Monday, March 25, 2013
Audiobook Review:Matched (Matched,#1)
Author: Ally Condie
Narrator: Kate Simses
Published: November 30th 2010
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.