All Book Reviews by Genre: Dystopian

Book Review: The Towering Sky
McGee, Katharine
2 stars = Meh
Review:

"The Towering Sky" by Katherine McGee tells the story of five teenagers in 2119. Living in a futuristic Manhattan tower in which your floor displays your power, a mystery/romance story is bred. This book was perfectly okay. The writing wasn't half bad, and the characters ,well half-baked, were not unrealistic or arrogant. However, as reading this book, the third and final of a series, without reading the first two, was extremely confusing. At first I had not realized that this book was part of a trilogy, and thought the writing was purposefully confusing. Though I don't know if this book would make more sense after reading the first two, the pacing was quite fast, though the plot moved slow, which created a strange vibe while reading. In general, I would not recommend this book. However, if you have read the first two and liked them, go ahead and give it a go.

Reviewer's Name: Anna C.
Book Review: Fahrenheit 451
Bradbury, Ray
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Fahrenheit 451 follows the story of a fireman, Guy Montag, who lives in a dystopian society. His job as a fireman is to locate all books around the city and burn them. Books are banned from any individual and is considered to be an inferior type of entertainment in comparison television, which are more supported by the public. As Montag continues to burn more books throughout his job over time, he deals with a variety of external factors that changes his brainwashed and disillusioned perspective to considering books and their significance to society. Being a firemen in this dystopian society, Montag must deal with a plethora of barriers that are blocking his way before he can truly understand the importance of books and to keep them.

Fahrenheit 451 is an intriguing book that takes a different approach in a dystopian society. Instead of implementing a militaristic and governmental style, Bradbury uses firemen which encapsulates a unique and captivating plot line. Fahrenheit 451 demonstrates a story that everyone can enjoy, especially for those who enjoy reading dystopian novels. Bradbury effectively relates character development of Montag to the series of events that occurs. This coherent relationship that virtually happens side-by-side further produces a sense of immersion for the reader.

Personally, I enjoyed Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451 novel. It is considered to be one of his best, and most iconic books that he has written to date. I highly recommend any average reader to consider reading Fahrenheit 451. The book is not too long, but it will still produce an immense amount of quality and satisfaction in the end.

Reviewer's Name: Nam T.
Awards:
Book Cover
Grant, Michael
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Michael Grant has written a thrilling conclusion to his Gone series. Light is the perfect ending to a phenomenal series. Over the past five books, Sam, Astrid, Edilio, and all the others have survived every obstacle the FAYZ has thrown at them. However, will they be able to survive a final epic battle with the Gaiaphage itself? With suspense around every corner, Light brings the same energy and intensity found in all of the other Gone books. I thoroughly enjoyed Light and highly recommend it to any high school aged reader.

Reviewer's Name: John B.
Book Cover
Grant, Michael
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Michael Grant continues the Gone series with another spectacular novel. The kids of Perdido Beach have survived many obstacles thrown at them by the FAYZ, but now they must face their biggest fear yet: complete darkness. Will these kids be able to survive when they can't see what's coming for them? Fear is another hit by Grant. With twists and turns around every corner, Fear is a suspense thriller you won't be able to put down.

Reviewer's Name: John B.
1984
Orwell, George
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

1984 introduces Winston Smith as the primary character. Smith is a middle-aged man that lives within a dystopian society in April of 1984. Being nearly 4 decades after World War II and just a couple of years after the apparent Atomic Wars, Smith lives through the totalitarian state of Oceania, where is activity is consistently surveyed. At this point, Smith attempts to relocate himself from this totalitarian state in order to put him back to normal behavior.

1984 is another novel involving a dystopia, however, it stands out for its strong character development. The premise of the story is heavily shown through the setting, as it demonstrates a controlled and tyrannical lifestyle.

Reviewer Grade: 11

Reviewer's Name: Nam T
Awards:
1984
Orwell, George
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review:

George Orwell depicts a horrific and terrifying alternate reality of 1984.
After years of war and conflict, the world is governed by three totalitarian regimes. The one that our main character, Winston Smith, resides under is ruled by the “party” and its leader “Big Brother”. The narrative follows Winston as he meets a mysterious woman named Julia, and the two begin to secretly rebel.
When I first started reading this book, I was a little bit disappointed. I had such high expectations (I think that was the problem) ,and it just didn’t live up to them. In the beginning, I thought Winston’s character was somewhat flat, and I didn’t feel a lot of sympathy for what he was living through. I thought Julia was unrealistic and a bit obnoxious. But in the second half of the book, my opinions had changed. The book becomes quite disturbing, and it makes you question what is actually real and what is just a fabrication of the party. It’s terrifying to say the least. Despite the fact that I enjoyed parts of this book, I have to rate it 3 stars because I wasn’t engaged in the first half of the narrative.

