by Ally Condie
First sentence: “Now that I’ve found the way to fly, which direction should I go into the night?”
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I’m probably the last person on earth to read this, which is part of the reason why I’ve avoided it for so long. (You know me and my hesitance to read popular books…) I figure something that popular couldn’t be that good. Right?
Well, in some ways yes: perhaps it’s because I’m immensely tired of dystopian books, but it seems as if this one doesn’t really cover anything new. A perfect society, headed by a controlling government? Check. A person who, after years, realizes that the society and perfection isn’t all it’s cracked up to be? Check. A love triangle? Check. Lots and lots of set-up for the next in the series (because none of these can be stand alones)? Check. It was all very run-of-the mill.
And yet, I enjoyed the world that Condie had built: while she never explained the demise of the society, she did manage to convey the loss of history, of tradition that is so important in a diverse culture. I liked Cassia and Ky and even Xander as characters, and liked that Condie didn’t make anyone out to be truly malicious. In a sense, everyone in the book was just a cog in the system, which in itself is unique.
It’s enough to make me curious about the second book, and I’ve got it sitting in my pile for the weekend. That said, I don’t think it’s the best, or even most original, dystopian tale out there.