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Radiant Shadows

Matched (Matched Trilogy Series #1)

Matched (Matched Trilogy Series #1) - I read a review that said that there are stories that require that you suspend any and all disbelief, or you'll find that you're constantly asking yourself how this type of world came into fruition, considering the rebellious nature so inherent in human nature. Matched is definitely one of those stories.In Matched, everything is so absolutely micromanaged by the Society that choice has almost been completely eliminated. Literally every choice you make is from a list of pre-approved options, and the Society has determined the probability of the choice you will make, and has made adjustments accordingly. Even mundane things, like what clothes to wear or what to eat, have been chosen by the Society. Apparently, as a result, people are generally happy and healthy, leading longer and more fulfilled lives. For Cassia, the perfect life is worth this lack of autonomy. Until she is shown a different choice, and has it taken away. Then she can't seem to find the ideals set up by the Society to be so ideal.I really liked watching Cassia's struggle with becoming an independent thinker. Having grown up to believe in the absolute rightness of the Society's laws, seeing her struggle to do something as small as read an unapproved poem was fascinating. What bothered me was that it took a rebellious act by both her grandfather (who was on his death bed, and had nothing to lose) and then her father (who as an Official, was able to shrug off the minor citation) before she was able to come to terms with the possible corruption behind the Society. I would have liked to see her come to this conclusion on her own, instead of having her feelings validated by important figures around her. And I really disliked that the Society may have played a role in manipulating her into action.The most frustrating part of Cassia's independent thinking was the lack of rebellious action. She had plenty of opportunities, but chose to play it safe every time! I think in part, I need to blame this on Condie's writing: there is no urgency to it, no passion, no suspense. Even the very minor acts of rebellion that we do get to bear witness to are probabilities considered by the Society, who deemed them almost inevitable and therefore considered them learning experiences. My frustration only built as we learned that certain acts of rebellion were part of a larger plan by the Society, who had accounted for the probabilities, and adjusted accordingly - it made it hard to see Cassia as anything but a puppet, being pulled by the Society's strings in whichever direction they wanted her to move.Then there's the Society, which is mentioned so often, you would expect to know most of its history by Matched's conclusion. But there is so much about the Society, and the world which Cassia lives in, that we know absolutely nothing about. What lead to the creation of the Society? What year is the story taking place in? Who are the people on the outskirts? And were they banished there, or have they chosen to stay there in defiance? What's the structure of the Society? Do they have one leader, or is it more of a group? Why is there a war, and why wasn't it more prevalent throughout the book? Too many unanswered questions.My biggest disappointment, shockingly (note the sarcasm), has to be with the oh-so-typical love-triangle romance. First, the two love interests are the same old tired cliches - a sweet and loyal best friend type and a dark, brooding and mysterious type. Second, and Cassia even mentions this (repeatedly), she didn't notice Ky, at all, until his face showed up on her matching screen. She admits at one point that while they do know each other, she wouldn't even call themselves friends. So why the instant attraction once she finds out they might have been Matched? And third (and I think, most important), Cassia has no reason to love Ky. As the book progresses, we see little-to-none of his personality. What we get instead are little pieces of his past, which help us understand why he keeps people at a distance. Cassia even asks herself if loving someone's story means you love the person. I had a very hard time believing that Cassia actually had feelings for Ky. I figure she loves the idea of him, of someone who would break the rules with her (or for her), then for who he is as a person.All that being said, I did enjoy reading Matched; it was really only when I put the book down and thought on it that I found myself questioning why I was enjoying the story. I loved the effortless dynamic between Cassia and her family, and I truly believed in her friendship with Xander - they had a comfortableness with each other that only the best of friends understand. I loved the idea of the Society, I just wish more history had been given. I also loved the idea behind Matched, of rebelling against "the man" and standing up for what you believe in. Unfortunately I feel like Matched did it behind authority's back, when it should have been doing it to its face.Originally published on my blog, Radiant Shadows