The Matched series imagines a society where Officials decide who you should love and marry; how many children you will have; where you will work and ultimately, when you will die. For seventeen year-old Cassia, this is her frustrating world. When she sees two faces then on her match screen – her best friend, Xander, and an unknown boy, Ky – Cassia, for the first time ever, has to make an impossible and important choice.
This series starts right in the middle of the action and continues from there. Normally I consider this a good thing, however, I’m not so sure in terms of this series. When I finished this series, I felt a little bit underwhelmed. A lot of the time, I was waiting for something dramatic to happen to keep me hooked throughout. Throughout the book you’re getting nearer and nearer the end and you’re waiting for that big, shocking event but really, it never happens. From the middle to the end, it is very flat and this is of course where the main things happen. I’m just not sure.
The writing and characters, on the other hand, were really well done. Ally Condie writes some beautiful stuff especially when Cassia goes hiking on the hills. At some points this did distract my attention from the action however. While I was disappointed by the pacing of this novel, the last chapter of Reached was spectacular, allowing Condie to finally pick up her game and write some thrilling and beautiful prose. The ending was satisfying and tied up the various plot lines across this series well.
Cassia was alright as a protagonist. I questioned a lot of her decisions and although I enjoyed her narration, I found her personality annoying at times as well as a lot of cliche decisions. On the other hand….Xander. Oh my. If he was real, he WOULD be my best friend. He is just so lovely and understanding. A little obsessive but nonetheless, I love him as a character. I found I liked him more and more as the series progressed especially as he latterly comes to the forefront, feeling more like a main character by the end rather than blending into the background.
In conclusion, while I had clear problems with this series, I did read the whole series which means it must have hooked me to some extent! I thought the series got better as it carried on. The dystopian element of it was believable and added a relatable element of this scary world. There are certainly better dystopian series out there, but this is worth a shot if you’re intrigued.
I give it a 3 out of 5