“You’re still reading dystopian?”

by Madeleine Rex

I can’t tell you how many times my mom’s asked me this question.

Now, my mom’s not much of a reader herself (this may be hard to believe, but she really is far too busy to read), but she does host a book club with me and forces herself to listen to my bookish jabbering. Therefore, she’s heard plenty about various dystopian societies. I can’t seem to quit leaping at dystopian novels, despite the fact that many of them are rather similar.

Why?

There’s simply something fascinating about a world that is a twisted and demented version of the one we’re living in. Even without the elements of fantasy, dystopian worlds manage to be just as fantastical, but in a more relatable way. The more connections I can make between our world and the one in the book, and the easier it is to understand the path that was taken to get from one to the other, the more mesmerizing and terrifying the dystopian world is. A few miscalculations, a few conniving people, a few natural disasters, and we’re there, living in a world even more dysfunctional than the one we’re living in now.

However, I’d have to say that the reason I haven’t had my dystopian fix is the same one that motivates me to read almost anything: characters. No matter what genre, and no matter how bland the world, a colorful cast of characters can steal my heart. All I’m really asking for is the opportunity to love a few more people – to make friends and enjoy their company. When I read, my ultimate desire is to be invested in the lives of fascinating people. Dystopian is a genre that accommodates intriguing worlds, horrific realities, and, if the book is good, characters with whom I can fall in love.

There are many irresistible dystopian novels out there, and their strengths vary. Some are written by adept and talented authors whose prose enchants me. Others are set in worlds so corrupt and abominable that I can’t help but read them and savor the horror. And the best of them are homes to people I adore.

Here are a few dystopian books that I’ve enjoyed and recommend, particularly to those that are skeptical about the value and appeal of the dystopian genre:


Divergent by Veronica Roth [5/5]


Wither by Lauren DeStefano [5/5] (Review)


Delirium by Lauren Oliver [5/5] (Review)


Matched by Ally Condie [5/5] (Review)


The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins [Can I say 10/5?]


Awaken by Katie Kacvinsky [4/5] (Review)

What are you still doing here? Shouldn’t you be reading?

3 Commentsto ““You’re still reading dystopian?””

  1. What I love is the "what if" factor, it's like the worst (or most unusual? best?) parts of our society taken 10 steps further and pushed over the edge and what we end up with is this dystopian world. It's different from post-apocalyptic (which i also enjoy, but for different reasons) in which pretty much everything is destroyed. Characters can also be important, but for a book like Divergent, I don't think I emotionally connected with any character yet I still loved the book. For me, dystopians need a great/fantastic/outstanding premise, fabulous writing to keep me engaged, and characters that are likable and worth reading about at the least. great discussion post!

  2. I love how dystopian makes me really THINK about things, instead of just enjoying a story (although I get to think AND enjoy a story). My favorite, by far, is Divergent!

  3. I forgot to mention that! I definitely like the clarity with which dystopian makes me see *our* world. Every imaginary world gives you things to ponder.

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