Title: Matched; Crossed; Reached
Author: Ally Condie
Genre: Young Adult; Dystopian; Romance
Synopsis: 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. (Goodreads)
I’m not really sure what to say about this series. On one hand, I didn’t find it particularly riveting. I didn’t feel compelled to keep reading and turning the page to get to the end. It had your basic elements of a dystopia: a government that restricts supplies and keeps a hold on its citizens, the happiness masking trouble, and so on. The new element was the whole Match system; that the Society would choose your perfect match (based on genetics, personality, etc.). It reminded me of a fanfic*. Overall, it was pretty… Well, boring. I felt that it was basically just moving people from Point A to Point B. Maybe it if the story didn’t drag so much, I would have been more interested.
So what did I like? Well, the Match system interested me for a bit. All of the ceremony that came with it. I was also intrigued by the whole situation where works of art (e.g. songs and poems) were limited to only a hundred of each type. I wondered what those hundred would be, and why they made it into that select pool. While it was fun to learn about Cassia’s world, the novelty soon wore off.
Moving on to the characters, I never really got attached to any of them. There is some good character development over the course of the series, but I felt that the characters fell flat for me. They were likeable enough, just not incredibly unique. Oh, yes. Forgot to mention, there’s obviously a love triangle. Not my favourite thing to see, but at least it made it just a tad more interesting.
Another issue I have with the books is the writing style. It switches between characters, and that is not so bad until big time jumps start to happen between chapters. The skips happen so fast that I barely register they happen, and then I get confused. I’ll be reading along and then BOOM suddenly months have passed!
The last book fared kind of better in that it started out pretty interesting. But by the 60% mark, it was dragging so much and I just wanted it to end. Either it would drag, or that sudden time jump would happen. It made for a read with a jerky pacing.
Overall: I give this series a three out of five stars. It suffers from being draggy and pretty boring, but if you don’t want to get too bogged down, it’s a good enough read. However, in terms of world-building and characterisation, it is not the best dystopian title out there.
*Note: The fanfic in question is an Alternate Universe one for The Hunger Games that carried this matching premise instead of a bloodbath. Let me know if you would like the link.