Tag: Dystopia

Matched by Ally Condie

Series: Matched
Author:  Ally Condie
Published: November 30, 2010

Reviewed By: Jessica
Dates Read: September 20-26, 2020
Jessica’s Rating: 3 stars     

Book Description:

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 with complete certainty that 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.

Jessica’s Review:

I read this series back in 2014 and rated the books 4 stars (Matched), 3 stars (Crossed), and 2 stars (Reached). I remember enjoying Matched the most, but the series got weaker as it went on.  I needed to have an audiobook to listen to and Matched was available with no wait, so I went for it and wondered what my thoughts would be this time based on my memory.  This time I give Matched 3 stars. 

This is a weak series and if you are looking for a dystopian read with a strong female character, stay with The Hunger Games or Divergent.  This series would be suited for younger teenagers.  In Matched, the Society chooses everything for you from what you eat, what your occupation will be, what you can read or listen to (There are only 100 poems and 100 songs, 100 paintings, etc to choose from), where you live, when you die, to whom you will marry by being matched with. 

Cassia receives notification that her Matching ceremony will be on her 17th birthday.  This is where citizens find out who in the Society will become their spouse. During her matching ceremony she finds out who her match is and surprisingly she actually knows him!  Later, she goes to look at the electronic file on him despite knowing so much about him, but another face briefly appears and then disappears.  Surprisingly she also knows this boy. Thus begins a love triangle for Cassia and her beginning doubts about the ‘all perfect society’ that she is a part of.

Matched has a great premise, right?  The delivery just did not work for me this time versus when I previously read it and gave it 4 stars.  I am not the target audience for this novel as it is YA and I the lower rating this time is because I am older.  There were so many things that bothered me about the Society: How has all this time passed and the citizens just let the Society have so much control over them?  Since their spouses are selected for them , have they in a way been ‘bred’ to be controlled? Or they so indoctrinated in this life that they can’t really think for themselves? Has no one had doubts about the Society as Cassia starts to do as the novel progresses?  Yes, Cassia does begin to question more as the novel goes on and begins to become a ‘threat’ to the Society, but for most of the novel it deals with her developing triangle of feelings of Xander and Ky.  Xander whom she has known her whole life and Ky who she knew but he was ‘not on her radar’ until he showed up and then disappeared in the electronic file.   

There is a lot more to the Society than I have mentioned here.  Would I say read this novel? Yes, as everything the Society does is intriguing and the fact that the citizens do live this way.  Would I say read the other two in the series? No.  The ending for Matched does lead up to the second in the series, Crossed, but based on my memory and seeing my previous ratings for the other two novels, I will pass on it.

As previously mentioned, I listened to the audiobook this time and the narrator Kate Simses is a great voice for Cassia.  One thing that I did not like about the audiobook was towards the end when the book climax was happening (which isn’t much of a climax) there was a score that started playing.  I think it was to add to the climax, but for me it didn’t help build on it and made what should be serious eye roll worthy. 

This one just had a lot of promise that did not deliver well.  I will leave it up to you on if you want to read this one.  It is a terrible pity as the covers of this series are absolutely GORGEOUS and worthy of owning just because of their looks.  The covers have a lot of meaning to them, which includes the colors which become apparent as you read the novels. 

Purchase Links:
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Lord of the Flies by William Golding

Lord of the Flies
Author: William Golding
Published: September 17, 1954
307 Pages

Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating: 4 stars

Book Description:

As provocative today as when it was first published in 1954, Lord of the Flies continues to ignite passionate debate with its startling, brutal portrait of human nature. William Golding’s compelling story about a group of very ordinary boys marooned on a coral island has been labeled a parable, an allegory, a myth, a morality tale, a parody, a political treatise, and even a vision of the apocalypse. But above all, it has earned its place as one of the indisputable classics of the twentieth century for readers of any age:

At the dawn of the next world war, a plane crashes on an uncharted island, stranding a group of schoolboys. At first, with no adult supervision, their freedom is something to celebrate. This far from civilization they can do anything they want. Anything. But as order collapses, as strange howls echo in the night, as terror begins its reign, the hope of adventure seems as far removed from reality as the hope of being rescued.

Kim’s Review:

What. A. Read. I mean holy cow! I’ll admit that I should have read Lord of the Flies many years ago, but for whatever reason, I just read it recently. I’m actually glad I didn’t read it in high school, ‘cuz I guarantee you, I wouldn’t have understood, nor appreciated it. Plus, I wouldn’t let most teens read it anyway. It’s incredibly mature for teens and I’m not sure it can be justified as high school reading. Maybe senior year . . . Maybe.

