Book Review: Matched by Allie Condie

Matched by Allie Condie

Published September 2011

Summary:  Set in a post-apocalyptic America, called the Society , the novel follows Cassia through her Matching ceremony. In this new world everything is laid out for citizens: their food is premeasured and send to them, their jobs are based on intense aptitude tests and their deaths are pre-planned. Matching is at the center of these plans and involves young people being chosen for each other by a committee. The Matching Ceremony allows the young people to see a picture of their match for the first time and to revel in their new “adulthood.”After the ceremony, the matched are given a computer chip with information about their intended so that they can get to know them. Cassia’s experience is complicated by the fact that she sees someone other than her Match on the computer chip. When this happens she begins seeing all of the things that have gone wrong within the Society.

Bechdel Test?: Cassia doesn’t really have any girlfriends so this is a little hard to determine. There is a female government official with whom she has conversations about the state of things, so I think it passes!

Rating: 3/5

Though I’m late to the party — the third book in the trilogy comes out this fall– I’m glad that I arrived! This is a thoughtful book about how government control can corrupt a society. I was most intrigued by the way the Society interacted with art and culture. . The Society decided that the world was too cluttered by choice so a committee chose 100 paintings, 100 poems, and other things to save and then burned all of the rest. I was appalled at the destruction of important documents but found it amazing that these treasures play such a central role in the novel!

Book Review: Gilt by Katherine Longshore

Gilt

Gilt  by Katherine Longshore

Published May 15, 2012

Summary:  Though I’veread a lot of historical fiction set during the Tudor dynasty, I had never read a book that chronicled Catherine Howard’s rise to the throne. In Gilt,we see the story from Kitty’s perspective. Kitty is a minor noble who becomes friends with Catherine Hoaward when they are both in service to a wealthy Howard relative. Catherine has lofty ambitions and it is clear from the start that Kitty will follow her every move. The novel traces their friendship from servanthood to the Tower. Along the way both indulge in romances that are dangerous, politically and psychologically.

Bechdel Test?: Surprisingly, I didn’t think so. Even though the two main characters, Kitty and Catherine, are strong women in their own right, together they talk only about plotting love affairs.

Rating: 3/5
A solid historical intregue, Katherine Longshore’s novel was exactly what I thought it would be: fluffy goodness.There wasn’t much that the (informed) reader didn’t realize going in but it was fun to see the way that Longshore jazzed up the well-known story. Overall, I wish that the story had focused more on Kitty since she was the more interesting woman. I finished the book feeling as though there was a great deal more that Kitty could’ve done.