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Wild Awake
Hilary T. Smith
Understanding Exposure: How to Shoot Great Photographs with Any Camera
Bryan Peterson
Matched - Ally Condie Matched is a quiet, nicely written book that just never completely came alive for me. The very fact that I just used the word ‘nice’ to describe it is probably telling. It’s not a strong word and I can’t say that this book evoked any particularly strong emotions while I was reading it. While I appreciate that the focus here was more on introspection as opposed to action, and that Condie does present some thought provoking scenarios and ideas, I simply didn’t connect with this book. While there is a certain bleak and claustrophobic atmosphere to the way the tightly ordered world is written, I wanted Cassia’s voice to be stronger, for her story to hold me on the page more firmly. As it was, I felt somewhat detached from both Cassia and her situation. In addition, the pacing is quite sedate – and though this feels fitting for the world Cassia lives in – I did find the story somewhat drawn out and my interest waned at times. Xander and Ky were likeable enough characters, but were not precisely compelling. I felt as if reasons for their potential as a “match” for Cassia were put forward, but for me neither of them elicited anything more than lukewarm feelings. I cared about them - I just didn’t feel a huge emotional investment in either of them. I hope that the future instalments in the trilogy breathe a little more life into these characters, particularly Ky and his background. Having said all of that, I did like the fact that the relationships didn’t veer off completely into angsty love triangle territory. Condie’s touch here was light and leaves the door open for further development down the track. I liked the concept of Matched and Condie’s writing was smooth, however I struggled to feel engaged and was distracted by its ongoing... blandness. This was disappointing as I feel there was potential here for a powerful, solid story with more emotional punch, higher stakes and more philosophical depth. Didn’t mind it. Just didn’t love it.