“Cassia Reyes, the Society is pleased to present you with your Match.”
I smile as Xander’s face appears on the portscreen immediately following the recorded message. It’s a good picture of him. As always, his smile looks bright and real, his blue eyes kind. I study his face closely, pretending that I’ve never seen this picture before; that I have only had a glimpse of him once, last night at the Banquet. I study the planes of his face, the look of his lips. He is handsome. I’d never dared think that he might be my Match, of course, but now that it’s happened I am interested. Intrigued. A little scared about how this might change our friendship, but mostly just happy. I reach up to touch the words Courtship Guidelines on the screen but before I do Xander’s face darkens and then disappears. The portscreen beeps and the voice says again, “Cassia Reyes, the Society is pleased to present you with your Match.”
My heart stops, and I can’t believe what I see. A face comes back into view on the port in front of me.
It is not Xander. (34-35)
Cassia has been looking forward to the day when she gets assigned her husband. Now seventeen, the day of her Matching Ceremony arrives and she is paired up with Xander, her childhood friend and classmate. When Cassia accesses the memory card with information about Xander, the face of a different classmate name Ky flashes on the screen. Although reassured by officials that it was an unfortunate error, Cassia finds herself drawn to Ky. As they draw closer, Cassia begins to question who she loves more and if she feels the way she does because of what she was told. Would having a choice about what you eat, what you do, and who you marry really be all that bad?
This could have been a really intriguing book, and I know it’s getting a lot of rave reviews. I can see the appeal, and I was drawn in by the psychological aspects of the book. Cassia asks herself a few times if she has feelings for Ky or Xander because she was told to love and look at them in a different light. The problem I had is that she really doesn’t examine her feelings for either boy very deeply. The romance is written well, and I’m sure there are camps for both Ky and Xander, but by the end of the book she seems to pick the boy she chooses based on other people and not her own feelings. Ky and Xander also seem pretty apathetic about the situation, and overall come across as flat to me, especially Xander.
The world development is also a little loose. Other bloggers have said the same thing, but the world is earilly reminescent of Lois Lowry’s The Giver in that people’s lives are dictated by authority. Not just their jobs and their partners, but also where they live, what they eat, what they do in their free time, and even what they listen to, read, and view. But exactly how this way of life came about remains a mystery. The only thing that is really explained is that a committee came together to determine the “100 Poems” and 100 Songs, but how that committee was formed, why everyone agreed, and what objections there were are really left unanswered.
I’m interested to see if the second one answers all these questions, but with the lackluster ho-hum ending, there’s really no drive for me to rush out and buy a copy.