Author: Ally Condie
Genre: Young Adult, Dystopian Fantasy
Pages: 400 (paperback)
Date Completed: 21 October 2011
First Sentence: Now that I've found the way to fly, which direction should I go into the night?
Favorite (main) Character: Cassia
Favorite (non-main) Character: Grandfather or Xander
This book is a dystopian fantasy set around a girl named Cassia who lives in 'The Society.' The main focus of this society in this book is the 'Matching' ceremony - the time in a citizen's life when they are matched with their spouse. The system is considered to be perfect - created to optimize a member's life. Cassia is both excited and nervous for her ceremony and is thrilled when her turn comes and she is matched with her best friend, Xander. However, there's a glitch in the system and Cassia, later, when reviewing her materials suddenly sees a flash of the face of another boy she knows. Now unsure about the system - is there really only one perfect match for a person? - Cassia begins to wonder about the Society she had been raised in.
Fans of The Giver and The Hunger Games trilogy will see many elements of both books within Condie's pages. This frustrated me at first; it's always hard for me to see ideas so obviously borrowed from other books. However, this book and it's characters grew on me easily and I was able to see things I had not thought of before. Condie didn't take the whole Giver or Hunger Games in her novel. Instead she took an idea or two which were only slightly hinted at and created a whole new world and story around them. The worlds are similar, but the premise of the story is quite different.
I love a good dystopian fantasy. I think they do a good job of reminding us which direction that we don't want our world to go. And while I loved this book and found myself thinking about the story long after I had turned the last page, I still only give it 3.5 stars. I think Condie has set a good foundation for a great series; I just think it has room to grow.
My recommendation? Read it. It's an easy read and a good book to have a discussion on. Book club anyone?