She was okay at first--I felt as if she was a little annoying but might turn out to have some real potential when I read the opening scene--but I just couldn't get attached to her. Another contrast with The Giver: Jonas cares about the people and citizens of his city and their well-being. Cassia, it seemed to me, does not. It's all KY. And goodness, don't get in her way when it comes to Ky.

Ky himself was interesting. Again, I just couldn't get attached to him. He had his secrets, and it was intriguing that he knew how to write like that, but he wasn't the most spectacular love interest. I liked him better than Cassia, however. He knew what the Society was really like, and what they did to people.

(I felt there were too few emotional obstacles between them. It was just the Officials in their way--and come on, relationships aren't like that. There's conflict between people.)

Xander was normal. He had his faults, but he cared about Cassia and he seemed less willing to just believe than Cassia did. I hope he comes back in the sequel, because I get the feeling he could really have his day.

  • Setting/Elements:
The Society intrigued me. Their rules, regulations, laws, restrictions, what's not to find interesting and appalling about a government who destroys art, poetry, writing, everything except 100 works in each section of human expression?

Other: This book is relatively clean for a YA novel. In fact, I wouldn't say that Matched is significantly more violent/etc. than The Giver. It just has a romantic theme.

Do I recommend this book? Not really. I wouldn't say "Don't ever read this book!" but it's not on my list of must-reads.

-----The Golden Eagle


The Words Crafter said...

Whoa, and so many people rave about this book. I really appreciate that you give honest reviews!!!!!

Thanks, and have a great week!

Sun Singer said...

I always like reading your reviews, even if they're for books I've never heard of and (like this one) never plan to read. They're succinct, honest and very readable.

li said...

I'm always wary when a new book is compared to great book. It seldom holds water. This was a really solid and thoughtful review.

L'Aussie said...

Reviews are to be taken with a grain of salt (and I review a lot). They are very subjective, have to be, and we all like different things in a book. I like the way you've treated this one. I never take much notice. Same with movie reviews - hmm. Some of the best movies I've seen got so-so reviews.


Lynda R Young said...

Interesting. Even though you've given it a lukewarm review, it actually makes me want to read it more -- prob because I trust this review more than the rave reviews.

Old Kitty said...

Love, love, love your honest review!! Yay!!! :-)

And yay for prefering ink and paper to ereaders!! I was feeling quite lonely there with everyone one else in blogland loving their e-this and e-that!! :-) Take care

Brian said...

I do like the cover though!

Theresa Milstein said...

For all the hype this got... I kinda agree with your assessment of the book.

And this passion/perfection thing is getting to me big time! I need a break from YA just for that reason. In my mind, they're all turning into versions of the same book. It doesn't help that I've read too many dystopians in a row.

Thanks for the honest and thoughtful review.

Anonymous said...

I've been thinking about reading this book. Thanks for the in-depth review.

Michelle Merrill said...

Great review. Gotta love Ky :)

Laura Howard said...

The beginning of Matched was waaay too slow, but IMO the end picked up a bit. I'll be reading the sequel, but it was close to a Fail:)

Charles Gramlich said...

One thing that really puts me off a book is being lectured at by the author.

The Golden Eagle said...

The Words Crafter: I hope you find the review helpful! :)

You're welcome. Hope you have a great week, too!

Malcolm: I'm glad you enjoy them.

Thank you!

Li: True. Sometimes a book is good, but rarely are they just like another novel--and if they were, that itself wouldn't really be an asset. :P

Denise: I agree. People like different things--most of the time, I decide if a review has merit by reading other reviews the same person has done and check to see what they said about other things.

Lynda: Well, I hope you enjoy Matched, if you do read it! :)

Old Kitty: I'm glad you like it! :D

Me, too--nice to know I'm not the one and only!

Brian: I like it, too!

Theresa: Exactly. I can see why it would happen that way--but it seems like there has to be a more inventive sort of YA plot. :P

You're welcome!

Writesbymoonlight: You're welcome. :)

Michelle: Thanks!


Laura: I kinda felt that way, too.

