Saturday, March 19, 2011
Dutton Books, 2010
Source: Through a book tour at Good Golly Miss Holly
I wanted to read this book because of the gorgeous cover and the hype surrounding its dystopian/love story premise. Then the book was released with quite a bit of backlash. Luckily the noise around it has somewhat died down and I attempted to read it without preconceptions and to evaluate it upon its own merits.
I liked the dystopian society, which seemed to make sense to me. The Society decided that people were too over-stimulated from the plethora of options out there, from food to media and thus winnowed it down. Now everyone has food specifically created for them, people have increasingly specialized jobs, only 100 songs, poems, books, etc. exist so there's no media overload, and the majority of people are matched in such a way to maximize compatibility and healthy children.
Cassia is lucky because she was matched with someone she knows, her best friend Xander. Life is looking good, especially as she excels at her sorting job. Then she catches a glimpse of another face on the microcard from the Society; that picture is also of someone she knows, Ky. Suddenly she is questioning the entire premise of the Society and wanting to make her own choices, no matter the consequences. Ultimately I was not invested in either relationship Cassia had. She called Xander her best friend and said that she loved him but I didn't feel that although I certainly read it. Then there's the fact that she seems to fall in love with Ky based on the fact that his picture pops up. Before then, she had taken little notice of him, other than seeing how he kept himself somewhat separate from their peer group. It's so sudden and I didn't buy how it played out.
I did like the fact that Cassia lived in about the center of the country away from the war in the Outer Provinces and thus there wasn't much violence unlike in Delirium and The Hunger Games. Not that violence isn't a part of dystopian but it was a change. Cassia's family is also not shattered as she has parents who are actually in love with each other and a younger brother, who sometimes annoys her as siblings do but with whom she has a pretty good relationship.
Overall: Okay-not as good as the cover but I will probably check out the second book, which has a cover I'm on the fence about (I agree with Enna Isilee at Squeaky Books's feelings).
Cover: Gorgeous-so striking and so appropriate for the book (the green dress and the green bubble tie in with plot points)!