All Book Reviews by Genre: Dystopian

Brave New World
Huxley, Aldous
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Brave New World, written by Aldous Huxley, is a personal interpretation of society’s attitude towards technology. It takes place in a future, either dystopian or utopian, where technology reigns supreme, and humans are created in a lab. It offers commentary on where humanity’s values are placed, and where they should be placed. The characters have to choose whether or not conformity is the best option, and whether numbing the pain is better than understanding the suffering. Written in the 1930s, Huxley has a surprisingly modern style and understanding, and knowing that he was unsure of the future makes it an even more exciting book.

Reviewer's Name: Malachi
The Handmaid's Tale
Atwood, Margaret
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

This novel followes the life of "Offred" who is part of the first wave of women during the Gilead regime. "Offred", whose real name is never revealed in the book, is a Handmaid whose sole responsiblity is to have children to sustain the rapidly declining Caucasion population. She tries to accept her life as a Handmaid, but is haunted by memories of the time before Gilead when she had a family and was free from the oppressive society she currently lives in.

I really liked how Atwood discloses minimal details about "Offred" which makes it clear that what is happening to her can happen to any woman. The novel is set in a utopian society, and it's very interesting to read the rationale behind the establishment of the Gilead regime and how sexism and anti-feminist retoric is a constantly looming problem in society. The novel is told through "Offred's" perspective, and personally, I felt she was a bland character, but her story itself was interesting. The book hangs off on a cliffhanger, and I'm definitely going to read the sequel and watch the Hulu adaption after!

Reviewer's Name: Nneoma
Pretties
Westerfeld, Scott
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

The plot and characters in this book were Amazing! I loved the twists and turns along the way. The story ran smoothly and everything moved at a great pace. If you are interested in a highly engaging, futuristic, adventurous book, this is highly recommended! You will find yourself deep in the pages and unable to put the book down.

Reviewer's Name: Kate
Mockingjay
Collins, Suzanne
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Mockingjay is about a girl named Katniss Everdeen who becomes a warrior in the war against the capitol. She must rebel against the capitol to stop the cruelty that the capitol finds entertaining and to ensure a better future of Panem. Katniss must go through training, injuries, and the lost of loved ones, all while taking down the capitol one attack at a time. I really loved this book. It exceeded my expectations one hundred percent. There are two other books in this series so make sure you read those before this one.

Reviewer's Name: Mackenzie
Book Cover
Katsoulis, Gregory Scott
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Imagine never being able to tell someone how much you love them, or knowing the government is aware of everything you say. Every sentence is monitored. Words are no longer free to use. Companies copyright words and gestures, they fine anyone who uses them. Saying "Sorry" is ten dollars and every nod or scream is .99 cents ( per second). No word is free, people are imprisoned by debt and fear. Restlessness stirs and violence is everywhere. People sue left and right for small accidents. Upon turning 15 everything changes for an individual. Cuffs are placed, listening to every word that comes out of your mouth. Retaliating can lead to extreme and inhumane punishments. Speth Jime is a fourteen-year-old who is almost fifteen when she witnesses the suicide of her friend. She decides in honor of her friend to be silent, making the world stand still. "All Rights Reserved" is a very captivating and incredible novel. Every page is filled with various twists and turns. The book represents the importance of words and the power they possess. It also shows the influence we have on others, for better or for worst.

Reviewer's Name: Isabella J.
Awards:
The Maze Runner
Dashner, James
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

The Maze Runner is the first book in James Dashner's dystopian trilogy. It follows Thomas, a teenager who finds himself trapped in a maze with a group of boys and no memory of his past. This book kept me on my toes, and I couldn't put it down. It was intense and mysterious with a gripping plot and a diverse group of characters. I would definitely recommend this book to teens who love action packed adventure and the ideas presented through futuristic worlds!

Reviewer's Name: Emma
The Hunger Games
Collins, Suzanne
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review:

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins is a fairly good science fiction novel that deals with the themes of family, love and sacrifice. The novel takes place in the nation of Panem. A nation that consists of 12 districts and a capital which controls the nation. In the nation of Panem there is the annual event called the Hunger Games. It is an event in which each district sends a pair males and females aged 12-18 to participate in a to the death battle that is shown on tv. The story follows the protagonist Katniss Everdeen as she volunteers to participate in the Hunger Games after her sister is chosen. The novel illustrates her journey through the difficulties of the Hunger Games and how it affects her life forever. The Hunger Games is a good novel through which you will think critically about the issues and problems in the story and how they are prevalent in our world.

