Sunday, September 12, 2010

Review of Matched: By Allie Condie

Release Date: November 30, 2010

Amazon Says:
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 say:
Well. The cover glitters.
And the writing isn't bad. And a lot of people have liked, even love it.
But . . .
I'm sorry. I know I was supposed to love this book. But I didn't. In fact, I was kind of underwhelmed.
-takes deep breath-
I don't like giving bad reviews. Normally, I would just keep my cyber mouth shut. I'll explain why I'm not at the end of the post.
I disliked the MC quite a lot. I felt as if she were screwing over Xander, her best friend, through much of the novel, and it was driving me insane. Sure, she felt a little bad. But honestly? If I was doing that to my best guy friend, it would be awful. I just didn't like her. I felt as if the relationship was slightly underdeveloped -- as in, she was only with Ky because she was curious as to why his face flashed up -- and I thought that the 'hooks' of the dystopian world were predictable. The best developed characters, to me, were the 'bad guys' and many of the secondary characters. The last fifty pages were quite good, but I felt as if the rest was building, building, building, and it wasn't until those last fifty pages that I was at all emotionally invested.
But this is the thing.
The book wasn't bad. (Says the person who just wrote a paragraph about what she didn't like.) Really, I didn't like it much, but it wasn't awful. The writing itself was good, the idea was interesting, and hey, flawed characters are great.
But Matched has been built up so much. So, so much. The next Hunger Games, some have said.
No. I don't understand that. Not at all.
It's not on the same level. I don't see any possible similarities. I think that Matched was a solid book, but it wasn't the epic level of Hunger Games. Yes, Ms. Condie shares an agent with Stephanie Meyers, but I don't actually see that much of a similarity to Twilight, either. If this book hadn't built up so much, I might have liked it more. But I opened it up expecting Katniss and Peeta, or even Edward and Bella. And I was disappointed. Like, really disappointed.
I might be one of few. I've been flipping around, looking at other people's reviews, because I was curious. The book earned a 7 figure deal. So...Obviously it has merit. And people either seem to love it or ... really just not. I fell into the second category; it is also the smaller category. A lot smaller. I think people want to like this book, but I'm sorry. I just didn't. I kind of feel like there's something wrong with me because I didn't. But if I hadn't read so much great, shiny stuff about how it was the best book ever, maybe I would have liked it more.
 I'm giving the negative review because I think that it destroys books to be built so high on a pedestal; hopefully, you can go into Matched without quite as high expectations. Chances are, you might like it. You might even love it. I just didn't.
Please don't shoot me.


Lyla said...

I haven't read this one yet, but I do want to. I've felt this same way about books before though! I agree that the pedestal can completely ruin the experience. It's mean of people to try to compare books to The Hunger Games right now, IMO. It's gonna be a while before something that incredible shows up again. And when it does, it will be incredible in its own right, not because it's a THG knockoff.

Caitlin said...

Thanks for the review! I've heard mixed reactions to Matched, so it's good to hear a voice opposing to all the "omigodnewhungergames!!!" reviews. *sigh*

It's getting harder for authors, I think, because anything paranormal is instantly compared to Twilight or City of Bones, and anything dystopian or post-apoc is compared to the Hunger Games. These books overshadow any other competition, know what I mean?

PS. I agree about the cover - totes sparkly and pretty! :D

Anonymous said...

I agree with both Lyla and Caitlin for new authors to succeed in the fantasy genre they'll need to completely rethink and rewrite the current public perception of fantasy/science fiction. (Public Perception being the community of current fantasy readers)(That statement made me feel smart:D)