I'm in a haze today. I just finished a dystopian series (Shatter Me) that has left me reeling. I hate it when I can't binge-read the entire series because all of the books aren't out yet. You'd think I'd learn to check and see if the whole series is out before I become emotionally invested in the story. I haven't learned yet. I probably won't.
There is something about a post-apocalyptic world that draws me in and won't let me go. Something about a young hero or heroine fighting evil and saving the world. I just love it. So much. I have a problem. So much so that I wrote a song about it. :)
Anyway, I thought I would share some of my favorite dystopian reads that I've had the pleasure of discovering over the years. In no particular order, here are some of my favorites:
(I do not own any of the pictures in this post)
The Uglies Series
I've read this series twice. The first time I was probably a freshman or sophomore in high school, more recently I read it again a couple of years ago. This story has always stayed with me. In a world where everyone is "pretty" no one is original or unique. You spend your childhood and teenage years just waiting for your operation to become "pretty". Of course the series has all of the action, romance, resistance, revolution, etc. that one would expect in a dystopian fiction, but the main concept of the story is what hooked me from the beginning. Our society is already so fixated on being "pretty". Is the Uglies world really that far-fetched?
The Shatter Me series is one of my favorites for several reasons. Like most of the series I will list, I've read it twice. It was originally supposed to be a 3 book series, however, Tahereh just released the 4th installment "Restore Me" this past March and announced that there will be 2 more books in the series. Yay. I have to wait practically forever to find out what happens in the lives of Juliette, Aaron, and Kenji.
Anyway, I love this series because I think Juliette is a very relatable character. Learning to love yourself despite your flaws, learning to deal with our past instead of dwelling on it, and learning to fight for a better life instead of being complacent and stagnant are all things we have to deal with in our own lives. Again, this series has all the necessary components needed to make a binge-worthy dystopian read. The action is perfect, the drama is there, and the romance (though I think is a little much at times) is definitely not missing.
And lastly, the reason why I love these books is because Tahereh Mafi is a beautiful writer. She makes me feel. Also, her instagram page is gorgeous so give her a follow. Also, also, there are rumors that Shatter Me is going to be made into a TV series so, whoever is in charge of casting Juliette hit me up.
Cinder (The Lunar Chronicles)
The Lunar Chronicles follow the life of Cinder, whose story starts out as a twist on the classic Cinderella. It's been awhile since I've read this series, however, it's always stuck with me as one that I really enjoyed.
There are humans, androids, and a deadly plague. Sounds entertaining enough, right? Then add a moon people to the mix and you're in for an exciting time. There are 4 books in the chronicles so you'll be kept busy for a while, unless you're like me and read a book a day, then I'm sorry. Anyway, read this series and thank me later.
This dystopian series involves a Robin Hood-type criminal fighting the system from his place in the slums and an elite young prodigy being groomed for the highest military circle. Their paths cross and they end up fighting the new world together. Classic tale, but still entertaining and well-written.
This series includes many twists and turns, plus all that action and romance that you would expect in a dystopian work of fiction. Is this series my favorite? No. But I still recommend it because I did highly enjoy it.
The Girl With All The Gifts
I don't want to give away all the details in this delightful book, but, if you are a fan of zombie-type entertainment, then you need to read this book RIGHT NOW.
I am pretty in love with this story. I didn't sleep much while I was reading it. The suspense kept me up along with my emotional ties to the characters. It's so different from any other zombie-type book or movie I've enjoyed.
I recently discovered that there is a second book called The Boy On The Bridge. I'm waiting to read it until I can read the first one again. It's a little too soon for me to be diving back in though.
The House of the Scorpion
This may be one of the best dystopian books I've ever read. In the land of Opium (named after its chief product) there rules a drug lord known as El Patron. The story follows the life of Matt, a boy who has been a prisoner on the El Patron estate for his whole life, and how he comes to discover who he is and why he has been held captive for so long.
This tale is one that makes your stomach churn and your skin crawl. It's weird and disturbing at times, but the good kind, the kind that makes you want to keep reading and find out what happens next. I don't want to give to much away, because Matt's story is one you will want to discover on your own.
The Matched series is set in a world where your lifelong mate is chosen for you. The system doesn't make mistakes, until one day it does. And so follows the story of a girl who was given two matches by accident, oh no, what does she do?
The setting of this series is an interesting concept and the drama that follows is very entertaining. I'd relate this series more to Divergent than anything else.
Not my favorite series by any means, but I enjoyed it and it's a great one to binge-read by the pool on a lazy Saturday.
What would a world without love be like? Lauren Oliver shows us in the world of Delirium. The chemical that produces the feeling of love in our brains is removed when the citizens reach the age of 18. Love is considered a disease from which the citizens must be cured.
The story follows Lena, a girl who has been looking forward to the procedure her whole life because she thinks she is sick. However, she falls in love right before the procedure, and so now she is on the run with her bae.
The plot of the story is cool. The idea that love is debilitating and causes us to do crazy irrational things that cause a whole lot of problems for the societies we live in is an interesting one. The series has action, revolution, and romance so it's guaranteed to entertain. Another great read for a lazy pool day or an all-night dystopian binger.
Pines (Wayward Pines Trilogy #1)
I first discover Pines from the TV series Wayward Pines, based on the dystopian series by Blake Crouch.
I watch the TV show with my dad on HULU. We had an ongoing father-daughter date every week to watch the new episodes together. I would definitely recommend the first season as a must-watch. The second season kinda sucked and we were very disappointed.
The book series, however, doesn't disappoint. This isn't a young adult series like most dystopian fiction, so there is some use of strong language in the writing that I would rather not be there, but it is, so just a warning.
Pines is a full-on thriller that will have you sitting on the edge of your seat. Set in the wayyyyy future, it follows the story of a town of captives who are trying to survive the new world that they had no desire to be a part of. It's very strange and weird and scary and all the good things that make a thriller entertaining.
Other good dystopian reads...
Of course I've read the popular Hunger Games and Divergent. Love them both and if you haven't, WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN? I wasn't a huge fan of the Divergent movies...and I thought the Hunger Games films were kind of a let down except for the second one, Catching Fire, I thought they captured that one well.
I also really enjoyed the Maze Runner series. It was refreshing to have a male as the main character. Most of the dystopian fiction I read have a female as the lead.
The 5th Wave novels were really good, but I heard the movie was bad so maybe just stick with the books. I also loved I Am Number Four, and I should probably read it again soon.
More dystopian reads that I've enjoyed but can't remember well enough to thoroughly include them on this list are:
Across The Universe
Get to reading...
Okay so now you know what I, Ciara Brooke, like to read. It's because of my love for all things dystopian fiction that my song Dystopian Daydream was created. I can't wait for you all to hear the finished track on my upcoming album Diva Diaries. Stay tuned for more info. And while you're waiting, get to reading!