Reviewer's Name: Sophie L
Awards:
Plague book cover
Grant, Michael
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

The thrilling Gone series continues with this fourth book, and Grant does not disappoint. This series has been one of my favorites and Plague is no exception. As a highly contagious, fatal illness spreads at an alarming rate and predatory insects terrorize Perdido Beach, morale continues to drop.
However, Sam, Astrid, and even Caine are determined to find a way to survive.
Everyone must make difficult decisions when it comes to saving themselves and those they love. Grant has written another phenomenal dystopian horror with suspense around every corner. I highly recommend this book to all high school aged readers.

Reviewer's Name: John B
The Storm
Bergin, Virginia
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Sequel to "H2O", "The Storm" continues the story of a newly distopian Earth where the rain kills. This book focuses on the bonds of family in crisis, or lack thereof, and the pursuit of survival. Like "H2O" I would call "The Storm" a dystopian thriller with a hint of romance. Not only are all the characters in peril, but they are on their own without any governmental aid.

Truly a fascinating story that will make you uneasy around water.

Reviewer's Name: Maddie K
The Selection
Cass, Kiera
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

I can honestly say that this book is my favorite book that I have ever read.
The selection is a book about a class system that divides society into groups within a monarchy. However, the extremely handsome Prince Maxon is holding a selection process to find his next princess. Thirty-five girls from all classes are selected to stay in the palace with Maxon for a chance and being his wife. America Singer is from one of the lowest classes, but by staying true to herself and never conforming to the Prince’s wishes she catches his eye. After a spark ignites in and Maxon falls in love with America, he struggles to decide if she will be suitable for the kingdom and fit to rule by his side.
Reviewer Grade:12

Reviewer's Name: Madison S
Hive Book Cover
Lyga, Barry
2 stars = Meh
Review:

In the near future, an app called BLINQ tracks all social media usage and amalgamates posts from a number of platforms. On BLINQ, you can vote to condemn a person for their social media output – if a person’s condemns to likes ratio gets out of balance, they’ll find themself condemned in real life. For example, a person who ignominiously dumps their partner on Facebook might find themself getting physically dumped in the trash. The punishment is designed to fit the crime. Called the Hive, its something our lead Cassie loved to participate in – until all of a sudden, it wasn’t. After a racy tweet, Cassie finds herself the target of the Hive, but her punishment is more severe than all that have come before it: death.

This was a fast paced, enjoyable dystopia which was a good change of pace from my normal fare of fantasy. I think teens are going to love it. Aside from a few horrendous decisions, our lead Cassie is likable, smart (ostensibly, anyway) and her experiences navigating a new high school will resonate with teens. As Cassie spends most of the book running for her life, it will definitely appeal to thriller fans or those that need their books to be very plot based. I read the book in a day or two even though I had a good idea of how it was going to play out. Little attention is given to the supporting characters, though the book did also present a few chapters from Cassie’s mom’s perspective, which I loved. The authors did a great job portraying a somewhat fraught mother-daughter relationship. There’s though-provoking, if heavy handed, social commentary to be found as well, and I think this book will stick with some readers long after they've turned the last page.

Ultimately, though, the book had what I’m going to call the “Scythe” problem: the premise just wasn’t believable. The Hive was certainly believable – its basically a physical manifestation of the shame that we’re willing to dole out to strangers online (if you’d like a great non-fiction read on the topic, try So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed by Jon Ronson ). Did I for one second think that the first person to get the death penalty would be a teenage girl who tweeted something offensive? I did not. I had trouble getting over that.

TLDR: If you liked The Maze Runner, Divergent or yes, Scythe, you should definitely check out this thrilling dystopia.
Lots of teens will love this one, but it didn’t do it for me – 2 stars. It was ok.

