As you've probably heard, the book 1984, by George Orwell has been in such a high demand this past week, that printing companies are having a hard time printing enough copies. This book came out in 1948 and it's suddenly a bestseller, on the top of every sales list, on every website, everywhere. (Although I must admit, I haven't read it yet!)
I figured that it would be a good idea to have a post all about Dystopias!
Dis-toh-pee-uh: a society characterized by human misery, as squalor, oppression, disease and overcrowding. (Dictionary.com)
Dystopias experienced a rollercoaster of popularity - between 2008-ish and 2014 they were all the rage, but now they seemed to have phased out.
However, since the recent political changes going on in the world (*cough* America *cough*), dystopian books have quickly become popular agian. People are seeing what is happening in the world nowadays as equivalent to what is often portrayed in dystopian novels. I agree about this, especially with the opression sense. However, I don't want to make this political, so back to books!
Dystopian books, as I said, have phased out in the past few years. Re-occuring themes, tropes and character-types became, well, repetitive and readers wanted something new and exciting.
Dystopians often include Utopian novels, as well as end-of-the-world novels. There might be a bit of magic and/or science, but generally, it is a book that takes place in a future where things are just... well, not the way they should be.
With this post I'm going to walk you through types of dystopias, as well as some of my favorites and least favorites.
*Disclaimer: I do realize that +polandbananasBOOKS made a very similar video, and by no means am I trying to copy it - I started writing this a few days ago and saw the video in the meantime, I'm sorry!*
The first book I have for you guys is one of my all-time favorites: The Giver, by Lois Lowry (1993). Oh my goodness, if you haven't read this book, please do - it's short, and amazing in all the right ways! This is more of a Utopic book - the government of this society does everything to make everyone completely equal, and one person - the Reciever of Memory - knows what the world is really like, and is trusted with the history of the world, so that the society doesn't repeat the same mistakes as were made in the past. It's one of those books that are usually set for middle-school reading, but it's more than worth it to re-read it as a teen or young adult, it's a totally different experience!
Next up, the Divergent Trilogy, by Veronica Roth (2011). This is a real dystopian novel - the government separated people into five different groups based on personality traits, and anyone who doesn't fit is an immediate danger. This book was immensly hyped for a reason - it's an addictive series that is fun to read, and with it's simple world and it's 'categories', people could easily imagine what exactly was going on. A lot of people put this series down because of the tragedy that happens at the end of book 3, but, if you think about it, what happened is realistic. This trilogy is definetly worth it and gives the right idea of what a real dystopia would be like.
I'm pretty sure that everyone in the bookverse agrees that The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins (2008) is an amazing dystopian trilogy. The hype around this book was, and still is, huge. A country were the government is so afraid of an uprising that, to keep its population under control, it organizes games where kids are forced to fight and survive until they are the last one alive, in exchange for food and money. An uprising, a war, love and loss. It's terrifying, to think that the future could be like this, but that's what makes the Hunger Games such a good trilogy! If you haven't read it yet, what are you doing?
Now for something less well-known: Forget Tomorrow, by Pintip Dunn (2015). This sci-fi dystopian novel is about a world where, at 17, people receive a memory that their future self sends them. These are pre-determined fates, that happen no matter what. People with good future memories are given good jobs and a sense of honor, but anyone who recieves a bad future memory may be put in jail to try to prevent that memory from happening. This book is way, way underhyped and I hope that you guys will take the time to read it, because it really is worth it!
Another book that I find super underhyped is Exodus, by Julie Bertagna (2002). This book is another type of dystopian - it concerns climate change and overpopulation rather than governmental issues. What would happen if all fo the world's icecaps melted and what was left of humanit lived on scattered islands, or in cities in the sky?
The final series I'm going to talk about is Maximum Ride, by James Patterson (2005). This is more of a scientific dystopian - the main characters are genetic experiments that are hunted down by other scientists and genetic experiments. The series is someone stretched thin and more middle-grade aimed, but is a fun bunch of books to read!
There's some more dystopias I'd like to talk about, but haven't read the whole series of yet.
- Under the Never Sky, by Veronica Rossi (2012)
- The Selection, by Kiera Cass (2012)
- Angelfall, by Susan Ee (2012)
- The Testing, by Joelle Charbonneau (2013)
- Matched, by Ally Condie (2010)
- The Maze Runner, by James Dashner (2009)
I know... I haven't finished any of these series past the first book... I really have to get to them!
What do you think of Dystopian books? Are there any you want the world to read, or that you feel completely reflect what is currently happening in the world? Let me know!