Disclaimer: All reviews are the result of my personal opinion from a Christian stand-point. These reviews are provided for those who share my beliefs and morals, to help guide what fiction a reader may wish to pick up. For those who do not share these beliefs, please refrain from hateful comments. It is due to rude commenting that I must now include this note prior to all reviews. For more information, visit my purpose behind this blog. Thank you for your understanding.Summary:
Intended Age-Group: 14+
Issues of Violence: Some war violence
Intimacy Level: A few kisses
Recommendation: *** (See end of entry and rating scale)
Matched came from the fact the main character, Cassia, has a functioning family: two parents (both who are normal and love her) and one sibling (also normal, or as normal as a younger brother can be). Positive family relationships are so rare in current teen novels that I nearly double-checked the year (2010) and targeted age group. This first favorable impression prequels the consistent cleanness and positivity throughout the novel.
Cassia, born and raised in Mapletree Borough, has reached her 17th birthday. It is time to be Matched. She discards her uniformed outfit for a single night and dons a gorgeous gown in which to present herself to her future mate. He could be anyone and anywhere. When her spouse-to-be is announced (previously and perfectly chosen by the Society), she is given a microcard about his likes and life to watch before they start officially courting. But when she watches the microcard, another boy's face flashes up for a single moment. With that flash enter questions and doubts about life and the Society that inevitably change the entire course of Cassia's previously monitored and programmed life. Which boy is the real one she's supposed to marry? And does that coincide with the one she's chosen to fall in love with?
I was pleasantly surprised by this book. The many times I bypassed its cover, I never imagined the contents to be so enjoyable. This book is clean and still fairly interesting (what? That's impossible!). The plot is a bit slow moving, which may turn out difficult for the younger readers, but it remains innocent and adventurous. I was a little bored and the book was a push sometimes, but I'm also more of an action-craving reader. Matched may not be for me, but it's perfectly appropriate and clean for the younger readers.
Cassia's character seems a little backward at times. Though she is 17, she acts a bit too young; however, the new culture that Cassia lives in--a futuristic eutopia-type future--may play a large role in Cassia's naivety. Sometimes, in "future" novels, the characters are a little "slower" because the Government/Society/Leadership controls all food, all speech, all activities, etc. You see it in the movie Equilibrium, the book We, and so on. I wonder if, in the future, we really will forget how to think for ourselves. It's hard seeing the correct answer and choices right in front of Cassia's nose, but knowing it will take her three more chapters to see it, but it is also fun going through the process with her as she seeks answers, wisdom, and freedom.
There is no mention of God except for one time when she refers to the officials as "our Gods" because of the way they control everything. It's more of a description than a pushed view of God. Overall, I am thrilled to recommend this book to all ages above 13 and will keep my eye out for the sequel! (Next November! *groan*)
I'm placing it as a neutral recommendation, just because I don't think I'd read it again. It's a little too slow moving for me, though I expect book 2 (Crossed) will pick up the pace.
Violence Level: **
Romance Level: ***
Christian Focus: *
Readability Level: ***
Story Depth Level: ***
Nadine Brandes is an adventurer, fusing authentic faith with bold imagination. She writes stories about brave living, finding purpose, and other worlds soaked in imagination. Her debut dystopian novel, A Time to Die, releases 2014 from Marcher Lord Press. When Nadine's not taste-testing a new chai or editing fantasy novels, she is out pursuing adventures. She currently lives in Idaho with her husband. You can find out more about Nadine and her books at http://nadinebrandes.com.