Monday, 27 June 2016

Recommendations | Dystopian

Dystopia – noun
An imaginary place where people lead dehumanised and often fearful lives

A favourite genre of mine for many years has been Dystopian. Yet so few people actually read a lot of these books. There are a few obvious numbers that I am going to mention but so many of these only a small number know about so, here are some of my favourite young adult dystopian novels.

Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins
Panem is a country that consists of a wealthy Capitol surrounded by 12 poorer districts. Once there had been 13 but a rebellion early in Panem’s history resulted in its destruction and the creation of The Hunger Games. This is a televised event that takes place each year and stands as a punishment. One boy and one girl from each district between the ages of 12 and 18 are chosen through a lottery system. These ‘tributes’ are forced to fight to the death, leaving one surviving victor.
When Katniss Everdeen’s younger sister, Prim, was selected to be a part of the 74th Annual Hunger Games, Katniss volunteered to take her place. Really, it is a death sentence but, for Katniss, survival is second nature and with Peeta, her male counterpart, alongside her, things will not be as hard as they first believed.

I’m sure that most people will have at least watched the films for these books but I thought I would mention them anyway. Although I didn’t like the trilogy as a whole, I was impressed with the first book and I know that it got a lot of people into reading. Therefore, The Hunger Games is a notable mention.

Divergent, by Veronica Roth
In Beatrice Prior’s world, society is divided into five factions which is dedicated to one particular virtue. Candor (the Honest), Abnegation (the Selfless), Dauntless (the Brave), Amity (the Peaceful), and Erudite (the Intelligent). Once a year, all sixteen year olds must select the faction that they will remain in for the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, she has a choice to stay with her family or discovering who she really is.

By doing this, Tris has to undertake her trials, decide who she can truly trust and hide a secret that could result in her death. Not to mention that she discovers a growing conflict that threatens to unravel her seemingly perfect society.

Another relatively obvious option and although the rest of the trilogy are fairly bad, I did like this when I first read it. For a young reader, this opened a whole new genre and although it has its flaws, it is an interesting read. If you haven’t and you want something that’ll open this genre to you, then pick up Divergent.

Maze Runner, by James Dashner
When Thomas wakes up in the lift, the only thing he can remember in his name. He’s surrounded by strangers, all of which are boys whose memory is also gone. To make matters worse, surrounding the Glade that they are in is an ever changing maze that holds these vile robotic creatures known as the Grievers. They only come out at night but if they find you in the Maze then you’re all but dead.

Then one day, everything in the maze changes forever for the lift brings a girl.

This is a book that is once again relatively well known but has a lot of mixed reviews. Some people love it, some people hate it. I have to say that although it took forever to get into, this book was suspenseful and took a turn that I wasn’t expecting. If you can stick it out for the first thirty pages or so, you are going to love the twists and turns that this book takes.

Uglies, by Scott Westerfeld
In this world, when a teenager turns sixteen they turn from ugly to stunningly pretty. They are given an operation which rids them of all their flaws and then can live in a high tech paradise where the only job is to have fun.

For Tally, this is all she has waiting for. But Tally’s new friend Shay isn’t sure that she wants to be Pretty. And when Shay runs away to live in a wild with a group called the Smokies, Tally learns a whole new side to the pretty world – and it isn’t very pretty. The authorities give Tally one choice: find her friend and turn her in, or remain ugly. And Tally’s choice will change her world forever.

I read this book before I knew about Booktube, it was recommended to me by a friend and I didn’t expect to love it as much as I did. This really opened my eyes to how beauty can actually be a weapon. I was young when I read this, like 12 or 13 and I wasn’t a particularly popular because of the way that I looked. So by reading this I could really relate to the dilemma that Tally was feeling and it opened my eyes to fact that you don’t have to be conventionally pretty to be beautiful. And I think that that is an amazing life lesson that everybody should learn.

Red Queen, by Victoria Aveyard
This is a world divided by blood. The Reds are commoners, ruled over by a Silver elite in possession of god-like superpowers. And for Mare Barrow, a 17 year old Red girl from the poverty stricken Stilts, it seems like nothing will ever change. And then she finds herself working inside the Silver Palace, surrounded by the people she hates most. It is this hatred that reveals she possesses a deadly power of her own, despite her red blood. One that threatens to destroy the balance power completely. 

Fearful of Mare’s potential, the Silvers hide her in plain sight. But this is a dangerous dance that Mare has entered, one of lies and deceit – Reds against Silvers, prince against prince, and Mare against her own heart.

Now for some reason people seem to hate this book, I really don’t know why. I adored it. It was different to anything else in YA that I’d read and it kept hooked until the final page. It was brilliant. I need to read the next book to know what happens and trust me when I say that this is awesome. Even if some people don’t agree.

The Knife of Never Letting Go, by Patrick Ness
Prentisstown isn’t like other towns. All the women were wiped out thirteen years ago and everyone can hear everyone else’s thoughts in an overwhelming, never ending stream of Noise. Todd is the only boy left. In Prentisstown, when you turn thirteen you become a man and you aren’t allowed to play with boys anymore. So for Todd, life has been a little bit lonely. Thankfully, Todd has Manchee, a dog whose thoughts you can hear too, but he’s a bit of pain really.

Yet, just a month away from the birthday that will turn him into a man, Todd and Manchee stumble upon an area of complete silence. Something that has never happened before. They find in a town where privacy is impossible, something terrible has been hidden. A secret so awful that Todd and Manchee must run for their lives.

But how can you escape when your pursuers can hear your every thought?