Thanks to Netgalley and Kids Can Press for the eARC which I received in exchange for an unbiased review. The Hive will be released on 03 September but you can put your copy on hold today!

Reviewer's Name: Britt
Hart, Rob
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Imagine a world where Amazon controls pretty much everything (its really not hard to do, right?). They are the only large employer, and they have managed to put just about every other retail company out of business. Most folks who need employment have to head to their nearest Cloud center (Amazon = Cloud), apply, and hope against hope they are accepted. This is the fate of our two main protagonists, Zinnia and Paxton. Paxton wants more than anything to keep his head down until he can get patent money for his invention, a business that was going well until Cloud forced him out of business. Zinnia’s reasons for working at Cloud are a bit more inspired (it would depend on your perspective) as she’s been hired to try to take Cloud down from the inside. As Paxton and Zinnia are thrown together, both will come to realize that the Cloud was more insidious than they thought and they’ll have to sacrifice more than they’re comfortable with the bring it down.

I read this book right after watching John Oliver’s sendup of this sort of corporate culture and dang, Rob Hart did his research. His version of Amazon matches quite closely with what Oliver presents as the actual version of Amazon. I mean, it’s not great. Its really fascinating to read this near-future take on what Amazon and their ilk could mean for our country and economy as, like I said, this is a future that is really easy to imagine.

The book takes turn between Zinnia, Paxton and Gibson Wells’ (think Jeff Bezos) narratives. The characters are believable and likable enough (save Wells, but that’s obviously intentional) that I was not overly fond of one perspective over the other and never found myself racing through one perspective to get to a different one. Nonetheless, the book ends up being a quick read. It was sort of John Grisham meets Brave New World, and I was not mad about it. It’d make a fantastic movie, and clearly someone agrees with me as the author thanks Ron Howard and Bryan Glazer in his afterword.

If you are looking for a quick summer read that’ll make you think (but not too hard), this dystopian thriller will suit your needs. 4 stars – I really liked it!

Thanks to Crown and Netgalley for the free eARC which I received in exchange for an unbiased review. The Warehouse will be release on 20 August, and you can put your copy on hold today!

Reviewer's Name: Britt
Fahrenheit 451
Bradbury, Ray
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Fahrenheit 451 is a classic book that most people have heard the title of. With a similar style to Aldous Huxley’s “Brave New World”, Fahrenheit 451 takes the reader into a future where books are outlawed and the people of this alternate future are basically mindless robots. The people of this future have an intake of mindless media that even surpasses that of us currently. The main character is a firefighter but different from what we are used to. These firefighters fight with fire, burning houses and books if they are found since they are against the law. But soon after meeting a girl who does not conform to this society’s media consumption, the main character begins to rebel and go against the norm. Fahrenheit 451 is a spooky prediction of what the future will hold and after reading it, I can already see us as a society heading on this path. A truly incredible read, Fahrenheit 451 is a novel that cannot be missed.

Reviewer's Name: Maddie K
Hunger
Grant, Michael
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Michael Grant has written another thriller with Hunger. Continuing the story of Gone, everyone is still trapped inside of the FAYZ. However, a new enemy has filled the minds of every person: hunger. As they search for a solution to their hunger, Sam, Astrid, and the others must still resist Caine and the rest of his crew as well as a powerful being known as the Darkness.
Michael Grant keeps you in suspense throughout the entire novel and will leave you hungry for more. I highly recommend this book for any high school aged reader.

Reviewer's Name: John B
Gone
Grant, Michael
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Michael Grant has renewed a classic for the next generation of readers. Gone has a very similar structure to Lord of the Flies but has enhanced the story in many ways. Gone presents added science fiction elements to the story that will draw in many readers and provides conflict that will force you to keep reading. I thoroughly enjoyed this book. However, some readers may find some elements of the story slightly disturbing. Therefore, I recommend this book for high school aged readers and up.

