Book of the Week: The Matched Trilogy

Its that TIIIIIIIIIIIME of week again. Book of the Week time. I’m writing this earlier than I actually need to because I’m tired and I’m not feeling well (a cold totally *would* attack me just days before I start my spring semester) so I figured, salve well, this might as well do my Book of the Week post.

I’m feeling massively productive this week. I cleaned my room. Thats a huge accomplishment all its own.

I also finished the sixth season of Gossip Girl.

And I’ve managed to read 16 books this month, which keeps me on track with my 200 book goal for the year 2013.

So I’m in a good mood :)

Moving on, I was going to do Matched by Ally Condie for the Book of the Week. However, with reading sixteen books basically back to back, its been awhile since I actually read Matched, or so it feels like. I’ve read the remaining two books in the trilogy since then. So for the first time, I decided to review a whole trilogy.

I’m also changing up how I do Book of the Week. Let me know if you like it, or if you enjoy the old way better.

Book of the Week:

The Match Trilogy by Ally Condie

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Genre:
Young adult, Dystopian, Romance

You May Like it If You Liked:
Hunger Games trilogy, Delirium trilogy

Plot Summary: 

The story takes place in the Society, a place not really unlike the city you live now, except for that everything is monitored: your food, your conversations, your school and so on. You only have so many choices as your free time activity. Your career is chosen for you. There are 100 songs, 100 books, 100 paintings, 100 poems, all deemed appropriate for the society. You live until you are 80, and then you die. And you marry who the Society deems your perfect Match, to continue a perfect society, free of disease, free of complications. Its Cassia’s sixteenth birthday, and lucky enough for her, its the same day as her Match banquet, the day she finds out who she will spend the rest of her life with. And as luck would have it, it turns out to be her best friend, Xander. Things couldn’t have been more perfect.

But then Cassia’s grandfather is scheduled for his death, and before he dies, he gives Cassia a poem, a poem that isn’t one of the 100 Poems and it has Cassia hooked.

Then Cassia joins a hiking club, and is suddenly spending a lot of time with Ky, a mysterious and handsome boy who Cassia can’t help but noticing. Soon, they’re becoming closer and closer, sharing a secret poem, in the case of Cassie, and learning the art of handwriting, from Ky. Slowly, Cassia realizes she’s in love with Ky and the Society isn’t all what its supposed to be. Its not long before they’re all caught up in rebellion: Cassie, Ky and Xander.

The Bad:

There wasn’t much bad to it. Crossed, the second book in the series, was very slow. There wasn’t a lot going on in the book, to me, anyway and I was just kind of waiting for SOMETHING to happen. It was a lot of information, not a lot of action. It seemed like a build-up book for the last book, Reached. So that was incredibly frustrating because it wasn’t a short book so I had to push myself through some of the parts of Crossed. However, Reached picks up right at the core of Rebellion, for all the characters, so it is a lot different and keeps you going.

I had one teensy issue with the fact that it reminded me A LOT of Delirium by Lauren Oliver. In Delirium, love is a curse, a disease and when you turn 18, you get the cure, and you get matched with someone who is compatible for you, and will help create a stronger race. Lena is all ready to receive her job, find out who she is going to marry, and get the cure…until she meets Alex, and falls in love. Then she questions the society she lives in and how its run. The parallels between Delirium and Matched bothered me for awhile, which is why I didn’t read Crossed right away. However, Crossed and Reached go in a different direction than Pandemonium, the Delirium sequel, so I got over that pretty fast.

The Good: 

I actually really liked this series. I had held off for awhile, because when I saw the covers, I admit I was like, ugh another dystopian romance novel and ugh can we move on? I so need to grow up  haha. It turned out to be a seriously great series. A lot of the things that I have grown to expect from young adult lit books weren’t really there, and that was the most impressive part.

The love triangle? Basically nonexistent. Although there is a hint at one, it doesn’t even take up the novel in the slightest and there is never a question throughout the novel of who has Cassia’s affection.

The novel focuses on the idea of the Society and the things that they’ve been hiding. It focuses on the Rebellion, but it also shows that even Rebellions aren’t perfect. I think that was a big thing that I liked about it. It reminded me a little of Hunger Games. Katniss recognizes that President Coin isn’t really THAT much better than President Snow. It doesn’t present the Rebellion as 100% good and as of having a RIGHT to take back the country. It has flaws, and this one has major flaws. To orchestrate the sort of problem that they did, because they owned the solution seems wrong. Especially when it doesn’t really go according to plan. I know thats extremely vague but I’d rather not kill the novel for you.

The point is, I really like the story that Ally creates. She presents many different factors and people into the Society. Its not just the Society and the Rebellion, there are other people who can’t decide what they want, or they have decided they don’t want to support either. The people aren’t black and white, they’re gray and I love it. I feel like Condie presents a realistic dystopian novel. She shows what it would be like to have a real rebellion and have it lose control. The rebellion doesn’t go all as planned, and its very true to life. Things don’t quite work out the way you wish they did, or the way you planned them to.

