Matched (Matched Trilogy Series #1)

Matched (Matched Trilogy Series #1) - 4 starsView full review here!You can't walk into a bookstore these days and NOT see piles of postapocalyptic/dystopian fiction novels that, in the following of The Hunger Games, get bigger and bigger every day. Admittedly, I'm usually a sucker for these stories. I've written many postapocalyptic stories of my own, because there's just something about asking yourself 'If I could start again from scratch, what would my ideal world be like?'. And even more intriguing: 'Where would it go wrong?'. Because that's what dystopias are about, and it's what I like most about them. What kind of world do these characters live in? Where are the cracks? What could actually work today?The rest of the story tends to be a bit repetitive. In most dystopian books, the main character is someone from within the Evil Country/City/Society who suddenly stops and starts to Think for the first time. ("Wait, why do we do this? Nobody likes it. Why don't we just stop?") Ally Condie's Matched is another addition to the (very effective) formula.Cassia Reyes lives in the Society where the goal is to live in the best way possible. Every decision is made by the government and in that way, the inhabitants are insured of a long, healthy and reasonably happy life without much struggle. But even the smallest details are in the government's hands: the clothes they wear, the food they eat, the work they do, where they spend their free time, who they marry, how many children they'll have... and when they die. Not to worry about a thing.One of the ways in which the government assures its inhabitants of the happiest life possible (and itself of the healthiest future citizens) is the Matching system, where seventeen-year-olds attend a Match Banquet and learn who they'll spend the rest of their lives with. Basically, it's ancient arranged marriage to the max. All for the citizens' own good of course.Let's be honest. I've read Matched two or three times and I still don't really understand Cassia. Where does her love come from? She sees a guy on a screen and just randomly decides she's in love with him? Though the love story is innocent and mostly sweet and I like how poetry is a part of it, it didn't seem at all realistic to me, which is where I start having doubts about Cassia's motives. She doesn't seem like the kind of protagonist that would start a rebellion, and since she acts because she's in love with Ky, I just ended up asking myself "What is she even doing?". It seems to me that the book is meant to be both a girly love story and a rebellion, but I thought the first part was a bit weak, which in its turn led to an unbelievable second part.At this point, you must think "Why did she even read it multiple times then?" and I'll tell you, because that's what I do here on this blog. What I loved about Matched was how I couldn't really predict the story. Usually I have a pretty good idea of how the plot will turn out, but I couldn't really wrap my mind about how the Society works and how Cassia acts to that. Which again has something to do with the not-knowing-where-her-motives-come-from, and as frustrating as that was sometimes, it did cause quite a few interesting and unpreditable plot turns.Another amazing aspect is the postapocalyptic world that Cassia lives in. I always think to myself: would I want to live in this world? With Matched, my answer was an immediate no. I wouldn't want to live somewhere I can't even decide what I'm having for lunch or doing after school. I have a hard enough time as it is trying to decide whether to watch a movie or randomly surf the Internet when I have some free time. But I have to admit that the Society has pros as well. For instance, the inhabitants are as healthy as they can be. They are insured of a long life, with a partner that suits them perfectly. Yes, the Matching system is kind of cool. 'Let's tell you who your soulmate is'... where can I sign up?However, it wouldn't be a dystopia if it weren't downright terrifying sometimes. I don't know about you, but I'm quite fond of being in control of my own brain, and this Society that has everything under control... they will probably find a way to control your thoughts somehow. It's not like The Hunger Games, where you can clearly see the evil in front of you. Unlike any other dystopia I've read about, the Society's layers are so well hidden that everything seems possible for those who are in charge. Everything. That's quite terrifying.In a way, Matched is just like every other YA novel nowadays (seriously, is there some kind of checklist? Kickass heroine, check. Love triangle, check. Evil community, check. Originality, uhhh.) and like most dystopian fiction, it will never be able to match, not even slightly, the epicness of The Hunger Games. However, the amazingly crafted multiple-layered world in combination with the previously mentioned points (heroine, evil, love...) makes this an enjoyable story and one of the better postapocalyptic books I've read.