This book was one of THE hypes around the time that I started blogging. I was desperate to read it. I hadn’t read any dystopian books yet, and the premise sounded so interesting, and then everyone seemed to talk about it so I couldn’t help but be curious right? It was on my wish list for over 2 years, until I finally got it from the library. As reviews started to stream in, the hype dampened and most bloggers I know expressed disappointment. But I was pedantic: surely they were mistaken – how could something so promising disappoint as much as they said?
Matched paints a picture of a world where the society decides everything: who people love, who they marry, the work they are fitted for, the number of children they receive, the perfect amount of food for your body type, and the moment you die. When Cassia turns seventeen, she meets her match on the match-banquet. Her match is supposed to be her perfect partner, but when she opens the microchip with information on her match she finds out that the society might have made a mistake. And Cassia finds herself falling in love with another boy, which leads her to doubt the world view she grew up with..
There has been a lot of criticism of this series: a hastily painted dystopian world with little to no depth, a plot that moves along in an agonizingly slow pace, a not-so-believable path of having Cassie fall in love with someone else, a love triangle that feels a little forced, flowery writing that grates and is often superfluous..
And while I agree with all of that in hindsight, I rather enjoyed my experience of reading Matched. Light, comfort reading it was to be sure. Not so much depth – I admit. Slow, yes, but I rather liked that for a change; no rushed plot that I felt excited about but moved too fast for me to keep up with. And while in retrospect the world building did look thin, I liked how Condie took her time in showing the society’s world to the reader. And after finishing, I found myself returning to Cassia’s world from time to time, not desperate to know more perhaps, but at least a little curious.
And then my hold for the next installment in the series came in at the library: Crossed. And I just couldn’t find the motivation to read it. Until I finally gave in because I needed a fast read that enabled me to forget my painful sprained ankle for a while. And it worked. Despite my hesitance, I did quickly fall into the story again, and continued reading right until the end with almost no interruptions.
But that is about all the positive I can say about Crossed, because strangely all the criticism that I was willing to ignore in the first installment annoyed me to no end in this second book. Oh my, how flowery the writing is. And oh my, how little happens. And why oh why did we have the triangle thrust upon us again? And why is Cassie so quick to judge Ky’s ideas and world view, because you know he might actually have a point having more experience in the situation they find themselves in? And with regards to the latter, why are female protagonists in YA sometimes portrayed as quick to judge, knowing she will be proven wrong by a wiser male love interests? Hmmm. Really, the story, the world building, the character development, it all suddenly seemed so very thin to me. Perhaps it was my mood, or perhaps this really is the weaker book in the series.
I won’t say much of anything about the plot because I wouldn’t be able to describe it without giving away everything about the first two books in the series (because yes, the second book’s plot is as thin as that). I will only tell you that Cassia hopes to escape society and to find the forbidden-love-interest in the outer provinces, where he is meant to function as a decoy-free-to-be-killed in the war between the society and the resistance. Oh, and the other side of the triangle plays a role too.
And yet, Crossed was another example of a book that I finished in one day. And it again left me pondering the story and characters – even after deciding that I didn’t like it very much – in the following days. I guess I will simply need to cave and read the third and last book in the series once it becomes available at the library..