Reviewer's Name: John B
The Hunger Games
Collins, Suzanne
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

16 year old Katniss Everdeen has had to fend for her mom and sister, Primrose Everdeen ever since her father died in a mining accident when she was 12. She has had to learn to hunt to keep her family alive with the bow and arrows that her father made before he died. It is the Reaping, and Katniss knows she is in danger of being reaped because of her extra names in the Reaping. After her father died she was forced to sign up for more food so that she and her family could live and she will pay the price now. It is Primrose's first reaping now that she is 12, and against all odds she is reaped. But Katniss volunteers so she won't have to go the the Hunger Games were a male and female tribute for each of the 12 districts are forced into an arena to kill each other in tell one lone victor remains. But when it is time for a boy to be reaped, he has a connection to Katniss' life. His name is Peeta Mellark a boy who worked in the bakery in District 12. As they get to know each other and prepare for the games they start working together so maybe one of them can survive the games.

Reviewer's Name: Natalie M.
Gone
Grant, Michael
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Gone, by Michael Grant is a fast paced dystopian sci-fi story about a small town in California by the name of Perdido Beach . The plot quickly pulls you in, leaving you emotionally invested in the characters. Personally, the second I was finished, I was onto the next book! The main character is a young boy named Sam Temple. After all of the people aged 15+ vanish, the remaining teens and children look up to him as their leader, even though he constantly tries to deny the huge responsibility. After a gang of bullies start to take over the town and kill and mutilate the people who won't bow down to them, he takes a stand to protect the rest of the innocents. Gone is the first in a series of five books. I would recommend this book, and by extension series, to anyone that enjoys superpowers, violence, and heartbreaking sacrifices.

Reviewer's Name: Emily G.
The Hunger Games
Collins, Suzanne
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Katniss, a teen girl who's dad died in a mining accident, left her to fend or her mother and little sister Primrose. She hunts and trades for her family with her friend Gale she met soon after the mining accident happened. The annual "Reaping" was a turn of events in the story and essentially what it is, is a night once a year where one girl and one boy aging from 12-18 from every 12 districts are chosen by chance to participate in "The Hunger Games." The Hunger Games is where all 24 children are forced to fight to the death in an arena and there is only one winner.

Reviewer's Name: Kaylee W.
Matched
Condie, Allyson
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

This book is truly amazing! It leaves you wondering what will happen next, to where you cannot put the book down! This is the first book of a trilogy by Ally Condie, all of which are fantastic. I usually don't like reading but I checked this out, and could not put it down! I read it in a week or so because it was so enthralling. I would recommend this book to anyone! It's futuristic, comical, dramatic, and romantic all at the same time.

Reviewer's Name: Ashlynn B.
Fahrenheit 451
Bradbury, Ray
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Guy Montag, a fireman who lives in the future where all books are banned, is required to burn them all. Guy then meets a strange girl who explains how books aren't so bad. He begins to spend more time with her and as more fire calls end up worse and worse, his point of view on books is eventually changed. Guy becomes a rebel to the fire company, as he tries to stand up to what is right. He later meets with an ex-professor who helps him generate a plan. Will he succeed? Read this book to find out. I would recommend this to anyone who wants to read about an alternate point of view on the future and readers who like technology as well as robots.

Reviewer's Name: Miles
Red Queen
Aveyard, Victoria
2 stars = Meh
Review:

"Red Queen" is the first book in a series by Victoria Aveyard. I chose it at a friends suggestion.

The setting is a dystopian world where the color of your blood determines a lot about you. Reds are the common-folk, with nothing extraordinary about them. To make matters even worse, if a red doesn't have a job by 18, they are drafted into the ongoing war.
Silvers, however, live in the lap of luxury. They are cruel, biased, and power hungry. Plus, they have advantages over the reds. Silvers have extraordinary abilities like mind reading, controlling fire, and more. They use these powers to keep the reds in check.
Mare is a red, 17, and about to be drafted for pick-pocketing instead of getting a job. In a strange turn of events, she is saved from that cruel fate by a mysterious boy, and hired to be a servant to the royal family. Her first day on the job, however, things go array. Turns out, not all reds are powerless, and Mare is only the beginning.

To be honest, I didn't enjoy this book as much as most. The concept is fantastic, but the execution... not so much. Victoria Aveyard spends a lot of time in her subplots- a love square (not a love triangle, a love square). It might have been alright, except this is the ONLY subplot she uses. Romance is overused in this book, in my opinion. Then again, I'm not one for romance. So I would still suggest you try it, if only to step out of your reading comfort zone.

Reviewer Grade: 8

Reviewer's Name: Adia R.

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