Charles: I don't like that, either. I prefer forming my own opinions about a subject!

N. R. Williams said...

Thank you for answering my question. I don't have an e-reader either. I will pass on that book.
N. R. Williams, The Treasures of Carmelidrium, Special .99 through April 30

mist of the blossom rain said...

When I started reading your post, I was thinking about how much it sounded like The Giver. I guess you knew that though!;)

RaShelle said...

Thanks for such a great review. I bought this book for the cover. I love it! I haven't been able to read it though. It didn't grab me right from the start.

You know, I should have you read my MS. I bet you could find plot holes and whatever else is right or wrong in a snap. =D

Talei said...

Agreed, bad plot always puts me off a book! And I do prefer printed books, though e-books are good for travel methinks.

Thanks for the honest book review, I haven't heard of Matched before. ( I know, where have I been?)

Lydia K said...

A fair review, I'd say. I had many similar thoughts.
Thanks GE!

Alleged Author said...

Did it make you want to stop reading because you didn't like one of the main characters? I always find it hard to read on when I don't like the protag. That's why it's taken me for forever to read some books!

Clarissa Draper said...

I'm with you on plot. I hate weak plots.

Great review.

taio said...

bine scris

....Petty Witter said...

Many thanks for answering my question. I can cope (just about) with a 'bad' plot, it's boring, badly written characters that really puts me off.

Thanks for a wonderfully honest review, not a book I'd pick but I never say never.

Heather said...

Thank you for this honest review. I'll have to peek at a few pages of this one before buying it.

The Golden Eagle said...

Nancy: You're welcome! :)

Emily: LOL. ;D It is a bit like The Giver, in some ways--but in many others not really.

RaShelle: You're welcome!

I like the cover, too. :)

I actually found that interesting, since I write and am currently working on the beginning of one of my novels--I was thinking about what made it work and not work.

Reading your MS would be some opportunity. I'm sure it's awesome. :D

Talei: Oh, I see your point! Carrying around a stack of books--not fun. :P

You're welcome!

Maybe it's just been released in the USA? I don't know if it was published internationally.

Lydia: You're welcome! :)

Alleged Author: Actually, sometimes a MC I don't like keeps me reading a story--I always want to find out of the character wises up or stops being annoying. LOL.

Clarissa: They bug me; I just don't see why they weren't sewn up or taken care of.

Thank you!

Taio: Thanks! :)

Tracy: You're welcome!

They set me off, too; the boring ones are the worst. They're just not dynamic enough to keep the reader's attention.

You're welcome! :)

Heather: You're quite welcome.

If you read it, I hope you enjoy it!

Robyn Campbell said...

Love your straight forward reviews. They are very thought provoking. I've heard of this book. I do not plan on reading it though. :)

Julie @ Knitting and Sundries said...

This one really has had some mixed reviews; it seems either love/hate. The Giver is one of my favorite books of all time, so I would never go into another book trying to compare the two. I still have this one on my "I should probably buy it for Not-So-Bebe-Girl Autumn" list, however. Thanks for the review; it was very detailed and thoughful.

Misha said...

Matched was such a hyped up book! I haven't read this, but my sister has. She said Matched has copied a lot from The Giver.
I tend to avoid such hyped up books because they always let me down.

Great review!

The Golden Eagle said...

Robyn: Thanks! I'm glad you like them. :)

Julie: I feel the same way about some of my favorite books. I just don't like seeing them compared to new novels. :P

You're welcome!

Misha: That often happens to me, too--although there have been some hyped-up novels that I did enjoy, like Incarceron.

Cally Jackson said...

Thanks for this review. I read another review recently that also rated it 'ho hum' so I don't think I'll be in too much of a hurry to read it!

Krispy said...

I was iffy about reading Matched because of the hype, but I won a copy. I ended up really liking it, but I totally agree it isn't everyone's cup of tea. Another disclaimer is that I've never read the Giver, so I couldn't make comparisons.

Anyway, it's nice to read an honest and even-handed review like yours. Even though I liked the book, I can see where your points are coming from. :)