Suzanne Collins put dystopian literature back on the map as a major subgenre for fiction with her Hunger Games trilogy; what do you read when you set down Mockingjay? Or finish watching the films? What book will fill your need to see someone fighting back against the system? That’s where I will help you. Since recently going on a book spree (more about that another time) I purchased a few dystopian novels in the hope of getting some ideas for my drama A level piece. This post will be a mix of reviews of books I have read, and books I want to read. Let’s start with the read books:
The Hunger Games:
Probably the most famous and most loved of the dystopian novels, The Hunger Games trilogy written by Suzanne Collins put dystopian novels on the top of peoples ‘to-read’ lists. Katniss Everdeen is a sixteen-year-old who must compete to the death on television to pay for a rebellion that happened over seventy years ago. In order to survive, she must either outlive or kill her opponents, and then survive her government’s displeasure as she unwittingly becomes a figure head for a new rebellion. Dystopian literature has never been a light and fluffy genre, and The Hunger Games trilogy is no exception.
Another trilogy, this is set in another messed up society where the population are split up into 5 factions in order to prevent war breaking out again. This story follows Tris (much like the Katniss of this world) born into the Abnegation faction – the one that is selfless and helps others. Once in everyone’s lifetime, a chance is offered for teenagers to change from the faction they were born into to the one they will live in as adults based on aptitude tests. Beatrice’s test reveals aptitude for an unprecedented three factions, placing her future in question and her life in danger. Beatrice decides to move to a faction which only accepts ten new members every year. With close to thirty applicants, Beatrice must fight to survive—or find herself left to die on the fringes of society. But is life in a faction really better than the alternative? The second novel, Insurgent, was published in 2012, with the third installment, Allegiant, scheduled for released late last year. A movie adaptation of Divergent was released in April 2014 and as you probably guessed I was one of the first to see it.
The final dystopian trilogy I have read (have you noticed that I like trilogies?) Based in a society that makes the decisions for you, Cassie finds that these decisions don’t work for her. During a child’s 17th year, they go to a matching ceremony where Cassie is matched with not one, but two individuals. Cassia begins to doubt the Society’s infallibility and is faced with an impossible choice: between Xander (her best friend and best choice) and Ky (A mystery boy who is meant to be unmatchable), between the only life she’s known and a path that no one else has dared to follow. The two other books are Crossed and Reached. In all honesty, I didn’t enjoy this series so even though I own the books, I haven’t read them.
Now onto the dystopians I need to read:
In a futuristic United States, books themselves have been banned, and firemen are tasked with burning down the houses which are found to contain them. People are entertained through television, radio shows, and short sound bites of news. A seventeen year old girl, Clarisse, questions the world around her, which then challenges fireman Guy Montag’s ideas of the world in which he lives. The novel was originally written as a critique on a culture that thrives on quick access to partial knowledge as opposed to one that rewards those who dig for deeper meanings.
Across The Universe:
When seventeen-year-old Amy agreed to join her parents on a mission to colonize a new planet, she expected to be woken from a cryogenically frozen state planetside, ready to start building a new society. She didn’t expect to be woken early by a boy named Elder, the future leader of the spaceship Godspeed, and be left with the reality that she will never see her family again. This book has had so many reviews recently I can’t wait to start it!
Brave New World:
If I’m not mistaken, published in 1931, this is one of the oldest dystopian novels (a reason why it drew me in). Brave New World takes place in a highly capitalistic future World State, where known religions have been replaced. People are born from test tubes: genetically designed for their roles in life and conditioned from the minute they’re born. But not even that can make people perfect cogs in the machine. Brave New World is as relevant today as it was on the day it was published, and remains one of the most challenged books in American libraries and schools. I have heard that even if you’ve read this before, its depth and detail deserve a second (or further) read.
The Maze Runner:
“If you ain’t scared, you ain’t human.”
Thomas wakes up in the lift, the only thing he can remember is his name. He’s surrounded by strangers–boys whose memories are also gone. Outside the towering stone walls that surround the Glade is a limitless, ever-changing maze. It’s the only way out–and no one’s ever made it through alive. Then a girl arrives. The first girl ever. And the message she delivers is terrifying.” This is a review I saw on good reads and it has made me want to pick this book up straight away and read it cover to cover!
Well now you have seen some of the dystopian novels I want to read/have read. What do you think about the dystopian genre and the books within it?