It started off slow. I had no idea what was happening. As with much great literature, Lord of the Flies is all about the journey, the growth. I spent most of the book trying to understand what the heck Golding was trying to say. Ivan and my dad kept telling me to stick with it, the ending will be worth it, you’ll get it at the end. That’s the reason it’s getting 4 stars, it did get a bit monotonous in the middle and there was no end in sight. It did get a little frustrating. But I kept reading, and boy were they right! The end is everything! It all comes down to one line and it reveals the entire reason Golding wrote Lord of the Flies. I can’t quote it ‘cuz I don’t want to spoil it. I would absolutely recommend that every college student be required to read Lord of the Flies. And anyone who hasn’t read it yet, needs to! An excellent book!

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
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Release Day Review: The Hive

Authors: Barry Lyga & Morgan Baden
Published: Today, September 3, 2019
416 Pages

Reviewed By: Jessica
Dates Read: August 26-31, 2019
Jessica’s Rating: 4 stars

Book Description:

Cassie McKinney has always believed in the Hive.

Social media used to be out of control, after all. People were torn apart by trolls and doxxers. Even hackers – like Cassie’s dad – were powerless against it.

But then the Hive came. A better way to sanction people for what they do online. Cause trouble, get too many “condemns,” and a crowd can come after you, teach you a lesson in real life. It’s safer, fairer and perfectly legal.

Entering her senior year of high school, filled with grief over an unexpected loss, Cassie is primed to lash out. Egged on by new friends, she makes an edgy joke online. Cassie doubts anyone will notice. But the Hive notices everything. And as her viral comment whips an entire country into a frenzy, the Hive demands retribution. One moment Cassie is anonymous; the next, she’s infamous. And running for her life.

With nowhere to turn, she must learn to rely on herself – and a group of Hive outcasts who may not be reliable – as she slowly uncovers the truth about the machine behind the Hive.

New York Times bestselling authors Barry Lyga and Morgan Baden have teamed up for the first time to create a novel that’s gripping, terrifying and more relevant every day, based on a story proposal by Jennifer Beals and Tom Jacobson.

Jessica’s Review:

Social media is everywhere and just about everyone is a part of it.  Imagine we are in a United States where you are required to be on social media once you reach 13 years old and anything you say can have consequences (Likes, Dislikes, Condemns). The more Condemns you receive the greater your chances are to have Hive Justice carried out against you by anyone and everyone in a serious way.  And the police cannot stop the mob mentality because it is all legal. 

Although The Hive started a bit slow for me (the introduction to Hive, BLINQ, and Cassie being in high school) it was all necessary to the buildup of the joke that Cassie made that cause her to go viral. BLINQ is a government owned social media that connects all forms of social media together. My opinion is that BLINQ is a bit like ‘Twitter on crack’. Cassie is an angry girl experiencing some grief and she transfers to a new school her senior year.  The beginning is a bit like Mean Girls and some typical high school drama of Cassie trying to figure out where to fit in. 

Once Cassie’s joke goes viral the novel really starts moving and doesn’t stop until the end.  I could not put the novel down and read it in just a few days.  It’s hard to fathom that people want to go out and find Cassie and hurt her (or worse) because of a tasteless joke.  It is definitely a mob mentality/vigilante justice. Forget the fact that she is just a kid, people just want to do what they can do without legal repercussions, not even knowing the whole situation. They just want to kill because they can. 

There are some political overtones to the novel. Normally, I cannot stand that in novels, but with this particular subject matter, the politics are necessary.  The Hive is also be a coming of age type novel as Cassie grew on me showing her growth and maturity she reaches as the novel progresses.  The Hive is definitely relevant to our society today.  So much is done online now that it seems more important than ‘real life’.  Maybe real life is actually our online life…. The Hive definitely shows how anything we say or do has consequences (both positive and negative). We really should think about what we are about to say or do. 

I was personally hoping for a different ending, something that shows how truly evil and damaging the Hive and BLINQ are to this society. Being this is a young adult novel, maybe that was the case for the ending we received.

The Hive is a novel everyone 14+ should read ( I say 14+ as there is foul language used throughout the novel, mainly the ‘f-word’).  The Hive will leave you thinking about social media and where we are heading with it.  How much do YOU share online, and could something you say or do cause you to receive a ‘Hive Alert’?

Many thanks to the publisher KCP Loft for sending me an arc copy. It was a pleasure to read and review.    

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK