REVIEW: Imperfect Match by Jordan Castillo Price
A man whose future is assigned – A heart that yearns to be free.
Lee Kennedy’s destiny is controlled by the Algorithm. It’s the reason he’s still in college, regardless of his good academic performance. He’s switched his major repeatedly and stalled on his Master’s thesis, but there’s only so much longer he can hold out. Because once he graduates, the Algorithm must be triggered.
Everyone in Lee’s family has allowed the Algorithm to match them with a spouse. As has everyone on his block. His neighborhood. In fact, everyone he’s ever known. Pairing with his own chosen match seems inevitable…until, at his sister’s wedding, he meets Roman.
The waiter lives in the Taxable District, a run-down neighborhood that’s only a brief train ride away, but feels like another world. The seedy District is governed by different standards—different expectations—so it’s not exactly a surprise that Roman isn’t married. But it’s definitely a shock to taste his lips.
One forbidden encounter has Lee reeling. He questions everything. His past. His future. And especially the Algorithm. He longs for the freedom to choose not only his own partner, but his own destiny.
When defying the Algorithm will cost everything—family, home, and even livelihood—is Lee strong enough to take another path?
If you enjoy journeys of self-discovery with a futuristic bent, you’ll love this standalone character-driven adventure.
SPOILERS LOTS OF SPOILERS.
Dear Jordan Castillo Price,
So this was a painful review to write because literally ALL your books that I have read so far worked for me – not just the Psycop series but several of your stand-alones. I love your writing, the complex plots you use in your books and romantic stories too.
This one though? I want to assume that the writer should have made it a longer story, although really I am not sure if the issues were only due to the page space (and considering that JCP self publishes, I am not sure why she would feel constrained not to write longer book so maybe this was all intentional).
We meet Lee at his sister’s wedding or actually days before the wedding when he is trying to compose a wedding speech and a hot waiter interrupts him and I guess they have a meet cute moment. Apparently Lee is struggling so much with the speech and his overall unhappiness because in his world the Algorithm matches two compatible people together right after college and you have to get married to this person or so Lee thinks. If you won’t get married you will definitely lose some tax privileges (or all of them I am not sure) and people will look down at you or something.
There is a reason why I wrote “or something” because this is how I felt when I was reading . I usually love when the writer drops me in her world and lets me get acquainted with the world without dropping massive info dump on me first, but you know what? When I finished the story I would like to if not know all the details of how the world works then at least understand major rules and powers and whats going on and how the supposition that drives the story’s conflict came to be.
I still have no clue how such a major loss of human freedom, freedom to choose their own partner (or so Lee thinks) came to be. We know that there is no algorithm where Roman lives in the Taxable district where poor (poorer?) people live, and economical situation is much worse there, but why did this happen? War? Epidemic of deadly virus? In the beginning the phrase “plague carrier” is used, but it is used in a completely different context (the guys shortly after they meet discuss how when they were kids it was okay to say how are you and now it is not. “Lately people act like you’re calling them a plague-carrier if you imply they’re anything less than fantastic”.
So was this is the hint as to what took place? if so that’s a vague one for me I have to say.
After meeting with Roman who invites him to come to the District, Lee decides to start making some changes in his life – first by coming to the District and hooking up with Roman and then further figuring out what he wants to do with his life.
I know that from this writer we often get the story where the love story shares the spot light with mystery or science fiction or in this one it is a journey of self-discovery for Lee. But Jesus, to me the development of the relationship was non-existent and the middle part of it was simply missing. They meet, soon they meet again, hook up, go their own ways and for the most of the story they are apart and at the end boom we belong together.
And the weirdest thing to me is that the urgency of the Algorithm all this angsting Lee goes through in connection with not wanting to go through Algorithm matching was if not for nothing (Lee certainly changes his life to be true to himself and hoping to be with Roman), it kind of fizzled out for me, kind of lost emotional urgency with some revelations Lee learns.
Grade C-. Of course I acknowledge that it was technically well written, but the story was a massive disappointment overall for me.