Monday, March 25, 2013

Audiobook Review:Matched (Matched,#1)


MatchedAuthor: Ally Condie
Narrator: Kate Simses
Published: November 30th 2010
Publisher: Playaway
Buy: The Book Depository



Sometimes I decide that a book isn’t for me based on some silly, almost non-existent reason, and then I stubbornly stick with my decision until something forces me to reconsider. In this case, I avoided Matched like the plague because the entire plot seemed to be based on a love triangle, but I was forced to change my mind when I came into possession of the audiobook. With hours of driving ahead of me, I had no choice but to give it a chance. And I loved it.

Matched is extremely character-centric. There’s very little plot to speak of, and there aren’t many oscillations in the narrative structure. While it’s a beautiful, gentle read, exciting isn’t a word that applies. In all honesty, I didn’t mind one bit, the character growth was enough to keep me happy and my mind fully occupied.

I won’t go into the love triangle lest I spoil what little plot there is. Suffice it to say that it’s not really a love triangle as it’s clear from the beginning what Cassia feels for Xander and what she feels for Ky. As someone who dislikes love triangles on general principle, I must confess that this one wasn’t nearly as torturous as I’d originally assumed.

I love that Condie approached the Society in a very mature way, always aware that while it might be bad for some, it saved many others; and I don’t just mean those who hold the power, but regular people who are better off because the Society takes care of them. This is somewhat new in dystopian literature and I admire Condie for thoroughly exploring the gray areas and not portraying the Society as the source of all evil. What is awful and constrictive for some may very well be great for others. Cassia’s thoughts about those who are not free-spirited by nature and who are very comfortable being taken care of by the Society endeared her to me greatly. She was never judgmental or harsh, and she understood that people find comfort and happiness in different things, and that for some, nothing works better than having all their decisions taken away from them.

Some things about the Society were more believable than others but I took them all in stride as inevitable parts of the genre. However, there was one thing central to the story that I simply couldn’t accept. In the Society, people use tablets to write, but no one writes or reads cursive anymore. In fact, they have nothing to write with and they’d surely get into trouble for even attempting it. Somehow I find it hard to believe that people would allow themselves to lose their ability to write. I’ve read a research or two a couple of years ago that focused on this possibility (and it was considered to be a possibility), but it seems very unlikely to me.

I suppose I should write a few words about Kate Simses, the audiobook narrator, as well. At first I was uncomfortable with her mellow, almost childish voice, but as I got to know Cassia, I realized that it fits her perfectly. (That said, she also narrated Shatter Me, and somehow I doubt her voice worked as well for Juliette.) She never fell into the trap of overdoing male voices as so many narrators do, and I really liked how easily she used her voice to make the differences between Ky and Xander even more pronounced.

Matched is a read only for the patient, but it is very rewarding. If you’re like me and you’re avoiding it because of the love triangle, learn from my mistake. I should have read it much sooner.


31 comments:

  1. I'm glad you finally gave Matched a go Maja and you ended up enjoying it. I picked this up a a few years ago and it didn't really work out for me, I think it may have been because I wasn't go through a decent dystopian phase at the time. And so I decided to abandon the whole series. But I look forward to seeing how you find the series if you continue to progress with it! Lovely review hun! :)

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  2. I completely understand avoiding a series, especially one that has a love triangle (gah!!). I actually only read the first one in this series and felt it was alright but I wasn't inspired to read the next two.

    It makes me cry to think that people might lose the ability (or willingly give it up) to write. However, they're not really teaching cursive anymore and the majority of my high school students can't even read it, much less write it. It's horrible! Just because there's technology doesn't mean handwriting should go the way of the dinosaur.

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  3. Glad you enjoyed. It is character centric and I think that is why I liked the first so much. I still haven't finished the series though.

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  4. "Matched is a read only for the patient, but it is very rewarding."

