Monday, January 17, 2011
Cassia's true dilemma begins twofold: First, when she scans the microcard bearing Xander's personal information on the family port, for a brief moment, it's not Xander's face that appears, but that of Ky, a casual friend with a mysterious background. Secondly, her beloved grandfather is approaching his 80th birthday, and that's the age the Society has ordained that all citizens will die. Before he dies, however, he gives Cassia her one "artifact" allowed by Society: a very old compact, and it is within this compact that she discovers a forbidden piece of poetry, one not among the Hundred Poems Society believes are all that are needed. So what happens next? Will Cassia's curiosity about Ky lead her down a dangerous path away from her Matched best friend, or will she succumb to Society's pressure and follow the path dictated? Will she keep the forbidden poem or will she somehow find a way to share it?
Matched is more than just a dystopian society tale or even a romantic journey. It is carefully layered so that each of Cassia's decisions brings with it consequences that are not pleasant and possibly even dangerous. The Society, while controlling all aspects of its citizens' lives, has worked well for a very long time and Cassia's impulse to defy convention would not be treated with leniency. Most importantly, Cassia sees her parents' roles in Society and slowly realizes that not all Society intervention has bad outcomes.
Knowing that the problems in Matched will not have easy solutions, the book becomes almost impossible to put down as you feel the tension build as Cassia examines her own motives and those of the times in which she lives. While her Society is futuristic, her problems are, in many ways, typical of those of any teen: Do you do what is expected or do you choose to be your own person? Most importantly, what is love and is it worth it? I was kept on the edge of my seat as I followed Cassia's journey, and I'm eager to read the next book in this trilogy. Excellent writing and well thought out, Matched is going to stick with me.