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.
Once again, do not be led astray by the summary! It is a love story, certainly, but it’s within a social system like that of Huxley’s Brave New World. Everything from minimal information for citizens, the color of uniforms to denote class and position, and little pills that will aid or hinder your functioning. Unlike Brave New World, where everything is based on pleasure, the Society in Matched is on perfection: the perfect vocation, the perfect age for death, the perfect body size and calorie intake, the perfect person to Match with (or even the option to be the perfect Single). It’s down to an art, and a fascinating one at that, but to what cost?
It’s clear that Cassia has never come across a glitch in the Society’s well-oiled machine of a system, because she was perfectly content with her situation and surroundings prior to reading a microcard. This, as well as her grandfather’s heavy hints at a better, freer life filled with choices, causes her to question everything. Cassia becomes a skeptic, allowing the reader to became wary and anxious along with her.
The Society is incredibly fascinating! A part of me wondered what it would be like to live in such a place. It seemed so…well, perfect, and wonderful. Here, you don’t have to know loads of information about random stuff. If you’re not math-inclined, for example, don’t worry about it – someone else will take care of everything. If you can’t remember details of events in history, don’t worry – you only need to know one hundred lessons. But then the heartbreaking things happen: someone else chose which one hundred songs, poems, books, and lessons; someone else chooses your vocation based on your talents rather than your interests. Would you like to know more about the poet Alfred, Lord Tennyson? There’s no way to find out – because his works did not make it to the One Hundred Poems and knowing his name alone would cause suspicion and incite an Infraction.
You cannot be curious in this society. You cannot be a creator. You can only take what you’re given and become a doer. It’s these glitches that cause Cassia to rebel, to question everything, and to wonder who she would really fall in love with if given the choice.
Rating: ★★★★★ of 5
Goodreads: 3.79 of 5