Reviewer's Name: Talal
Inhuman
Falls, Kat
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Lane is a 17 year old girl trying to safely live her life after a deadly virus attacks the east side of the U.S 19 years ago. She is at a party until she is taken away by the infection safety group. At first, Lane thinks she has Ferae, a deadly virus that turns humans into animals, slowly turning them feral over time. Lane learns that she is not infected with Ferae, but that the head of the infection safety group needs something fetched from Chicago...which is now part of the Feral Zone. To save her dad, she must give him a letter telling him what he needs to get from Chicago in five days or else he and Lane will both die. Lane realizes that she must do the fetch when she cannot find her dad. With help from new friends, Lane attempts the fetch, but can she do it before the time limit, or before something far worse happens to her?

This was a good book, and I could not put it down. The author made the chapters like tiny cliff hangers so it was hard to stop reading especially near the end of the book. The character development was really good and I got to see the different characters evolve throughout the book. I would recommend this book to middle schoolers because it does get intense and is mildly inappropriate at some times. There is another book after this and I can't wait to read it also. Over all a very good book.

Reviewer's Name: Emma M.
Awards:
Catching Fire
Collins, Suzanne
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Catching Fire is about a girl named Katniss who gets put into the battle royale of the seventy-fifth Hunger Games. This is the second time she has been put in the arena. This time, the tributes are victors. Katniss competes against different and better tributes, in a different arena, with a different motive. She must think quick on her feet and use new skills if she wants to keep herself and the person she loves alive.

I loved this book. It is the second book of the Hunger Games series so make sure you read the first book, The Hunger Games. I would recommend this book to anyone who likes books with suspense and adventure. This book had many plot twists and always left me in suspense. It exceeded my expectations one hundred percent.

Reviewer's Name: Mackenzie H.
 The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes
Collins, Suzanne
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review:

The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes by Suzanne Collins is a prequel to the Hunger Games trilogy, but instead of following Katniss it takes the perspective of a much younger President Coriolanus Snow. It’s the 10th annual Hunger Games, and this year students from the Capitol’s Academy will serve as mentors for the tributes. Coriolanus is assigned Lucy Gray, the female tribute from District 12. What starts as ambition to win a spot at the University quickly evolves as the Games approach closer. While it was a decently good read, I couldn’t help thinking as I read it that it did not need to be written. President Snow’s perspective wasn’t really one I thought I would read or needed to. However, it was interesting to see his opinions/outlook when he was young and to witness the bitterness within him along with his loyalty to the Capitol. Seeing the evolution of the games and small nods to the Hunger Games trilogy was also a nice touch. I really liked the first half of the book, but the second half was kind of boring, and I wasn’t very invested in the characters at that point. It’s definitely nothing compared to the Hunger Games, but it wasn’t all bad either.

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

The Hunger Games is about a girl named Katniss who becomes a tribute in the hunger games. The hunger games is a battle royale. A battle royale is a game where two tributes from twelve districts fight for their lives to be the last person standing. The Hunger Games is a punishment because there was a rebellion. While being dragged off to prepare for battle, Katniss must process the thought of life or death.

This was one of the best books I have ever read. There was never a dull moment and it kept me intrigued the whole time. This book is full of adventure and definitely brought out some of my emotions such as, sadness, happiness, and anger. I would recommend this book to anyone looking for a great and fast book to read.

Reviewer's Name: Mackenzie H.
Thunderhead
Shusterman, Neal
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Citra and Rowan have diverged into lawful and lawlessness. Since Citra was selected to become a scythe she began to glean with Scythe Curie meanwhile Rowan went off the grid. Though there had been rumors of a Scythe gleaning other Scythes, who became known as Scythe Lucifer. Fighting the corruption of the Scythedom in their own ways, Citra and Rowan continue to learn what the mortal age world was like.

This book is better than the first book, “Scythe” because the Thunderhead excerpts between chapters add more complexity and depth to the story. Also inmthe first book the perspective switches were a lot less climatic, both main characters were in relatively similar situations. In this book the different perspective adds more suspense to the book, and perspective. The side characters were not static in this book, a lot more about them is reveled in this book. “Thunderhead” also had good foreshadowing that was sometimes a bit too obvious. The main thing this book lacked like the first book of the series was detailed descriptions. It almost makes the book seem more like a movie because it’s all action. Overall though I would recommend it to those who read “Scythe” and want to continue the series since this book is better.