I also really like the characters that Condie creates. They’re all strong characters. Cassia is a strong female character; making decisions on her, focusing on the Rebellion because SHE wants to, not because of Ky or Xander or anyone else. Even though she’s young and is totally allowed to feel confused, she knows from the beginning who she wants to be with and doesn’t ever deter from it. Ever. She shows strength and resilence in every mission and every goal she tries to accomplish. She’s extremely intelligent, along with Xander and Ky. They’re all strong, unique characters. They have normal teen feelings but they stay focused on the prize the entire novel.

All in all, the novel presents a good young adult dystopian novel and I’ve been kind of craving that for awhile.

Rating: 

4 out of 5 Stars for the entire series. I’d probably give a 4 to Matched and Reached, and 3 to Crossed.

Recommended or Not?

Definitely recommended especially if you enjoy a good young adult, and you enjoy a good dystopian novel. Especially a recommendation if you are over love triangles.

Tuesday Top Ten-Weapons of Choice

Ahhhh it feels good to be back, prescription writing for the blog. I spent most of last week on an editing bender, trying to get A Little Less than Famous done. I procrastinated in the worst way and left it to the last possible moments. Luckily I had asked to help from others earlier on and well I work better under pressure anyway.
But it is done now and available for Kindle and Nook and their corresponding apps. You can find out how to buy it in this blog post.
Then immediately after finishing LLTF, my boyfriend and I took a weekend trip to San Francisco. Which was amazingly fun because I haven’t been there since I was a kid.
But anyway I’m back and we are back to a regular schedule. Today I will be doing the Tuesday Top Ten, and the Book of the Week will be back on Thursday and so on.
Now, this week’s top ten is all about those weapons of choice, the ones that our favorite fictional characters wield that we totally wish we could have. Here it is.
10. Trident 
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There’s something kind of badass about a trident. I’m not talking about the one Ariel’s father uses in Little Mermaid. I’m talking Poseidon from Percy Jackson and the delicious Finnick Odair from the Hunger Games. You put a trident in their hands and they become warriors. Finnick just looks like a pretty face and a hot body (which, I mean, he is) but he becomes pretty badass with a trident in his hand. I wouldn’t mind taking lessons on how to wield one from him. The best part is that you don’t NEED anything. You don’t need a bow AND an arrow or ammunition. You just need a trident in each hand and some badass skills.
9. Whip 
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There are two people who use a whip that make it one of the coolest weapons around: Indiana Jones and Isabelle Lightwood from the Mortal Instruments series. I mean, where would Indiana be without his trusty whip in his adventures? Nowhere, I tell you. And Isabelle? She uses her flashy gold and silver whip to chop up demons! There is something very sexy about that, which makes it even more awesome. I mean, Isabelle walks into a room, looking sexy as hell, dressed in all black, red lipstick, stilettos…and then pulls out that whip. And come on, the first thing that you’re thinking is WHOA! Then she uses it to chop demons into pieces…and she’s damn good at it. That’s awesome.
8. Stele 
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I don’t know that this is a weapon, but more a tool to assist a Shadowhunter. It’s wand like and pen like, and it’s used Mark Shadowhunters with runes. Runes are tattoos that help them right better: they give them stealth and swiftness, silence, strength, healing and fearlessness. I would love to draw these tattoos on me. One, I just love tattoos (I think I’m a little addicted). And two, they give you powers. They give you the ability to be stealthy or fearless or they help you to be invisible to mundanes (regular humans). Plus you just look damn cool.
7. Blaster 
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I know, they aren’t exactly the most civilized weapons in the galaxy and that Obi Wan Kenobi looks down on them with distaste but come on, the war couldn’t have been won without some good blaster power. Luke was the only with a lightsaber and he couldn’t take down the whole Evil Galatic Empire on his own now, could he? So we need a good blaster to help take down the enemy and we need the best man to handle it, Han Solo. Han Solo, the scoundrel with his loud and messy weapon, and his wild partner in crime, Chewie. I’m not talking guns here; I’m talking blasters. Because blasters are better, for their sound effects alone. Who doesn’t go around, saying “pew pew” after seeing Star Wars.
6. Sword
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There’s nothing like a good ‘ol sword to make you feel pretty powerful. Look at everyone in the Game of Thrones. Once Upon a Time. Alanna, Keladry and Aly of Tortall. Every fairy tale ever. The Heir Trilogy. The Seven Realms novels. Lord of the Rings. Percy Jackson and his sword, Riptide. And on and on and on. There is a beauty and powerfulness to the idea of have skills in swordsmanship. Even just the idea of having a sword hang on my belt makes me feel more powerful. I want to walk casually into a room, my hand resting on my sword hilt, letting everyone know that I am not someone to toy with. And think about it, I’m a tiny person. I’m not someone you see and think “OH NO, SHE’S INTIMIDATING!” No way. But one of my favorite fictional swordswomen is Alanna of Trebond from the Song of the Lioness series and she’s the tiniest and fiercest heroine with a sword in her hand. If she can do it, I definitely can do it.
5. Bow and arrow
