Author: Ally Condie
Published: September, 2011
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 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.
Characterization and badassery
It’s easy to rail against a dystopian world where you’re hungry, dirty, and part of the disenfranchised. But what if you’re one of the protected? Sure, you’re coerced into following the rules, but in general, you can expect a comfortable life. That makes it easier to go along with life as you know it.
Cassia lives in that world, until she starts to take a harder look at her society. She starts seeing inconsistency. She starts having doubts. This is how a revolution gently begins.
Cassia is a YA heroine on the cusp of becoming a revolutionary. This entire book is essentially a prequel to what feels like will become a civil war. Cassia and her friends are nicely developed, as is their world. Their small rebellions are tiny ripples in the pond, but in time, I suspect, they will grow into tidal forces.
Plot and pacing
This rolled along well. There was only a small drag about three-quarters of the way through where I waited for something to happen, but the slow simmer continued. The plot is light, as I mentioned above. In this first book of the series, time is spent developing the characters and the world, rather than pushing hard on plot. This works, because I think there’s a lot to come in book two.
Prose and editing
Good prose, even pretty sometimes. Some nice thoughts. Not too artsy for a YA novel, but more atmospheric than a lot of YA. Which I liked.
Like most dystopians, there’s not a lot to laugh about.
I read very few dystopians these days, but I liked this one because it offered a different perspective than most. The characters made me want to root for them, even the secondary characters like Cassia’s family. A great start to a series.