Reviewer's Name: McKenzie
Scythe
Shusterman, Neal
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

In a world where AI, artificial intelligence, known as the Thunderhead controls the world and has gifted humanity immortality, it gave humans the responsibility of death. Immortality is possible with the nanites embodied in cells to help cells replenish forever. Scythes are the only people that kill or nicely put glean. Citra and Rowan are selected by a scythe to apprentice and the discover the reality of human nature and the burden of death.

I think this is a good book, conceptually it’s definitely a step up from your typical dystopian book but it isn’t my favorite book for other reasons. There is a guy and a girl main character and they have to defy the expectations of society, creating romantic tensions which is pretty typical. The book lacked detailed descriptions which would have enhanced the action by creating more suspense. The biggest reason it is not my favorite is smalldetails that are don’t logically make sense. With the all knowingThunderhead it would make sense that technology would allow teleportation and other advancements. All these little details ultimately make the book only 4 stars out of 5.

Reviewer's Name: McKenzie
The Toll
Shusterman, Neal
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

The Great Resonance has occurred and everyone has become unsavory, meaning they can’t communicate with the Thunderhead. That is except for one person, the Toll. Since no one can speak to the Thunderhead no one knows why they have become unsavory leaving the world in confusion. What most people don’t know is Endura the Scythe ring of islands sank when all the systems failed, or were instructed to fail. The leaders of the Scythedom drowned and Citra and Rowan are nowhere to be found.

The other books in the Scythe series had somewhat obvious endings while in “The Toll” I really didn’t know how the series would end which created a nice suspense in the book. Just when I thought things couldn’t get worse or the characters Citra and Rowan things get worse. The excerpts from the Thunderhead and the founding Scythes created a lot of foreshadowing and had each founding Scythe had a unique voice and quirks which was a nice detail. This book still lacks detail of the setting, clothing, and appearance of the characters like the other two books in the series but in this book it especially lacked detailed emotion. There was a Romeo and Juliet like relationship between Citra and Rowan, they were each other’s weakness, and would save the other even it meant sacrificing themselves. However the emotion and reasoning on why they are so in love is unclear. Other than training as apprentices together and kissing once in the first book the author doesn’t really describe why or how they fell in love. This book had
a lot going on at once it was hard to understand how much time had passed or what was happening when. Overall the theme of this series is advancements don’t make humans lose their humanity, no matter how perfect a world there will be those who chose corruption and power, and those who chose to live a simple quiet life.

Reviewer's Name: McKenzie
The People of Sparks
DuPrau, Jeanne
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

This is the second book of Ember. The book is about the people of Ember emerging to the surface. The people of Ember find the city of Sparks. The Ember people and the Sparks people have quite a bit of conflict. In the end the book resolves itself.

Reviewer's Name: Jaime
Four: The Traitor
Roth, Veronica
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

“Four the traitor,” is one of four stories told by the perspective of Tobias Eaton aka Four. This book take place two years after “The Son.” Within that time he’s been keeping busy with spying and keeping in touch with his mother. While spying on Mac and Jeanine he learns of their devious plan to take over Abnegation. All though the book isn’t as detailed and goes though his feelings and adventures like Beatrice is a pretty good book.

Reviewer's Name: Miguel
Book Cover
Collins, Suzanne
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

If you're like me, you've been looking forward to the new Hunger Games prequel, The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes, since its announcement last year. After all the anxious waiting and counting down the days, I found that this new novel, focusing on future villain, Coriolanus Snow, is not as good as the original trilogy but still holds its own and has its place in Collins' universe of Panem.

The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes is a villain background story. The main character-- for I certainly would not call him a protagonist, even 65 years earlier-- is Coriolanus Snow, future tyrant president of Panem and one of the most despised villains in all of young adult dystopian literature. Here, Snow has an ego, he has big plans, dreams and ambitions for the future of his country. Coriolanus is an orphan after the war that spurred the Hunger Games. The Snow household is broken down and poor, and Coriolanus lives with his grandmother and fellow orphaned cousin, Tigris (yes, that very same Tigris from Mockingjay that Katniss and her squad hid with while in the Capitol. This connection is one of the most interesting in the book, because here, Tigris and Coriolanus are best friends as well as cousins, always looking out for one another and sharing a tight bond. The obvious deterioration of their relationship is never addressed in the book, and I desperately want to know what went sideways between them now.) Coriolanus is a student at the Academy, a high school, and is chosen as one of the 24 best and brightest Capitol students to mentor a tribute in the 10 Hunger Games.

One important thing to note and understand about this book is that the Hunger Games are very very different from where we join them 65 years later. The tributes are abused and starved. The arena is not high-tech or glamorous. The television viewership is low. Most people do not even watch the games at all. All of that changes after this book, I would presume.