    I couldn't agree more Maja!!! I absolutely loved this book even though it's definitely slow-going, there was just something fascinating about Cassia and Ky and their quiet rebellion against their "perfect" world. My love for this book made my disappointment in book two hurt all the more though:( I'll be interested to see what you think if you pick it up (or listen to it)!

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  5. You know, for whatever reason awhile ago I decided I wasn't going to read this one either (or at least not anytime soon) but dang it! Now I might have to reconsider after reading your review.
    I love character growth. One of my pet peeves in series is if the characters don't grow at all.

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  6. This one never seemed to interest me, but I have to admit your review has me curious. I met Condie at a signing and she was such a cute, timid person. I like how there were good and bad layers to the dystopian society and she presented something that you could see both sides of. Great review, Maja!

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  7. Nice! I like that Cassia is an understanding person and this book explores the Society as more then just a plain bad system.
    I liked reading your thoughts on the audiobook reader, its nice that the reader's voice matched Cassia's personality.
    Fabulous review Maja!!!!!

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  8. I agree about the love triangle! It wasn't at all as bad as these things can and do generally tend to be. Funnily enough, I really enjoyed this one too. I'm not sure that I'd say the same thing if I re-read it now, though I did like it more than I thought I would at the time. I did give up on the series after this book, however. The mixed reviews of Crossed put me off altogether, so I suppose I was never massively invested. I look forward to seeing what you think of it, though! Fantastic review as always. :)

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  9. I suspect I might have liked these a bit more had I gone for the audio. That's often a good choice for me when I'm not hugely impressed with the writing, and tends to give the characters a bit more personality. Most people seem to feel like this one went downhill as it went along, so I'll be curious to see how that one goes for you!

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  10. I also avoided it for that reason, but glad to know I won't have to do that now. Will have to see if my library has it on audio. I have Shatter Me on audio now by the same narrator (checked to see if it was the same recording). Cassia does sound different and I'm so going to have to give this series a try!

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  11. I've avoided this series like the PLAGUE because of the love triangle, so I am pleasantly surprised you enjoyed this one. I think I've seen too many negative reviews to jump and pick this up, but if the rest of the series works out just as successfully for you, I probably will. Fantastic review, Maja! :)

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  12. I've been avoiding this book for the same reasons so I'm glad to hear the triangle isn't much of a triangle lol

    I may be brave enough ti give it shot now since I have the first two books in the series.

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  13. Huh. Thanks for sharing this. I've heard many have enjoyed it, but yea, I wasn't sure about the love thing. Thank you.

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  14. I read this book back when it first came out and loved it but then I heard the second book was very 'middle book' and I never picked it up. Thanks for reminding me a bit though, I think I'll have to pick it up soon and continue this series.

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  15. I'm glad you really liked this one! I agree with you, there isn't a lot of plot things going on, but it's still a really great book because of the fact that, like you said, the dystopian quality of it's pretty great because it's kind of in the middle :) Great review, Maja! I'm glad you also liked the narrator's voice as well!

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  16. So happy you enjoyed Matched! I really liked it when it came out, and even then (before we were oversaturated with dystopian romance) I was dreading an angst-ridden love triangle only to be pleasantly surprised. The whole trilogy surprised me, actually. The premise combined with hype/marketing muscle had me expecting a flashy, empty dystopian cash cow series, but it's actually a very thoughtful and poetic character driven saga. I definitely had some issues with Crossed (a bit of MBS), but I really enjoyed Reached. "Matched is a read only for the patient, but it is very rewarding." <--This is a brilliant tagline for the whole series actually. :-) Lovely review, Maja!

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  17. I'm glad you enjoyed this, Maja! I didn't want to read it at first but a co-blogger (who was just a twitter friend at the time) convinced me and I found it to be beautifully written and I was captivated by Cassia and her story.

    The writing thing is interesting, my bf detests writing and would happily do away with it, while I find the idea horrifying!