I read this for a national book award called the Carnegie Awards a few years ago. Patrick Ness is an amazing author who is the only person to have every single one of his books nominated for the Carnegie Awards. Which I think is pretty amazing. This was one of the first YA books I ever read and it still sticks in my mind to this day. I often go back to reread it because it is so good. It really does surprise me how few people know of Patrick Ness and his brilliant works so I will suggest this book to everyone. It is addictively good.  

The Selection, by Keira Cass
The Selection could be the change of a lifetime for thirty five girls. They have the opportunity to escape the life laid out for them since birth. They are swept into the glamourous life of the palace to try to compete to win the heart of the gorgeous Prince Maxon.

This isn’t the case for America Singer. Being Selected means turning her back on her secret love for Aspen, who is a caste below her. Leaving her home and living in the Palace that is constantly threatened by violent rebel attacks. And then America meets Prince Maxon and she realises that the life she’s always dreamed of may not compare to a future she never imagined.

When I think about this book, I don’t always think of dystopian but it is. It is a world ruled over by a vile King and tormented by two different groups of Rebels. I couldn’t put this trilogy down, even though originally I doubted that I would like it. Yes, it’s not usually my cup of tea but I thoroughly enjoyed this and I hope that others will as well.

Legend, by Marie Lu
June and Day are from completely different worlds. June is a prodigy, born from an elite family, who has been groomed for success. Day is the Republic’s most wanted criminal. It is only when June’s brother, Metias is murdered and Day is made the Prime Suspect that they meet.

But in a shocking turn of events, the two uncover the truth of what has really brought them together, and the sinister lengths their country will go to keep its secrets.
Now this is actually classed as a retelling, which I don’t see at all. I see it as a dystopia since it’s set into a war torn world under a controlling Government. The first book was interesting and I flew through it in one sitting.

Gone, by Michael Grant
In the blink of an eye, everyone disappeared. All gone. Except for the young. There are teens, but no adults at all. No phones, internet or televisions. No way to get help or figure out what happened.

Hunger threatens. Bullies reign. A sinister creature lurks. Animals are mutating. And the teens themselves are changing, developing new talents that grow stronger every day. But their time is running out: on your birthday, you disappear just like everyone else …

Although this book took over too much plot; Grant could have ended it half way through so that the plot could continue for the next book. But other than that it was a rather gripping read. The plot immediately held my attention and even though there were dual personalities, I didn’t care that much because of the addictive writing style.

The Enemy, by Charlie Higson
When the sickness came, every adult fell ill. The lucky ones died. The others turned crazed, hungry and confused. Only children under fourteen remain and they’re fighting to survive.

There are rumours of a safe place to hide. Somewhere that these zombies can’t get. So a gang of children begin their quest across London, where the adults life in wait wherever they go. The question is, can they make it there – alive?

I didn’t expect to love this as much as I do, as a fan of the Walking Dead I’m used to zombies and thought I’d be immune to them, but that was not the case in this novel. This was literally a mix of The Walking Dead and The Hunger Games with children surviving in a horrific world. You never think of the children in a zombie apocalypse but them having to survive, by themselves, it’s truly horrific. In an enjoyable way.

Shatter Me, by Tahereh Mafi
Juliette hasn’t touched anyone in 264 days. She was locked up for murder by The Reestablishment when she did last time. No one knows why Juliette’s touch is fatal, it just is and the world is too busy with its own problems to care. Disease, food shortages and pollution.

But The Reestablishment isn’t as perfect as it would like people to believe and so many people are dead that survivors are whispering war. So Juliette has to make a choice: be a weapon or be a warrior.

Now this book wasn’t perfect. I listen to the audiobook of this so I didn’t absorb all of it straight away and having a love triangle is just cliché and tacky. But the story behind this is intriguing. I know that I want to read it properly when I get the chance because I’ll be able to absorb it better. But it was good to listen to and it’s a slightly different type of dystopia.

Noughts and Crosses, by Malorie Blackman
White Naughts and black Crosses never mix – and they certainly don’t fall in love. Callum is a Naught – a second class citizen in a society run by Crosses. Sephy is a Cross, daughter to the man who’ll likely be the next Prime Minister. When they were younger, they played together. Now they meet in secret.

But when Sephy and her mother are nearly caught in a terrorist attack, Callum’s father becomes the Prime Suspect and the blood hunt that ensues will not only threatens their love for one another. But their very lives.

The thing that always brings me back to this book is the fact that it’s about racial discrimination but the opposite way round. Which never happens. It’s always black people are discriminated by white people. But in this case, the black people are the higher race which really opened my eyes to discrimination when I first read this book several years ago. I think I was in my first year of high school so yeah, that was a long time ago. This is a true Dystopian novel and one that so few people have read considering how brilliant it is. I can’t go into much detail because of spoilers but I highly suggest that people read this book!

Procession of the Dead, by Darren Shan
Capac Raimi arrives in the City, determined to make his mark. Yet as he begins to learn the tricks of the trade from his Uncle Theo, he swiftly finds his way to becoming a promising new gangster.

But his life changes forever when he meets The Cardinal.

This was my second favourite book of 2014 and I cannot stop thinking about it, even two years later. This twists that took place were breath taking and I hate that nobody knows about this book. No one talks about it on booktube and none of my reader friends know about it either. The world is so twisted and I wouldn’t suggest reading it if you’re a sensitive person because of some of the content. But it was so good. I didn’t expect it to take the path that it did which is a real compliment because I can usually predict things. This was an amazing read and people need to read it now.

I hope that people will read these books since some of these are amazing. I know I’ve said that word a lot in this post but they are amazing. If there are any dystopian books out there that you think I should read, feel free to let me know in the comments. Also do you want me to do more recommendations?

Book Total of 2016 – 47