Coriolanus, who is hated by the leader of the Academy, Dean Highbottom, is consequentially assigned to mentor District 12 female tribute, Lucy Gray Baird. Lucy Gray is the true protagonist of this novel, and a strange one at that. She is part of a 'Covey', a traveling musical family who got stuck in District 12. She is strange to Coriolanus and the other Capitol children. She is musical, cunning, and not to be underestimated.

One of my wishes for this book is that there would be a romance between Lucy Gray and Coriolanus. There was, and unfortunately, it did not live up to my expectations, which greatly added to my minor issues with this book. Collins greatly crafted a love triangle in the original Hunger Games trilogy, and I was so excited for more of that great romance that made you root for two people to end up together. The romance between Coriolanus and Lucy Gray seemed disjointed, rushed, and absurd. It almost seemed like Coriolanus was using Lucy Gray, which of course is false since he had nothing to gain from loving a poor girl from District 12.

Coriolanus prepares Lucy Gray for the arena while some Hunger Games traditions are introduced-- the betting, mutts and TV host and interviews are all started in this book. The Head Gamemaker at the time is Dr. Gaul, a psychotic and mutation-obsessed woman who takes interest in Coriolanus. Readers should expect to be creeped out and disturbed by Dr. Gaul throughout the novel.

Drama unfolds before the Games even begin, and there are many, many characters and side plots introduced and finished before the Hunger Games even begin. The actual part of the Hunger Games was my favorite part of the novel. Collins truly is a master of writing stories set in the arenas. I will not spoil who wins the 10th Hunger Games, but expect to be surprised by the turn of events right after the Games conclude.

My only other problem with this book is it actually felt like three books instead of one. Like the rest of the series, it is divided into three sections, and each felt like it's own standalone story. The third section Iread very fast. The first was very slow. And the middle was the best, with the arena and Hunger Games.

One of the things about this book that I enjoyed tremendously is that it does not paint Coriolanus as a hero, even back then. He is still cunning and a little evil, especially at the surprising ending. Coriolanus is never written as a good person. Instead, the good people around him are at his disposal.

Another thing to note is the literalness of the title. There are all three-ballads, songbirds, and snakes, in this novel. It is in no way symbolic or metaphorical. There is a lot of music, for Lucy Gray, and to add a lighter tone. I liked the inclusion of all the music, though it was a little strange to have so many songs included in full, with all their lyrics and everything. There are several songs from the original trilogy in this book, The Hanging Tree among them, and I enjoyed the inclusion of those.

The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes does not feel like a Hunger Games novel. It feels like a companion to Collins' original trilogy, but not directly connected to that world. That being said, it is a very compelling and originally imaginative story, that only suffered from a few disjointed elements. This prequel does not quite live up to the original beloved stories of The Hunger Games, but comes very close and presents a new take on Suzanne Collins' world of Panem.

Reviewer's Name: Allie S.
Book Cover
Collins, Suzanne
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

This book is fantastic! The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes adds a whole new level of depth to the Hunger Games Series main antagonist, Coriolanus Snow, and to Suzanne Collins' dystopian world. This novel shows the journey of Coriolanus Snow from an eighteen year old boy trying to find his place in the world to the ruthless president in the Hunger Games Trilogy. I could not put this book down. It is the perfect addition to a fantastic series. I highly recommend this novel for any teenaged reader or fan of the Hunger Games Series.

Reviewer's Name: John B.
The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes
Collins, Suzanne
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes is the story of Coriolanus Snow and how he becomes who he is in the Hunger Games Trilogy. It is the tenth hunger games and Coriolanus has been given the job as mentoring the girl tribute from district 12. The other mentors are Coriolanus's classmates and they all have the chance to win a spot at the university, something that Snow has wanted for years. This book follows Coriolanus through the games and after where the reader gets to see why and how Coriolanus Snow becomes the president that we all love to hate. I thought this book was fantastic. Collins does a great job connecting this book to the trilogy, which is why I suggest rereading the other books before you start this one because there is little things that could go unnoticed if it has been awhile. It gave a new perspective on the games than the trilogy so it does not feel repetitive and like a rip off version of the first book. If you have read or are about to read the Hunger Games I definitely would give this a try as well.

Reviewer's Name: Emma
Genres:
The Giver
Lowry, Lois
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review:

This book is very interesting because of many things. There are very strict rules in the community. The changing of age ceremony is the best part. The main character gets a job nobody thought would happen. This changes his whole perspective of the community. In the end, it ends happily.

Reviewer's Name: Jaime

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