    I hope you enjoy the rest of the series, like Lauren Elizabeth above, I found Crossed to be a bit of a lesser book but Reached was a fantastic conclusion.

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  18. You're got to be kidding me. I also avoid this book ad plague just because it sounds too teen and that love-triangle doesn't sound so go. Gah I should give it a try then.
    Anyway I'm glad you're able to enjoy audiobooks - I always get distracted while listening.

    Great review :)

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  19. Wonderful review Maja and isn't it funny how we have preconceptions going into a book or avoid some because of it. I have not read this series, but both of my daughters read the series and loved it..glad the road trip got ya to try it. Lovely review.

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  20. I disliked the audio, but I LOVE the books. I never thought of it as a love triangle since the reader always knew where Cassia's heart lay. Condie's writing was at times lyrical. Although I am in the minority, I was very pleased with all three books in this series.

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  21. I gave this the same rating and I avoided this book also until a year ago :) I read Matched and Crossed almost back to back and I have now finished the trilogy! I must say I'm team Ky :) Awesome review and I'm glad you gave it a chance.

    Janina @ Synchronized Reading

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  22. I can't remember the reviews I've read of this one, but I feel like I wasn't interested based on some negative feedback. I don't even know. I'm pretty bad with starting series in general, so that's probably why I never read this. I'm glad it was a good one for you; I guess it does show you can't always judge a book by its summary. haha Yay for there not being TOO much of a love triangle, and that is great that the author shows how the government helps some people...or how they at least don't mind it. It's true that any issue has a pro and con.

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  23. Matched gave me a lot of food for thought. I, too, was very nervous about picking this one because it had SO much hype around it. I did like the characters and the way it was written. Unfortunately, book 2 doesn't seem to expand on book 1 but takes it in a different direction. Perhaps you will like it more as it's much more philosophical than action packed. I'm still interested enough to read book 3.

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  24. Maybe I'll try this audiobook. I love it when they're done right. It does take a while for the voice to grow on you, don't you think Maja? Lately love triangle have become the bane of my existence. I hate them but I'll try and keep an open mind if I pick this up. Great review Maja. :)

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  25. "Matched is a read only for the patient." Lol, that does not describe me which is one reason why I've avoided reading this series. I've heard that this one is slow going. But, people who have read the series seem to have enjoyed it overall. Will you be reading the sequel, Maja?

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  26. I have heard a lot of negative things about this series, that have actually put me off reading it which definitely would have stuck until now, since your review has me in two minds.

    I'm glad you enjoyed it despite the love triangle and you gave it a shot after all. Fabulous review! :)

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  27. Yay! I'm so glad that you gave this one a chance even though you were sure it wasn't for you and that it worked out. Yes, it is a very quiet and contemplative entry in this genre, I personally found it almost poetic and really enjoyed it. I love what you have to say about Condie highlighting how Society HAD done good for a lot of people--I honestly hadn't thought about that before, but it's so true. I'm interested to see what you think about the second book. For my part, I still need to read the last, I checked it out from the library once but it's just SO LONG...

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  28. Here I am a few days late and dollars short! We are feeling better! I read this in the Fall of 2011 and really liked it, the love triangle, no but the rest was really good. The society was frightening and controlling and all of that. I don't know even in today's society I have heard they have stopped teaching cursive in some schools because no one writes anymore. Everyone is typing everything.

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    1. Oh I forgot to tell you.... book Two is a huge huge miss. I did not like it one bit. I am hesitant to read Three. Are you going to read Crossed?

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  29. Wonderful review, hun! Ya know I still haven't listened to an audio book - shocking!! I hadn't heard much about Matched before but seeing that it's character driven, I'll have to pick it up! So glad you picked this one up and loved it in the end! I think I'll be getting my paws on the paperback soon! :)

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  30. I loved Matched! But could never finished Crossed and decided to give up on the series. I also was a bit tortured by the love triangle. I loved Xander and had blah feelings about Ky. But I thought the world was really interesting.

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