This is one of the books which was patiently waiting in my TBR pile and finally I picked it up. I'm not a huge fan of dystopian literature and was kind of skeptical about this book. After reading it I can say though there a re a few things which don't work for me I love this story. And what's maybe even more important I love the main characters; Cassia, Ky and Xander.
It took me a a bit to get into the story as we are dealing with a dystopian society in the not-defined future. So the rules are different. The story is told from Cassia's point-of-view. At the beginning of the book she is just celebrating her 17th birthday, the age you also get matched with a boy, if you are eligible. She is quite happy because something very rare happened, she got matched to her best friend Xander. But when she is looking into the additional material about her mate, provided by the Society, not Xander's face shows up but the face of another boy. And even more weird, she does not this boy, Ky, as well.
Until this point Cassia's life was perfectly normal, she went along with all rules and even more important she believes in the rules, set by the Society. As the Society doesn't make mistakes Cassia is a wee bit insecure what exactly happened. And in a completely monitored society where ever misstep can lead to a notation in your file, you don't openly discuss or question unusual events.
But Cassia is very bright girl and the moment Ky's face showed up on her screen, is the moment she can't close her eyes any more and starts to see her life in different view.
I like the pace of the book. There was a more introductory part, so that the reader can get used to Cassia'a world, then the life changing event happened and Cassia is starting to change. I like how gradually she is coming to terms with what the Society does to indiviaduals. Sometimes there a few rash conclusions but overall it's done very well.
Obviously I hated the world crested by the Society, but I guess that's the point! A totalitarian rule with more rules than you can imagine. The only free decisions to make are about your, very limited, free time, everything else is regulated: job, housing, life partner, food, age. Personally, I think Ally Condie did a good job creating this world, even though it's quite scary.
As I already mentioned I likes the tree main characters. Although I'm getting more and more upset about love triangle in young adult books, it wasn't that bad here. The decision between Ky and Xander is also the decision between safe and against the rules. At least that's what it look like in the beginning. After finishing the book, I'm pretty sure Xander has some ace's up his sleeves. Which makes me very eager to read the second book, Crossed, coming out in the beginning of November 2011.
I really liked Ky. He was a mystery. So many unknown things about him and then Cassia and the reader get to know him more and more. He is very clever , with an amazing survival instinct and at the same time he values Cassia very much, as does Xander. That makes both guys so special.
The ending is very good. Quite a few twist, new facts are revealed and Cassia makes some very important decisions. And there is enough closure that I can still sleep. Though I'm glad I didn't read the book months ago, because now I only have to wait 1 months for the sequel!