Cassia follows the rules. She is excited for the benevolent government officials to choose her Match for her, the man she will one day marry. She is matched with her childhood friend, but briefly sees another boy in her match information. She is told that it was only a mistake, but she’s curious about the other match, and begins to bend the rules and then break them.
I really loved the dystopian setup in this book! The seemingly benevolent government who watches your every move, and makes all your life decisions for you based on data and predictions and genetic compatibility. It was such a cool and interesting setting!
I really loved Cassia’s character development. I loved her internal struggle, and how she begins to question her world. She is torn between two boys, two lives, and two selves. Does she choose to play it safe and have a good life with her match? Or does she choose to rebel and live free, but risk losing everything? I was fascinated by the intricate details of her emotions and thoughts.
I liked the writing style. There are some really lovely nuggets of writing that I especially enjoyed.
I loved the subtle family dynamics in Cassia’s relationships with her parents and her brother. There are places where an emotional connection between characters is set up and then matures and reaches a satisfying realization as they understand one another better.
However, the romance was boring. I did not feel any tension or special connections between any of them. The only excitement was the excitement of breaking the rules together. The only tension was the tension of hiding your feelings from the authorities. I don’t mind a love triangle if all the characters are deep and complex and well-developed. But both the boys were boring and flat.
And the plot is slow. Really slow. Little tiny things happen here and there, and each of them have meaning, and it’s all about the deeper connotation of what each decision and action means in the background and behind the scenes. Everyone is hiding something. Everyone is watching everyone else. So they keep it subtle and small and try not to do much. Understandable, but makes for a boring plot. I feel like a lot of the book could have been condensed.
Overall, I enjoyed many things about this book, and I’m giving it three stars to say, I liked it! If, like me, you are a character-driven reader, you would enjoy Cassia’s character development. If you are a plot-driven reader, it’s probably not for you.