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This is probably the most popular weapon right now. Between Katniss Everdeen in The Hunger Games, Hawkeye in the Avengers, Oliver Queen a.k.a. Green Arrow in Arrow, and even Kili in The Hobbit. Legolas in the Lord of the Rings. Daryl in the Walking Dead. Merida in Brave. Even little Arya in Game of Thrones.  And on and on and on. Especially with Katniss Everdeen. Archery is the hip thing right now. And I’m right on board with that. The fact is, archery just looks SO COOL. Its kind of an old school weapon, you know? You don’t really see the Army or the Navy busting out bows and arrows and shooting them in Afghanistan and Iraq. But old school is awesome, and it just feels like…you have to have more talent to wield a bow and arrow. Sure, you need a good eye and some aim to shoot a gun but to use a bow properly is that much harder which is why its one that I wish I had.
Update: As I was writing this post, a commercial for the new Tomb Raider came on…and wouldn’t you know it, Ms Lara Croft herself seems to be using a bow and arrow nowadays…and that doesn’t surprise me a bit!)
4. Sonic screwdriver
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Okay, this isn’t exactly a weapon. Okay, it isn’t a weapon at all. But its soooooooo cool and where the hell would the Doctor be without it? Stuck behind locked doors, confused about things he had never seen before, completely incapable of overriding something on a computer or a terminal or a ship or whatever. The fact is, the Doctor isn’t the Doctor without the sonic screwdriver (and the TARDIS but that’s a WHOLE ‘nother blog post). The sonic is just kind of this little magical device that can do pretty much anything, except when it comes to wood, and its a PRACTICAL weapon. It may not actually win you any battles but its a clever little tool and I definitely want one. Plus every single time the Doctor uses the sonic on something, he has some sort of intelligent nonsense to say and everyone believes him because they don’t know any better and he’s the Doctor so he has to be right. I’d like to just walk up to something random, sonic it and then spout off some eloquent bullsh*t. I’m sure I could do it.
3. Seraph blade
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For those of you who don’t know what a seraph blade is, its from the Mortal Instruments series (and maybe other series that deal with Nephilim, I don’t know). TMI is about a group of people called Nephilim or Shadowhunters, who have a sole purpose of keeping the earth safe from demons. They used their stele in order to draw Marks on their bodies to give them various strengths and powers. But the actual weapon that they use is called a seraph blade, a blade that looks like its made of ice, until you name it. A Shadowhunter gives a seraph blade its name, a name of an Angel because, of course, they are half angel/half human, and the blade begins to glow, and its the perfect weapon to take down a nasty demon. It just sounds so AWESOME. Its not a sword, its not a dagger; its something inbetween and its created for the single purpose of taking down a demon. AND IT GLOWS. I want it, because, let’s face it, besides being a wizard or a Jedi, I want to be a Shadowhunter most in the world.
2. A wand
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I know, I know, its not number one. People are probably having a hissy fit right now but just pay attention for a moment okay? I want a wand because it basically can do ANYTHING. I mean, it can’t create food as we learned from Ron and Hermione in Deathly Hallows but it can duplicate it. You can hover things and you can summon things and banish them. You can change your appearance and enlarge things. You can turn off lights and open doors and you can make flowers bloom and so many things. You need seven years of schooling to master the purpose of using a wand and even then, I’m sure you don’t know it all. It is the ultimate weapon. You may ask, well, Sara, you’re a Potterhead, why isn’t it your number one? Well for two reasons: one, its not very big, which means I’m likely to lose it. I’m horrible at keeping track of things and I could totally see myself constantly losing my wand the way I lose my cell phone or my keys. And two, its SMALL. This wand is basically my lifeline as a wizard and its so small and insignificant. I’m so terrified it would be snapped in half and then where I be? Even so, its definitely a weapon I’d like to have.
1. Lightsaber 
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Ah, yes, the classiest weapon in all the galaxy. A weapon for a more civilized age. And seriously, what every little kid wishes they could have. Hell, what every ADULT wishes they could have. And if they don’t want one, well, my opinion is that they are straight up crazy. Its even BETTER than a traditional sword because it glows, in different colors of red, blue, green and purple and it can be deactivated so, you know, you don’t sit on it or something. (What? I can totally imagine stabbing myself in the butt with my sword when I go to sit down…). I don’t care who you are; lightsabers are super cool. The noise they make when they activate, the noise they make when you use them, the noise they make when they collide with each other. The gorgeous arc they make as you swing them at your opponent. How could you not want this? Its all the beauty and class of a sword but in a more badass format.
Hope you all enjoyed this edition of the Tuesday Top Ten (on a Wednesday but who’s paying attention) and I hope you all tune in tomorrow for the Book of the Week. I’ve read so many books the past few weeks (The ENTIRE Heir Trilogy, The Girl of Fire and Thorns, Matched, The Maze Runner, Beautiful Creatures, and so on) so I need to decide which one to actually review. I guess we’ll see tomorrow.
Until then, what are your favorite weapons (or fictional objects) of choice? Let me know in the comments!
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