In a word: Awesome!
Favourite Character: Cassia
Favourite Quote: “Our time together feels like a storm, like wild wind and rain, like something too big to handle but too powerful to escape. It blows around me and tangles my hair, leaves water on my face, makes me know that I am alive, alive, alive. There are moments of calm and pause as there are in every storm, and moments when our words fork lightning, at least for each other”
I’m reading this because… I couldn’t put it off any longer. Not that I was intentionally putting it off, I just hadn’t gotten around to reading it. I’ve seen so many great reviews for it though, that when I found myself wondering what to read next on New Year’s Day, this came into my head almost straight away.
The Basics: Cassia lives in a society where important decisions are already made. She doesn’t have to worry about finding the man of her dreams – the officials will do that for her. On her 17th Birthday she attends her Match Banquet – the ceremony where she will meet her future husband and be bound to him forever. What she doesn’t bargain for is that she’s matched to her lifelong best friend Xander. After sleeping on it, she’s gotten used to this idea, but then she’s given her microchip that has all of the information she needs to know on it. The problem is that when she puts the microchip into the her port screen, it’s not Xander’s face that appears… it’s that of another boy she knows – Ky. The shock of seeing his face makes Cassia start to question Society’s decision and she starts longing for a life she can’t have...
I can see why people love it. The story just sucked me in and I devoured it in two sittings. I really liked Cassia and I cared about her right from the off. I think that the connection with her really pulled me through the book, because I was interested in the decisions she made and the ways in which those decisions affected her life – especially as this was in a society where decisions are often made for the inhabitants.
Dystopia is one of my favourite genres. I love the comparisons to our society and I like to speculate whether the society in the book is actually that fair removed from our own or is that far outside of the realm of possibility. I also like to wonder at the different aspects of the society and whether or not they would be beneficial to our own. Dystopic societies are generally spawned from an over-exaggerated attempt to create a Utopia and so there are usually at least a couple of elements that would be great to have as part of a society. In the case of this book, I do love that they have managed to pretty much eradicate diseases. As someone whose family has been touched a number of times by cancer and other diseases, this really appeals to me. Would I want to have a set date to die though? I’m not sure. I can see the benefits, but I don’t know if I’d ever be ready! I also kind of like the idea of being sorted into the job that suits your skills, although it would take away ambition and dreams. Still, it would be nice to just automatically fall into a job that you’re good at!
The relationships in the book fascinated me. I wanted to hate Cassia when she was falling in love with Ky, but I just couldn’t. I wanted to hate Ky, as I really liked Xander, but I couldn’t do that either. Damn these nice people!! Surely in love triangles someone is supposed to be the bad guy?! The thing is, with this particular triangle, it’s really hard to resist sympathising with both Cassia and Ky. As much as I liked Xander, I could see how it must have been hard for Cassia to come to terms with being matched with her best friend – even though at first glance it would seem like the perfect match, it must have been hard for her to consider him as anything but a friend.
The writing was good, better than many YA books I’ve read. The pace was steady, with some faster parts and some slower, but it flowed well. The construction of the Society was creative and thought-provoking and the relationships were believable. I can’t wait to read the second book!
My rating: 5 Stars
Off The Shelf 2012
Info for this edition:
Paperback, 366 pages
UK Publisher: Penguin, June 2011
Source: I purchased this book