Date: Nov 30, 2010
Series or Standalone: Book 1 in trilogy
Format: Hardcover, 384 pages
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.
First line: Now that I've found the way to fly, which direction should I go into the night?
You know when you read a book that's so good you don't know what to say about it? This is one of them. But I'm going to try.
From the beginning of the story, the power of this Society is there. I understand it and as it develops, the perfection and manipulation power they have over everyone else is growing and challenging and consistent. I love the world that Ally has created. It's perfect (literally). There is no other way than the right way. No pressure of decisions. No uncertainty. No worries. No questions. There are only answers--and they are unchanging. It really does sound perfect. It's easy and right, until it isn't. This world is so vivid and I love that I got to use my imagination to picture all the beautiful details that Ally described so well. I found my self often bordering between jealous and hatred and adoration of this society. It was so horribly amazing that I wasn't sure how to respond.
I love the story. Here you have a girl who is living as she should live and then, in one instant, everything changes. Everything she knows becomes a question and another and another. I've been that girl before--the one doesn't know what's real and what's not real--and it is displayed so well here. I immediately connect with Cassia, from that first line of the story. "Now that I've found the way to fly, which direction should I go into the night?" Looking back on the first line, it means so much more than I knew. Cassia daydreams about the choice of which way to go--a choice she never had before. A choice that she doesn't yet she'll have to make. A choice that will change everything once she learns she must make it. It's all sorts of beautiful.
Cassia's voice is consistent, strong and really gets you into her head, her thoughts, emotions, motivations. I only have praise for this character. I respect the choice she has to make and the outcome of that choice. I also love her parents in this story. Parents aren't around much in most YA but Cassia's are the perfect (no pun intended) example of active parents who are used well as part of the story.
Unlike a lot of stories, where one guy is way better than the other, both Xander and Ky are amazing. Really. Xander is her best friend and the bond they share is undeniable. He's faithful, loving, understanding. It's the way a best friend is supposed to be and he's not lacking. He sacrifices everything for Cassia and it's fully understood. I really like Xander.
And Ky. *insert sigh* There isn't much I can say about Ky without ruining his story. He's the unexpected, the underdog and yet he shines the like the sun. He's kindhearted, loving, friendly, willing. He pushes Cassia, which I like. As the story moves, we really get to know and love his character. The connection that develops between these two characters is powerful. Cassia's sacrifices are fully understood and these two boys make Cassia's struggle one of passion for the reader. You won't be disappointed.
The prose is rich and vivid. Ally writes this story and holds nothing back. She's so convincing in the voice and character development. There are lines that made me hold my breath and re-read because they were so beautiful. I could go on and on but I won't.
Final thoughts: This story is moving, captivating and really, really makes you think about life. It also makes you laugh and imagine. And swoon. All of those things are important. READ IT. I can't wait to see what happens to Cassia in the next book.