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.
Wow! What a great way to start out a series! Ms. Condie is an amazing world builder, building through out the story but never taking the reader away. I read this book on a road trip and every time I stepped out of the car I glanced around for evidence of Cassia's world. I had to stop myself from thinking someone was watching me, ready to control my decisions. I wanted to pull out a book of poems to make sure there more than a hundred inside. Or twist the radio dial to prove that more than one hundred songs were on it. The government felt there was too much clutter so they sanitized everything. A committee choose one hundred songs, books, poems, etc. Drove me crazy! Also, every member of Society is given there own special meals, with just the right nutrients and vitamins. They are told when to go to work, school, have free time and what it will be and when to die. Annoying! My blood is starting to roil so I'd better stop there. I think you get the idea.
Excellent world building.
I guessed what was happening with Ky and Cassia's relationship but that still didn't detract from the story. The characters grew and stretched just enough for more in the next book.
This book is worth the read. I hope the next one it too. And it was a totally clean read! Good job ALLY!
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Page 69 test:
Today is Sunday. It is Grandfather's eightieth birthday, so tonight he will die.
People used to wake up and wonder, "Will today be the end?" or lie down to sleep, not knowing if they would come back out of the dark. Now, we know which day will be the end of the light and which night will be the long, last one. The Final Banquet is a luxury. A triumph of planning, of Society, of human life and the quality of it.
All the studies show that the best age to die is eighty. It's long enough that we can have a complete life experience, but not so long that we feel useless. That's one of the worst feelings the elderly can have. In societies before ours, they could get terrible diseases, like depression, because they didn't feel needed anymore. and there is a limit to what the Society can do, too. We can't hold off all the indignities of aging much past eighty. Matching for healthier genes can only take us so far.
Things didn't used to be this fair. in the old days, not everyone died at the same age and there were all kinds of problems and uncertainty. You could die anywhere-on the..."