Saturday, June 11, 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.

Beth says 3.5 Stars…

This is a case in which a book didn’t up to the hype that initially surrounded it. I found the premise highly interesting and wanted it to be absolutely amazing. I came into the book with the desire to like it, completely open. The plot took a while to really get going and never managed to engross me. I felt that I’d read much of the novel before in other books. The whole concept of a society where jobs and romantic partners are assigned is nothing new (oh hey there The Giver), but Condie could have really done something with it to make it her own. She did add some things, but they either made no impact, or they made very little sense. For example, if the pills are so important and some forbidden except on particular occasions, why does everyone carry them around all the time? I also didn’t quite understand how people didn’t know how to write when they could read, even if the things were on screens in digital format. I mean, the obvious thing is to just copy the letters from the screen onto something in order to learn to write, but that just makes sense to me. The plot took a goodly while to get going, and wasn’t the most gripping of stories. The good thing is that this is the first of a series, and I think that some large chunks were set up for the rest of the novels.

The characters are relatively meh. I didn’t love them or hate them. In fact, I found it difficult to muster any strong feelings about any single character. I found Cassia a bit irritating, but she did grow to become less irksome. I think the next book might be where she comes into her own, or at least alters to something more than just tolerable. I also didn’t particularly find either of the boys that interesting. I mean, they ended up being so completely stereotypical that it took away from the little individual character they did have. Honestly, some of that didn’t even get dispensed until the end, by which point I didn’t have more time to invest in them. The love triangle also lacked the fire to make it compelling. It was totally obvious who Cassia would end up with, which left me feeling sorry for the other guy during the course of the entire novel.

Sometimes hype before publication can harm a book, which is what happened here. I went in with very high expectations and found them utterly let down. This will satisfy some readers, and because it’s the summer might be fun to pick up if there’s nothing else around. I think that the series could have potential, so the next book (which I believe comes out in December) will be extremely telling. I’d grab this over nothing at all, but it wouldn’t be my first pick. This foray into dystopian left me wanting, and isn’t the next Hunger Games as it lacks the philosophical depth, instead focusing on a predictably boring love triangle.
Book from Library


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