Synopsis Snippet: In the Society, Officials decide. Who you love. Where you work. When you die.
Cassia has never doubted the logic in this process. Until a second face flashes for the barest moment on the screen showing her Match. Confusion and curiosity send Cassia down a dangerous path to find out what is going on.
The Cast: A genetically engineered (through strict Match-Making policies) bunch of people who seem to fit the current stereotypes of “physical fitness” (meaning white, thin, able-bodied, cis-gendered, etc).
There IS potential for there to be more diversity outside of this city but that remains to be seen in future books; it was not explored really here. Characters are pretty vanilla in that aspect. The main character is a girl (Cassia) and two main male interests are Ky and Xander. I did find these characters, and even the side-characters of parents and other friends, to be relate-able and sympathetic.
Romance Aspects: Lots! The premise of the plot hinges on Cassia being informed that her Match is Xander; and then she sees a flicker on the screen of Ky. Was it a mistake? Was Ky intended to be her Match instead? There are lots of moments of sexual tension and even a few kisses but the action is tame. The barely contained lusty urges are, however, ripe!
Language: This reads like a combination of the Giver and Hunger Games. Thoughtful, moving and with lots of descriptive text of Cassia’s inner thoughts as she digs into the world around her, trying to figure out what she wants and if that meshes with the Society’s demands of her. There are not many swears to speak of and only a few words unique to the Society’s world that need to be explained in along the way.
Fat treatment: Fat is only tangentially treated as an aspect that has been “bred” out of the human race by the Society’s matching programs. No other touching on the subject otherwise and no characters of note or passing to mention.
Review: A sorta slow (compared to Hunger Games) start to what promises to be a great trilogy of a girl finding her own choices in a pre-planned distopian society.
Sometime in a future an unexplained distance from our own, society has fallen and The Society has worked hard to create a perfect life of perfect citizens. Matches (mating partners really) are pre-planned. Citizens are watched by the Officials and the “choices” given are deviously non-choices.
Cassia is happy to be having her Match Banquet on her 17th birthday. It all feels like a fabulous celebration. When the highly unusual happens and she ends up knowing who her match is, life seems that it has fallen into an even more perfect path before her.
But, a chance glimpse of another boy’s face where her Match’s should be gives her pause and sets forward a heart-pounding tale of small rebellions and whispered secrets and mounting confusion.
The pace of the plot was a bit slow for a single novel but as the first in a trilogy it was a good set-up of the world and characters. I could empathize with Cassia’s confusion as the world around her showed some of its darker sides and the Society’s infallibility began to waver in her eyes. Both Ky and Xander were good characters as well who I wanted to hear more about.
This is no action-packed tale of fighting against the machine but it is a griping story of the thoughts (Do not go gently) that can lead to a desire for change and for that I loved it.
Great Quotes: Some awesome tidbits that might get your curiosity going.
“Ever since the day of the mistake with my Match, I’ve never known which life is my true one…I think a part of me hasn’t felt at peace. It was as though I saw for the first time that life could branch into different paths, take different directions.”
“I feel the faintest heat from the fire below as Ky’s story burns, and I wonder if I will ever have the strengths to hold onto something. Grandfathers poems. Ky’s story. Or if I will always be someone who destroys.”
“Did Sisyphus have to do this, too? I wonder. Stop for a minute and concentrate on holding firm, on pushing the rock just enough to keep it from rolling down and crushing him, before he could even think about trying to climb again?”
Final Verdict: A good read which left me interested in getting the next two in the trilogy in my hands. It didn’t have the exhilaration of Hunger Games but it had enough action to keep the pages turning as Cassia kept prying into the life around her and falling deeper into the confusing love triangle between herself, Ky and Xander.
So, have you read this yet? Would you now want to? Would you suggest it to someone else?