Thursday, 31 May 2012

Matched by Ally Condie

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.

I've read this novel before, but it was way over a year ago, and considering I wanted to read the second installment soon, I thought I should reread this and remind myself of the story. And oh my - I forgot how good it was! The setting is in a dystopian future where the Society dictates everything that happens, from what poems people can read, to what songs they can listen to, to what careers they can have, to who they are Matched to - their lifelong partner the Society decides the individual will breed the best with; their own free will has been taken from them. The plot is set around Cassia Reyes, your ordinary girl in this world. It starts on the day of her Match, where she gets matched to her best friend. But when she takes a microcard home to learn more about Xander's life, his face doesn't come up: Ky's does instead. The story is about Cassia trying to stay beneath the radar, whilst learning more about how the Society is pretty corrupt.

Firstly, I love all the characters in this book, especially Ky and Xander. Usually in love triangles, there is always a certain character you are rooting for - but not with these two. You can't dislike either one of them, because they are both so lovely. In a way, I suppose it is a bit irritating, since I'm sure everyone would want a guy like either one of them - and Cassia gets two! But you can't dislike her either because she is just as lovely, and I found that I could easily relate to her open-mindedness and curiosity. Despite the generation difference, she is still a teenager, and Condie really makes that apparent. What I think I liked best about all the main characters in general was how rebellious they all were, but in a way that was unique to them. In a Society like that, you expect most people to be quite mindless - to just go along with whatever the Official's say because it keeps them all safe. But not all of these characters do, which makes it more interesting to read because you are constantly anticipating when they are going to get caught and what for.

I also like the idea of Matching. Of course, I wouldn't like to be Matched personally, but I think the idea of it is interesting: in order to create the "perfect" controlled world, you can't even fall in love with who you want to. And in reality, that does happen for some people - and it really makes you take a step back and think about the world as a whole, and not just how things are in your particular country. I found it eye-opening.

Overall, I loved this book. If you like novels like Bumped and Divergent, I reckon you'll love this!
Rating: 4/5

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