The familiar look of these covers have made their rounds among young adult literature since seemingly the beginning of time. And I just now read it.
Cassia has been looking forward to her Matching banquet since she could talk. She picks out a beautiful green dress from the catalog, fidgets with her gourmet food, and awaits the screen’s reveal of her Match.
And it’s the boy of her dreams. The boy she’s grown up with all her life. The boy she didn’t dare hope she’d be matched with: Xander. There’s a problem, though. When she went home to watch the video on her Match, another face popped up. And she knew this guy as well: Kai. Now, she’s wondering if Xander’s really right for her, or if Kai is her true soul-mate.
If I read this book like a year or two earlier, I would have loved it. But after Divergent, Hunger Games, Delirium, etc… dystopian love triangles are just exhausting.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s a good book. I recommend it for dystopian die-hards. I really do. But, personally, I tire of reading the same basic plot lines in the same basic setting with the same basic archetypes.
The writing is fast-paced and easy to comprehend. Condie builds the world gradually to keep the reader intrigued and guessing at their unique customs and government oppression. In the beginning, there’s nothing inherently wrong about Cassia’s world, but it’s obvious that free-thinking is discouraged and everyone monitored closely. This, again, goes along with many other dystopias, but considering this book was one of the kick-starters to the trend, I don’t think it’s because of lack of creativity.
The world is beautiful, the characters likable, and the plot line captivating, but I just feel weary of the similarities I find between this and other books. Condie was probably one of the first to start the trend, which goes back to me liking the book more if I read it earlier.
Otherwise, there’s not much to say about it. It’s a fast book, easy. It’s a book that you can blow through and wipe your hands of and move on, and I like reading books like this once in a while.
I did, however, stop and think about the poem. The Dylan Thomas poem, “Do Not Go Gentle into that Good Night,” was integrated fabulously into the story. It actually made me like a poem! That’s a pretty huge feat, because I shy away from anything that resembles a stanza. Condie relates the poem perfectly to the overall theme of the book, and it gives a credibility to Cassia’s and Kai’s thoughts of rebellion while showing the power of literature. In any other circumstance, I probably wouldn’t have given the poem a second thought, but she puts context and characters and emotions attached to it, and I really enjoyed reading it. Plus, it made an appearance in that new movie Interstellar so I could be all pompous and flip my hair and boast that I had already read that poem.
It’s a quick book with an interesting story, but not terribly unique. I enjoyed that Condie added bits of the poem, and that really made the book stick out more for me. I wouldn’t say it’s my favorite book, but I definitely wouldn’t discourage any readers from choosing it as their next book.