Matched is a novel by Ally Condie which is set to be part of a trilogy. It will be published on 2nd December by Razor Bill (Imprint of Penguin) and it is 384 pages long. Thanks to the publisher for sending me an proof/ ARC for review.
Cassia Reyes lives in a world where free choice is no longer an option. The Society chooses everything for every single person. What they eat, where they work and even who you love and when you die.
Up until now, Cassia has always trusted the choices they have made and not given it a second thought. On her seventeenth birthday, the time finally comes for her to find out who her Match is. She is so happy when she sees best friend Xander pop up on the screen but her happiness doesn’t last long. The brief flash of another boy on the screen makes Cassia wonder if she can really trust the choices The Society make.
It’s rare for anyone to get Matched with someone they know but the other face on the screen was also someone Cassia knows. The problem is, Ky, the other boy, is not someone who is looked well upon by The Society. Not knowing which boy is her real Match, Cassia is torn between long time best friend Xander and Ky, the mysterious boy who doesn’t seem as though he really belongs. A choice between following her heart and following what The Society tells her will be the hardest decision Cassia will ever have to make.
What I thought
I can’t tell you how excited I was when I got the email asking if I would review this book. I had heard so many amazing things about it and the idea was something that really interested me. The basic plot itself brought out so many questions about what I would do if I were living in that kind of world. Would I just be able to accept that I was supposed to love and marry someone who had been chosen for me? What would I do if there seemed to be a choice in who I loved? Would I be able to follow my heart instead of The Society? All of this was after only reading the plot outline.
Ally Condie has built a world so complex and interesting that I couldn’t help but be caught up in it right away. It quickly becomes apparent that The Society control everything. Can you imagine being told what clothes you had to wear or what job you had to have? Each person has personalised meals sent to them, every single art form has been cut down to nearly nothing. Paintings, poems, film etc are all extremely limited now due to the actions of The Society. Being such a big lover of books and music, I felt incredibly sad that anyone would have to live in a world like this. I couldn’t pick only 100 of each if I tried. It made me wonder who exactly made these choices and why. Why would one book get chosen over another? Even though I knew instantly that I would have hated to lived in a place like this, I couldn’t wait to find out how the characters dealt with their lives and the things that they were made to do. The characters are just as fantastic as the story itself.
I liked Cassia from the start. I think some people might call her naive because of how she never questioned The Society to begin but if you had grown up only knowing a life like that, wouldn’t you be the same? She never really knew that there were any other possibilities or any other ways to live her life so I think that she was just trying to get on with thing as best she could. Cassia slowly changes throughout the story as she begins to realise what is really happening around her. I really liked the fact that her realisation about The Society wasn’t one that was like a light bulb above her head. Everything slowly clicks into place and Cassia has to work out parts of the puzzle bit by bit. It was really realistic in this aspect for me and I think that was one of the reasons why I liked Cassia so much. She was very normal in a world that was a little insane and easy to relate to.
Oh the boys! Both Xander and Ky stole my heart (I also loved both of their names). Xander is the loyal best friend who you just want to give a massive hug to. All he wants is for Cassia to be happy and that was very clear to see but there were also pangs of jealousy. Xander was so pleased when he found out that Cassia was his match and I honestly don’t think that he would have been as happy with anyone else. To find out that you are going to spend the rest of your life with a childhood friend who you clearly love already must be a fantastic feeling so when everything is threatened to be taken away, it must be heartbreaking and this is where I really felt for Xander. Again, I wanted to hug him.
As much as I loved Xander, Ky has to be my favourite and I have to say that I was routing for him from very early on. There was something different and mysterious about Ky and I think that is probably why I liked him more. I can’t say that I’m totally into nice guys so Ky offered me something a bit more out of the ordinary and somewhat dangerous. He was sweet but strong and adventurous at the same time and he had so many personality traits that I would love to find in a man. Even though he obviously wanted to be with Cassia, he was a little unsure at times, not wanting her to get into trouble. Their friendship develops at a wonderful pace and one that felt perfectly natural. Neither Cassia or Ky felt totally comfortable around each other to begin with and it took them quite a while to completely trust each other. There was always the question in the back of my mind though of whether or not Cassia was going to pick Ky over Xander. I would have been happy with either I think.
When Matched reached the end, it felt as if my heart was going to burst right out of my chest. Condie can write one hell of a cliff-hanger. So much was left unanswered, paving the way for the second book in the trilogy. The writing throughout was beautiful and very poetic at times and was an absolute joy to read. Matched really has everything you could ask for: mystery, romance, passion and adventure. It really is a love story to die for.